Mark Murray inspires publications to paint with light


Leona Barocas

QUICK TIPS. When visiting SPA on Jan. 26, Mark Murray led the Rubicon, RubicOnline and Ibid staffs in a photography workshop to teach them simple ways to elevate their skills and capture images that impact their audience.

Mark Murray asks student journalists one central question: if you could snap your fingers and get one wish for your publication, what would it be?

Murray’s answer lies in high-quality photography, and he works with students to help them achieve their goals by elevating their images.

With over 30 years of experience with photography and journalism, Murray currently serves as the Executive Director of the Association of Texas Photography Instructors and works as an educational consultant with schools around the U.S., channeling his lifelong interests of photo composition and education into his work. Murray visited campus Jan. 26-27 to lead a workshop for the staffs of The Rubicon, RubicOnline, and Ibid yearbook and Writing for Publications students.

Murray knew he had a passion for photography after his English teacher in middle school recruited him to join the yearbook staff. Though he joined the staff on a whim, he picked up a camera and realized in eighth grade that he wanted to teach photography. Five years after graduating from high school and having just completed his college degree, Murray ended up pursuing a teaching career in the same place he first fell in love with photography.

“I used to tell the photography teacher at my high school that he had to keep the job long enough for me to come back and take his place; eventually that is exactly what happened,” Murray said. “I walked right back into the high school program that I left and by the time I came back, they had moved the photography classroom into the old journalism room where I spent most of my time back then.”

Throughout his career, Murray has adopted an important philosophy about the universal importance of photography. He believes that whether it is artistic, journalistic, portrait, sports, or even wedding photography, it is all based on the same foundations of quality lighting, composition, and what the photographer is trying to document and communicate to their audience. This idea allows him to teach with the mindset that regardless of the purpose or mode of taking a picture, teaching photography is about instilling others with the knowledge and skills necessary to capture their ideal image.

Photography and writing have changed the world. We have the ability, with our words and our images, to change people’s lives.

— Mark Murray

Murray leads workshops on all things photography and provides resources to pass this knowledge on to others, from proper equipment and camera settings to the art of cropping and hiding the camera from the subject.

What motivates Murray to share his passion with others and help them master taking impactful photos? A genuine belief in the power and influence of photography. Murray has observed how the coverage of historical and contemporary events by photographers and journalists has changed the public perception of different issues and movements and hopes others can see the impact of this work.

“Photography and writing have changed the world,” he said. “We have the ability, with our words and our images, to change people’s lives. And I think we’ve got to recognize that responsibility, but also really pursue that responsibility. So that when we see something that isn’t right, we can use our voice or our vision to help make changes to it.”

While he believes photojournalism plays a key role in documenting history and working towards change, Murray promotes the idea that whether taking a photo for a casual Instagram post or for the featured image of a news article, photography is a tool that serves everyone.

“Photography is one of those kinds of studies that everyone can benefit from because we’re all going to take pictures for the rest of our life,” he said.

See workshop photos of academics and student life at Ibid Flickr

How much do you know about photography?


There was an error. Please try again.

10 Total Questions