- Mark Arbeit Work, Published in 2009, Introduction by June Newton, Art Direction by Thomas Defays. This first Monograph is a collection of Arbeit's personal artistic projects. Each chapter is separated by a theme: Artist Atelier, In and Out-of-Focus, Hawaiian and Polajunk Series.
Mark Arbeit was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Northern California. When Arbeit was 16, his family moved to Oahu, Hawaii, where he first discovered photography. At 18, Arbeit enrolled in the University of Hawaii to study art. A few years later, he decided to focus solely on photography, and transferred to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. During his third year there, he met Helmut Newton and became at first his assistant, then friend and his mentor for the next 25 years.
Upon finishing his studies, Arbeit moved to New York, and was hired by Irving Penn as a platinum print retoucher. After working for Penn, Arbeit moved to Milan to launch his own fashion photography career, and shot regularly for Linea Italia, Donna magazine and Vogue Bellezza.
In 1985, he settled in Paris to further his career as well as expand his artistic boundaries. To explore the experimental side of photography, Arbeit and a few ambitious photographer friends from the Art Center formed a group called 'The Cauldron.' Its mission was simple: to take pictures that had never been done before. Arbeit chose focus as his tool, and launched In & Out of Focus, a series of photographs in which in the foreground Arbeit focuses sharply on a flower and in the background; an out-of-focus female nude mimics the shape and movement of the bloom.
Arbeit continued work editorially, splitting his time between Paris and New York, shooting fashion for French Vogue and Marie Claire, and portraits for In Style magazine, People magazine and Forbes. In 1992, he launched a second series, 'Artist Atelier,' a series of female nudes in painter/ sculpture studios in Paris. Following the Atelier series, Arbeit launched a project called 'Polajunk Constructions': a collection of photomontages made of the Polaroid's positive/ negative and incorporating all the paraphernalia that comes in a Polaroid box.
In 1994, on vacation visiting family on Oahu, Arbeit began working with an 8X10 inch Deardorff camera on a study of the Hawaiian Islands. For it, he has photographed the island people, the stunning mountainous landscapes and the flawless beaches.
In 2009, June Newton conceptualized a tribute exhibition to Helmut, based around three photographers who had trained extensively under Helmut: Mark Arbeit, Just Loomis, and George Holz. All three had been photography students at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 1979 when they became Newton's longtime assistants, and all three went on to independent careers. The exhibit premiered at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin and combined the work of all three with personal snapshots, contact sheets, and letters from their time with Helmut.
In 2005 Arbeit moved back to Honolulu, Hawaii, shooting fashion and celebrity editorial for local and national magazine. During this period Arbeit work on two important photographic series. ‘Torso’, a surreal look at the female nude; covering the head, arms and legs of the model with black velvet, exposing only the torso. The second series, ‘Photograms’, began with a message Arbeit received from Helmut Newton, eight years after his death. Life size photograms of female nudes, lying on silver gelatin photo paper, photographed and developed all in a darkroom.
Mark Arbeit continues photographing Fashion and Celebrity editorial and pursuing his personal artistic work.