Niles’ artist’s photography on display in library’s gallery

Published 10:55 am Monday, April 12, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Niles artist Louis Mark uses black and white photography to see his subjects more clearly.
The photographer/painter turned a recent exploration of Paris into a portfolio of 26 black and white photographs now being displayed in the Eleanor &Mowitt Drew Gallery in the Niles District Library.
While he respects the work of color photographers, Mark, 49, enjoys the challenge of working in black and white.
In February 2002, Mark was sent to Paris for a business trip. He decided to extend his first visit to Paris by staying for an extra week to explore the city.
Armed with a 35mm camera, Mark took 150 shots of such famous Paris landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and Musee Rodin.
There are also photographs of magnificent architectural structures, street scenes with Paris pedestrians and some other unique views of the historic city.
While walking the city, Mark said he never knew when a potential photograph may jump into his view.
But, his work in the fine arts is something that has just resurfaced over the past few years.
After receiving a degree in applied arts from the University of Cincinnati, Mark worked in product design for nearly 20 years.
About three years ago, his interest in the arts was re-ignited when he accidentally found himself in a painting class.
He originally enrolled in a continuing education blacksmith course, but the class was over registered, so he decided to take a watercolors class. The class renewed his interest in the fine arts and Mark has been working as an artist ever since.
Mark called painting his primary vehicle of artistic expression and often uses photography as inspiration for his painting projects.
After more than 20 years away from the fine arts, Mark, who currently restores antique sportscars and works with racecars at Surrey Motorsports in Niles, would ultimately like to become a professional artist. "I am trying to build a body of work at this point," he said. His exhibit, Paris Portfolio 2002, is currently on display at the library until May 22.