Coming Home

By Mark James Ford

My taking part in the November 2015 photography exhibition at Agora Gallery was very special for me and my partner, Ines Mondon, in many ways. It was my first exhibition outside Europe and to find that the pictures were so well received with such a positive resonance was almost overwhelming. That this should be in New York, a city of so many superlatives, was in its own way very fitting.

Over 18 years ago I began my exploration of the world of digital photography, and, standing on the Hudson riverbank in Hoboken in 1998, I was amazed by the scene that lay before me: a wonderful panorama of one of the greatest cities in the world. I knew that I wanted to capture this scene in a way that would transport the sheer enormity of the grandiose view. This, I was able to do in the form of an 18-shot hand-stitched panorama. The resulting image, ‘Two Women And Child,’ which at that time was completed after many hours of work on a computer with little more power than a modern smart phone, is something of which I am still proud today. Ultimately, I wanted the person viewing the picture not to be able to take in the whole view in one go, very much as it is in real life, but that they would rather have to ‘walk through the image.’

I returned to the site many times over the next couple of years, producing panoramic images such as ‘Reflective Moments,’ for example. Reproduced as true photographs at up to 120’ in width, these were at the time something rather different, and they marked the launch of my professional photographic career in Germany. If I had been told then that 18 years later I would have photographs on display in a gallery in New York, I would have simply not believed it!

In the meantime, my photographic career has developed, and as a reference photographer for Sigma Germany, I now focus much more on the boundless reservoir of motives that nature has to offer: capturing the interplay of light with the details, structures, and colours I see around me. Together with Ines, the woman and photographer at my side, I passionately explore the length and breadth of Europe.

And so, returning to New York after so many years, after so many events which have changed all of our lives, with Ines, who was there for the first time, meant a lot to us both. We were able to visit the ‘birthplace’ of my photographic journey in Hoboken, ‘coming home’ as it were, and, although here as well much had changed, I was able to show Ines where I stood on that first fateful afternoon.

We of course had the chance over several days to discover and experience both new and the somehow familiar aspects of this amazing city together, so that the phenomenon that is New York is now very much part of both of our lives.