Mark Peckmezian is a toronto based photographer who recently graduated from arts school. He is also two years younger than me, insanely talented and creating work which is unlike anything I have seen for a long while.
Mark's work stood out for me on Flickr where it was swimming in a pool of digitized images. Rather than using props or HDR, he takes every day people and makes the seem almost alien in their beauty. Using darkroom techniques, he treats his negatives as the first stroke on a canvas, creating the actual image in the prints. The portraits he creates are not exactly what I would call honest but they have an innocence to them that is refreshing. I can imagine his subjects looking at the final image and saying " wow that looks nothing like me". Mark seems to grab stolen moments when people have a vulnerability to them but the work never seems exploitative. His work also avoids the indie hipster trend of believing that cool good looking 20 somethings are enough to make an interesting image, but his work still has a freshness and relevance to it.
By showing us that regular people are worthy of documentation, his work reminds us that sometimes the skill of the portrait photographer, rather than the remarkableness of the sitter, is all that really matters.