We had the good fortune of connecting with Marc Leary and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marc, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I am an artist; I have always been an artist or creative person for as long as I can remember. I only remember wanting to be an artist when I was younger. For me there was no other option when it came to my career path. I love to create and solve issues using my artistic abilities. I love how people view my work and express their feelings towards it. Being able to create is and express myself artistically is the core of who I am. Making art is like therapy for the soul sometimes and I can’t imagine a world where I’m not an artist.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
About my art, well what can I say I just love being a photographer and being that fly on the wall and creating these special moments that I get to share with my clients and see the smiles on their faces. I don’t like shooting inanimate objects like flowers or empty homes, or bowls of fruit. I like shooting with people, people are expressive and have stories to tell and ideas and concepts that need an artistic eye to help tell. To me life is art and life is always expressed creatively through an artist eyes. Personally I like bold colors and high contrast in my work. When I have a client in front of my camera I like to paint the scene with flattering light and I want to bring the best out of my client to give the best look possible within my own art style.
What sets me apart from other photographers and content creators? I’m very passionate about my art. I like to every client and every session feel like a big deal. My client is the star and make sure they always feel as comfortable as I can. I like to make my session feel memorable to the client. When they look back on the photos or video I want them to remember the time we made that product and remember the experience I gave them. I like to have fun and I like to be that ball of energy that keeps my clients upbeat and excited about the project.
I am a photographer and content creator, However that’s not what I want to be known for. The thing I am most proud of is the thing I would do for free and that’s all of my work in cosplay photography and being a Black Nerd and creating content for those communities. I just love being a nerd and an artist and meeting others with similar interest and collaborating and creating to make something new. The geek culture allows me to create in the ways I enjoy being creative and not limit my artistic endeavors. As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a superhero and since that’s not a real profession in that sense the next best thing would be to find a career where I can create them and that lead me down the path of being a comic book artist.
Was my journey easy? No figuring it all out and sticking to it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I went down many different paths and had a ventures journey along the way to get to where I am now. I’ve done Retail, graphic design, TV Broadcasting, producing and directing, Comic art and more. I finally found my way with photography, but with that I am still finding new things to get into with photography. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to do photography, I was dragged into it unwillingly it seems and I’m now better for it. Once I did fall into it I realized that I had a lot to learn about the craft before I could figure out what I wanted to do with it. Before I knew it I loved every part about being a photographer and wanted to do more and more each day. Long story short I became a photographer and started a new business but there was a problem that I wouldn’t address till years later that at that time I didn’t fully understand.
The one thing I’ve noticed that a lot of artist who venture into business have an issue with is being business minded and making money off your art. Being business minded and being an artist are often opposing competing mind sets that at first don’t work well together. As an artist I thought I had an idea about running a business, but I didn’t and my business suffered from thinking I did. I had to learn the hard way that being an artist who runs a business will eventually kill my business. I had to learn how to be a businessman who can sell his art and not an artist who’s trying to sell his business. Meaning I had to sit down and learn more about how to run a business and study things that I once found boring and uninteresting.
I can say now that I have made major strides into being a better businessman who is also an artist at heart. Once I figured out what works for me and my business I was able to hit the ground running and not only grow my brand but grow as an artist and not continue to limit myself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta has a lot to offer any visitor to the city, however for me the parts of the city that I love the most isn’t the sports, bars, clubs, or anything like that. If I could show anyone Atlanta in the way that I love this city I would have to take them to Dragon Con. Dragon Con is the South’s largest geek conventions and the country’s 10 largest con. It has everything I love about Atlanta in a 7 block area within the city itself. Yes there are a lot of other cons in Atlanta throughout the year but none of them have the pristine and history like Dragon Con has. Dragon Con is like a big geek fest that last almost a week now during the Labor Day weekend. There are parades, photo shoots, video shoots, celebrity guest panels and more.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a lot to a lot of people who in some shape, way, form, or fashion have helped me archive my own goals and helped me get to where I am now. I owe so much to my friends and family who have motivated me to stay on my path in life.
My high school art teacher Ms. Shaffer who mentored me and helped me mold my artistic abilities and discover more about the artistic world.
My friends Marcel, Shan, Fertessa, and more who all followed their own dreams and goals and helped me archive mines in the process.
Art school for being too expensive and teaching me that I have to learn on my own and use school for more than education alone.