Photography News 02

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Profile Mark Interview

BIOGRAPHY

Age: 53 Years in the photo industry: 30 Current location: Bath

Thackara The compact system camera market is growing apace and one of the leaders in this move towards smaller, mirrorless cameras is Olympus

Last picture taken: A poor attempt at Georgian buildings against a rare blue November sky – I should have stuck to Dramatic Tone. Hobbies? Rehearsing for soon to be regular appearances on Grumpy Old Men , pretending I am still 21, over-promising. When youwere younger, what did youwant to be when you grewup? Someone who knew what they wanted to be, and less of a cynic. Dogs or cats? Cats Toast or cereal? Both, regularly for any meal Email or phone call? Neither, face to face Grainy Filmor Dramatic Tone? Dramatic Tone was deregulated and we developed and launched some great products. When digital cameras and recorders came along we dropped it all, but drawing a product on a scrap of paper and then seeing it in the shops was exciting. PN: Olympus is very much a global company: what do you think are the unique needs of the British photographicmarket? Howdo Olympus’s products meet those needs? MT: There have always been regional variations in customer needs and expectations, and this has probably been exaggerated since digital came along. Whilst we all merrily seem to buy into the latest phones, games and tablets, the core photographic market seems remarkably conservative in the West and UK. Japan and the Far East adopt new formats a lot quicker, but we have recognised this and developed complementary ranges that use the same core technology but in different designs. PN: What do you feel is the biggest source of frustration for modern photographers? How is Olympus helping to overcome that? MT: Trying to avoid any obvious product plugs, it’s fair to say that high performance equipment has become bigger and heavier. We feel that we offer an overall package that delivers for many people and will not necessitate regular visits to the chiropractor. Hopefully it is about offering choice and bringing a little joy back into photography at the same time. MT: Hmmm. It is rather incumbent on me to use the latest thing but right now, it is an E-P5. The combination of performance and convenience is compelling. You can get a far superior shot than your phone could ever deliver (of course) but can very quickly transfer an image for upload which is all part of life now. And it looks lovely. PN: Are there any features of the OM-D series that might have escaped notice but that you think deserve more recognition? What’s your favourite feature? MT: Funny you should ask that. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort convincing people about performance. No one is pretending that the OM- Ds will replace a larger format camera for absolute output, but they tick an awful lot of boxes if you give them a go and, of course, they are easy to take with you. What sometimes gets overlooked is how quiet PN: Which Olympus camera do you use the most? Why?

PN: You’ve worked with Olympus for quite some time – what first attracted you to the brand, and what is it that’s kept you there over the years? MT: Rather predictably, my father had an OM-1, while I liked photography but was rather bad at it. I saw an ad in the paper for people to work in customer service and one of the tests was to identify what had gone wrong in a number of prints – I had committed most of the errors, so I got the job. The people who work here have a passion for everything, and it is infectious. I have also had the chance to work in a lot of the other areas in the company: everything from microscopes and blood analysers in health care through to audio, all of which grew from small beginnings to bigger operations. Then along came digital, and the roller coaster got bigger and even more exciting. MT: I have been involved in so many things and so few have been particularly worthy! I could talk about supporting photographers with projects and exhibitions for subjects like Darfur, or making some entertaining and effective ad campaigns but thinking back, it’s probably on the audio side of the business. We were brave – or mad – enough to venture into innovative fixed-line telephones when the market PN: What’s your proudest career achievement to date?

Interview by Charlotte Griffiths

We feel that we offer an overall package that delivers for many people andwill not necessitate regular visits to the chiropractor

Photography News (PN): Hello! Please introduce yourself to our readers. Mark Thackara (MT): My name is Mark Thackara, national marketing manager for Olympus UK consumer products.

PN: What’s the primary focus of your role? MT: To promote Olympus to dealers and consumers.

PN: Describe an average day in your job. MT: A delightful mix of paperwork, meetings, trying to make sure that current activity and ideas actually happen while also thinking ahead. Nothing has fundamentally changed with technology: it is all about relationship building and delivering results. PN: What do you enjoy most about working with Olympus? MT: We are a close team that works well and has fun together. It’s a pleasure to work with inspirational photographers to promote the potential of working with our products. That, and being involved in an industry that can create such emotive reactions: you know what they say about pictures. Olympus Image Space is the online booking hub for Olympus events in the UK, including the Experience Days, like the recent event at Stratford Butterfly Farm (pictured right). The website has full details of what’s coming up over the next few months but to whet your appetite here’s what’s happening soon… 29 November: Golden eagle experience with expert photographer John Wright from Photographers on Safari. It’s at the Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre in Rutland and price per person is £50. 17 December: Get creative at night. Light trails, light painting and wire wool spinning are some of the techniques featured, led by Ade McFade. This takes place at Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds. Cost £40 per person.

Get theOlympus experience

π To find out more and to book your place, go to www.olympus-imagespace.co.uk.

Photography News | Issue 2

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