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Mark Arbeit, 1953 in Chicago geboren, wuchs in Nord Kalifornien auf. Als er 16 war, zog die Familie nach Oahu, Hawaii, wo er durch die Schönheit der Insel inspiriert Kunst und Fotografie an der 'University of Hawaii' studierte. Später wechselte er an das 'Art Center College of Design' in Pasadena. Dort traf er auf Just Loomis und George Holz und die Zusammenarbeit mit Newton begann. Nach Abschluss seines Studiums ging er nach New York, um als Assistent für Irving Penn zu arbeiten und von einem weiteren Meister der Modefotografie zu lernen. Um seine eigene Karriere als Fotograf anzutreiben ging Arbeit schließlich nach Mailand. Bereits zu Studienzeiten flog er öfter nach Italien um zu fotografieren - sein Vater arbeitete für TWA (Trans World Airlines) - und so war Mailand, das Mekka der Modewelt kein unbekanntes Pflaster für ihn. Er fotografierte dort regelmäßig für Magazine wie Linea Italia, Donna und Vogue Bellazza. 1985 ließ er sich in Paris nieder.
Hier widmete er sich auch der künstlerischen Seite der Fotografie und begann mit ihr zu experimentieren. Es entstanden freie Serien wie 'In and out of focus' und 'Polajunk Constructions', Mark Arbeit lebt heute in Honolulu. Er fotografiert für Magazine wie French Vogue, Marie Claire, In Style, People und Forbes.


Born in Chicago in 1953, Arbeit was raised in Northern California. When Arbeit was 16, the family moved to Oahu, Hawaii, and the beauty of islands awakened Arbeit's senses. At 18, Arbeit enrolled in the University of Hawaii to study art and photography. A few years later, he decided to focus solely on photography, and transferred to the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. During his third year there, he met Helmut Newton through a mutual friend. Newton took Arbeit on as an assistant, and Arbeit looked to Newton as a 'photo guru?.

Upon finishing his studies, Arbeit moved to New York, and was hired by IRVING PENN as a studio assistant. Again, Arbeit approached his work as an apprentice, taking everything in, peppering the master with questions. 'Penn was Mr. Technique,' says Arbeit. 'Everything he did is so meticulous, so perfect.'

After working for Penn, Arbeit moved to Milan to launch his own fashion photography career, and shot regularly for Linea Italia, Donna and Vogue Bellezza. In 1985, he settled in Paris to further his career as well as expand his artistic boundaries. To explore the experimental side of photography Arbeit and a few ambitious photographer friends from the Art Center formed a group called 'The Cauldron.' Its mission was simple: to take pictures that had never been done before. Arbeit chose focus as his tool, and launched 'In and Out of Focus', a series of photographs in which in the foreground Arbeit focuses sharply on a flower and in the background, an out-of-focus female nude mimics the shape and movement of the bloom. 'I wanted to show the form out of focus and let the viewer fill in the gaps, create something dreamy,' Arbeit explains.

Arbeit continued to work commercially, shooting fashion for French Vogue and Marie Claire, and portraits for In Style, People and Forbes. In 1992, he launched a second series, 'Artist Atelier,' of female nudes in Parisian artist ateliers. 'When I go into the atelier, I try to do two images,' Arbeit says. 'One is a portrait of the artist without the artist in the picture, and I achieve this by showing his paints, his tools, the room, his sculptures and paintings.' The second is the female form, 'The light in these spaces draw the female form so well.' Following the Atelier series, Arbeit launched a project he calls 'Polajunk Constructions': a collection of photomontages made of all the material that comes in a Polaroid box. 'I use the positive and negative of the Polaroid combined with everything in a Polaroid box; aluminum, metal & plastic, paper in assorted colors and textures, instructions in seven languages, all combine it into a three-dimensional montage.' Most recently Arbeit has been working on a study of Hawaii, his adopted home. For it, he has photographed Hawaiians at play and in thought, the stunning mountainous landscapes and the flawless beaches. 'What's fascinating about Hawaii is all the different mixtures of cultures, the island people', says Arbeit, and of course, the light.

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