Karl Mackie has many talents. He is the founder and creative director of Mackie Studio, an accomplished photographer, surfboard and hand plane shaper, husband, father of two boys and makes coffee that’s not too shabby. Residing in a village on the North Cornwall coast (UK), Mackie’s studio is a bike ride away in the local town of Newquay and a short walk from the Atlantic Ocean and his local surf break.
Mackie Studio is a creative agency focussing on photography, brand identity and graphic design for website and print media. It was Mackie’s knack for photography that caught our eye via Instagram. His world travels, beautifully captured frame by frame. We chatted with Mackie and he shared his enjoyment for capturing life’s moments.
Tell us about your history with photography? I grew up in a family where my Grandfather collected old cameras. He always had a camera on him and the customary slide shows would always be on whenever I was around at my grandparent’s house. I was really into car boot sales as a child buying old records and film cameras. This was definitely the beginning; from there I always had a camera on me. By the time I was studying design and photography, surfing and girls had put photography on the back burner for a while. It wasn’t until I started working in a design agency, when I picked up a digital camera and began shooting ad campaigns, that I switched my focus firmly back on track. Nowadays I shoot Film and Digital and enjoy both equally. Each have their place of course but I think I will always have a little love for winding a roll of film.
How would you describe your photographic style? I love to take an organic approach and use negative space to remove a lot of the unnecessary. Aiming to hopefully to draw people in to what matters and to feel the whole experience. I don’t want to tell people how to interpret them but I want to evoke a certain sentiment within the observer. Somebody once said to me they feel they get transported to where the image was taken which is a lovely compliment.
What subjects do you mostly enjoy to photograph? Well, I love surfing. That’s always been my driving force for everything so I focus more on shooting moments around the sea not necessarily surfers in the act of surfing. Though I enjoy shooting good surfers. For me it’s more about capturing a moment within the landscape, a little snippet of life that makes you think about the shot. I also enjoy shooting people un-staged. When everyone is being natural and themselves and away from the constraints of studio, shoots can be a real stoke.
Does your local town inspire you creatively? My hometown is Newquay in Cornwall, situated in the far south west of the UK, it’s a lovely place to call home and I’m very proud to live here. We are never far from the surf and for a lot of the year it’s a quiet little beach town. However, underneath the surface of all this, Cornwall has so much more going on, from its various coastlines and weather patterns to the ever changing ocean. It’s a town that looks after it’s environment with the locals pulling together to keep it clean and focus on a cleaner living space. All of this I find inspiring and it ultimately manifests itself in my work.
Do you have a favourite moment that you have captured on film? ‘The Walkers’ is my favourite image. It was taken in December, 3 years ago, not far from my house on a place called Porth Island. It was an awful December. Instead of being traditionally cold and sunny it was windy and rainy. On the day of the Walkers, it was particularly bad. Initially I had gone out to shoot the surf, which was rolling in from the Atlantic and pumping. I saw this old couple walking alongside the cliffs quite slowly, I knew there was a special shot in there so I waited until they walked to the right spot, which was inline with the sets rolling in, and I took the shot. I was using a 1978 Canon film camera with out of date Lomography film and luckily it all aligned, processed fine, and I got the shot!