Mark Sasahara has always been a photographer. When he was thirteen, Mark received his first camera from his father. MarkÝs father travelled the world and would have marvelous slide shows, regaling the family with stories about the trip, the people they met and the area's history. The ability
to communicate using photographs fascinated Mark.
Learning by reading, trial and error and experimentation, MarkÝs abilities grew. He took pictures for his jr. high and high school yearbooks as well as the school newspaper. He turned pro at sixteen, shooting assignments for the local newspaper. Having taken every photo class offered by his school,
he created his own independent study, his senior year.
Mark graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1985, with a BFA in Photojournalism. There, he learned the chemistry, physics and processes of photography. He loved to shoot landscapes on 8x10 inch film, rushing back to develop and print what he had just shot. He also loved photographing the urban decay of old, disused parts of industrial Rochester. While satisfying those aspects of his passion for photography, he threw himself into his photojournalism studies. In addition to fulfilling class assignments, he was on the staff of the yearbook, the weekly student publication, Reporter Magazine and a semi daily paper jointly published by the printing and
Photojournalism students. Working in these different environments and covering diverse assignments, Mark learned how to gather news, look, listen and to anticipate the decisive moment.
Within six months of graduation, Mark joined the photography staff of the Burlington (VT) Free Press. For nearly a decade, he enjoyed being at the forefront of current affairs. Covering the news and people from all walks of life, for the stateÝs largest daily newspaper. Working at a daily paper
honed skills learned at RIT, culminating with a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1992.
In 1991, Mark landed his first Director of Photography gig, almost by accident. He was to be the camera assistant on Edgewood StudioÝs first feature film: Tangents. Through a twist of fate, and by virtue of owning a light meter, Mark became the Director of Photography. He did, however, possess
the knowledge and expertise to be successful. Tangents, later re-named Time Chasers, eventually became a cult classic, part of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) Pantheon.
In 1995, Mark left the Free Press to start his own photography studio. At RIT, Mark vowed that he would never shoot weddings. Yet, there he was, shooting fashion, portraits, table tops and, yes, weddings. Lots of weddings. Mark created his own style, combining photojournalism with wedding
photography. Eschewing the posed, cookie cutter approach to weddings, Mark instead focused on the peopleÝs relationships and reactions. Unobtrusively capturing the height of emotion: meaningful moments, smiles, hugs and kisses, that reflect the tenor and feel of that day, rather than a series of
poses, to be repeated by the photographer, the following week.
Shooting wedding photojournalism was radically different and very successful. Focusing on people's actions and reactions made each wedding unique.
Two years later, Mark was DP on his second feature, the mockumentary Junior Defenders. This was fun and was mostly hand held. Ten years later, Warner Home Video would pick up Junior Defenders for domestic and international distribution. 1997 also saw Mark shooting more video and working for the PBS stations in both Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York.
Vermont was great, but it was time to get serious and, starting in 2000, Mark began getting work in New York City. In 2002 he began to plan his move to New York and by spring of 2004, he had made the transition. Since then, he has shot episodic TV, Short films, music videos, corporate and industrials.
Mark was the Gaffer for HGTV's Don't Sweat It, for itÝs first three seasons. While Mark doesn't usually gaff, they made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Mark was Director of Photography on two episodes of Psychic Detectives for TruTV (formerly Court TV) and Seemore's Playhouse for PBS.
Mark brings his unique talents and eye to every job. Along with these talents, his attention to detail and his attention to client needs are what separate Mark from other cinematographers. It is this sensitivity and effective communication that create successful partnerships for such clients as Disney, Este╚ Lauder Ext╚, ING, Lowe's, National Basketball Player's Association, Pepsi Bottling Group, Plus Media, SKII Cosmetics, Ulta Beauty.