“I’m just another creative and visionary who can’t wait to share their passion with the world,” shares Atlanta-based photographer Marko The Shooter. Originally born in Chicago, he moved to Atlanta at a young age before it eventually became home. Not too long after, the world of film came into front view while in high school and the rest is history.
The muses that step in front of Marko The Shooter’s lens range from your typical everyday person to rappers and even influencers. Given that Atlanta is a multicultural hub for Black creatives of all walks, Marko has been able to capture a lot. He’s shot BTS and lifestyle photos from prominent names like Coi Leray, Lil Yachty, Seddy Hendrinx, Nardo Wick, and Yak Gotti to name a few. For Marko The Shooter, it’s a surreal experience with a twist: “I love music so it’s always a cool and humbling experience to meet and work with a ‘big’ artist especially if I’ve been listening to them.”
For this week’s Behind The Lens, we got to uncover who Marko The Shooter is as well as hear about some of his most memorable moments as a photographer. Check it out below!
Walk me through your childhood, what was it like growing up and when did filmmaking and photography come into play?
I was born in Chicago, adopted by a single mother and moved to Atlanta when I was about 3 or 4. Even though I didn’t pick up a camera until my senior year of high school, my late mom and aunt whose family I eventually ended up staying with both had multiple cameras in the house. I was surrounded by the arts heavy growing up in South West Atlanta. My uncle ran the local arts center so met most of the close creatives friends very early.
Started off wanting to be an artist so I could draw comics, later developed a passion for acting in middle school cause I wanted to be in movies. Believe it or not, if I never got in trouble my senior year of high school and had to take an elective, Yearbook, this would be a different conversation. My teacher gave me the school camera and that’s when I realized how much fun taking pictures was.
At what point did you decide that it was something that you wanted to not only be a passion, but a possible career for you?
Didn’t realize photography would be a passion or career even until I came back to Atlanta from dropping out of college & realized how artistic this city really is. I’d been so used to being in front of the camera and wanting the most attention that I’d always overlooked the many passions and careers that play a major part behind the scenes. Meeting people like Cam Kirk and Original Fani made me realize that regardless of what it would be for, I wanted to be a household name when it came to Atlanta creativity. That definitely fueled the creation of my first short film and my elevation throughout photography.
You’ve shot artists from Latto and Coi Leray to Seddy Hendrinx and Lil Durk—what is it about the artist archetype that draws you to capture moments with them?
I’m more than thankful to have gotten the chance to shoot certain music artists, whether it was an opportunity given to me or that I made myself. Plus I love music so it’s always a cool and humbling experience to meet and work with a “big” artist especially if I’ve been listening to them. I definitely gravitate more to Atlanta artists cause it’s inspiring to know they came from the same place that raised you. Mulatto in specific was crazy to me because the last time I saw her in person, she was performing at my school pep rally in fourth grade. That let me know there’s no time limit on success.
Not too long ago you shot some photos of Yak Gotti, what was that experience like?
First and foremost, free Yak. Definitely one the most genuine and high-energy artists I’ve worked with, came in with 2 or 3 ppl and got to work. He was open to every creative idea we put in place for the shoot and added the exact amount of personal swagger we needed for each concept. You can tell he genuinely just likes to have fun. I still got crazy content from that shoot to drop.
Looking back on all your work, do you have a most memorable experience shooting with an artist?
I randomly hit Seddy on a weekend to get some footage of him cause I was bored. It just so happens that his mom, nephew and niece were flying into town. Ended up meeting some his family and he hired a cook for the evening so we ate crazy good. That was the most genuine and heartwarming footage I’ve ever taken.
What do you hope to show people through the photos you take?
I always hope to show people to what it felt like to be wherever I was in the moment, energy and all.
Are you working on any big projects that you’re excited about sharing with the world in the future?
This year has been a lot for me personally and I also just released my third short film, “Easy Lick” so I’m just taking some time to get more in tune with myself.
If you enjoyed our interview with Marko The Shooter, check out our chat with Shareef Stradford!