16 Minutes with Mark Siano
The fun thing about shooting people in Seattle is that this town is full of compelling and ambitious artists.
Mark Siano and his good friend Tommy Smith had been planning to produce one of Tommy’s plays in Seattle for years, so I decided to take this opportunity to photograph a series of “The Men of WHITE HOT” starting with Tommy, right before the show opened.
Consider it a photo essay of some of Seattle’s leading men in theatre.
Among this group, Mark Siano is definitely the ring leader, and he’s kind of a goof ball (you might know him from the catch-phrase “Sparkletard”). Since I wanted the series of images to have a more serious tone, like the play WHITE HOT, we needed a location where he took himself – and me – seriously. I choose the canal in my Fremont neighborhood at dusk when the sky was filled with moody clouds.
We climbed down the rocks to get closer to the water and capture the historical draw bridge in the background. And yes, I shot in heels on the rocks. Mark fell in the water. [photography gear list is at the end of this post]
PS: Who or what inspires you the most in your professional life?
MS: The artistic community as a whole inspires me, I’m always trying to be bolder and better and more ambitious with each production.
PS: And in your personal life?
MS: The friends and artists I surround myself with.
PS: What quality do you admire the most in people?
PS: What do you consider your best characteristic?
MS: Optimism and ambition.
PS: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
MS: All my greatest achievements are about to happen.
PS: What specific theatrical experience in your youth compelled you to join the art community in Seattle?
MS: I was in a fringe theatre production of The Devils at aha! Theatre it was weird and dark and creepy and there were a bunch of naked people.
PS: Do you prefer to act, direct or produce?
MS: I like it when I get to do all three.
PS: What do you bring to the Seattle theatre scene that is different?
MS: Bringing original and unique shows to the stage has always been my goal. Previously I’ve been most well-known for comedies and cabarets, but this year I’m producing dramas and writing and staging an original musical. I also bring new and unique audiences to the theatre, people who usually don’t go to shows will frequent my productions, my goal is to hook ‘em for life so they become regular attendees of all kinds of Seattle theatre.
PS: What will you take from producing WHITE HOT that will help you in your next production?
MS: I learned a lot from Braden Abraham’s direction and cool demeanor, it was very eye opening to watch him work with these great actors.
PS: What would like to achieve next?
MS: I want to play the Paramount.
PS: Are you now the person you wanted to be when you were young?
MS: Noooo. I wanted my own TV show by now. But now I realize I like live theatre better.
PS: If you could choose one additional talent in life, what would it be?
MS: I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller. I got a nice girl though. I think I’ll call her.
PS: Who is your favorite superhero?
MS: The Greatest American Hero.
PS: Who are your heroes in real life?
MS: John Stewart and my mom.
PS: What makes you laugh?
MS: David Swidler. He knows just how to tickle me.
Lens: Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5 (set at 50mm for close-ups and 27mm for wide angles)
I keep it simple and light. My new light set-up start wiith “Bob”, the 3LT monopod and AH2 ballhead, attach a Nikon Sc-17 Ttl Sync Extension Cord to the Swiss Arca plate, toss my Nikon SB-800 onto the hot shoe mount, and cover the flash with the Micro Apollo light modifier from Westcott.
I propped the monopod light set-up between rocks on the embankment 5 feet to my left, 5 feet up in the air, and at a 45 degree angle to my subject. The rest of my lighting is all natural light.
The photo below shows my light and gear set up including my camera body securely attached to my RS-W1 women’s sling strap from BlackRapid, and my Retrospective® 10 bag from Think Tank Photo (monopod resting on top).