The Mind Makes it Real

•October 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I wasn’t planning to write a blog post today, but an email in my inbox this morning changed all that.  You might say it blew my socks off.

One of my friends turned me on to an inspirational email blast by a man named J. Michael Dolan.  I read them each day and find he usually is telling me exactly what I need to hear.  He also sees life in a different way, one that closely aligns with how I see it and I have had the good fortune of exchanging a couple of emails with him.

This morning I read a response from him to my email commenting on his blog post “Choke, Stall and Flinch“.  I had remarked on how true I found the line in it “The one thing we artists & treps have in common is that we worry about the future. Why? Because we’re charged with inventing it from nothing—then we stake our entire livelihood on it.”

His response to it left me in tears.  I felt like someone really understood just what it is like to be an artist.  But more, what the world itself is really like.  You see, life is like our art.  We create it from nothing, it only seems that it is the world around us that dictates our actions.

Then I re-read his blog post and saw the missing piece, where I have been making my mistake.  You see, we do create our futures, but we also create what we don’t want as well.  I will be moving to my goal, something will occur and I put my attention on it instead.  I will flinch, and in that instant I’ve lost.  I put my attention on the barrier, the problem, the upset with whoever, the threat coming in at me – instead of the goal – and what I object to becomes more real.  I put more effort into trying to solve it and it grows more formidable.  The goal is lost as long as I try to solve the problem  instead of simply moving forward to the goal.

I can explain this best by likening it to the Matrix.  While there are many key points there in regard to this, such as the line about  “…seek to see the truth.  There is no spoon.  Then you will see it is not the spoon that changes, it is only yourself.”  Or when Neo is bleeding after the jump scene and Morpheus says “The mind makes it real…”  and the line about “I’m trying to free your mind.”

There is a point in the movie that was not spoken that I now see.  Who built the Matrix in the first place?  Well, it was built by the people it now enslaves.  And that is the key.  Once you take responsibility for creating it, you are free to control it. It can no longer harm you.  The Matrix exists only  because it is being created by those who fight it.

What we experience is what we create.  It may seem otherwise, but that is the simple truth of the matter.  And the things we create are those that we put our attention on, whether that be past misfortunes, something we object to in the present… or something we desire inn the future that did not previously exist.  Freedom, or lack of it, depends on which we choose to do.  As Morpheus said, “free your mind” and choose to create the future you desire.

The photo I am posting with this is part of a series I am working on along this very line.  It is an effort to communicate the role of the spirit to the material world and just how illusionary this world is.  And I urge you, if you work in any of the arts, or are an entrepreneur, or simply have a dream or ambition beyond being a cog in the 9 to 5 work a day world, click one of the links above and start reading Michael’s blog.  What you will get out of it will be different… but it will be what you need to get.

The Mind Makes it Real, copyright Mark Stout

The Mind Makes it Real, copyright Mark Stout


Internationally Acclaimed Fitness Photographer

•October 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I have worked hard to become one of the most creative and professional photographers in the business.  This has meant not only working on mastering all the technical apsects of photography… and the creative… but improving myself as a person as well.  I’ve learned that when your head is in the wrong place, when you don’t treat others as you want to be treated, and deliver your best at all times in all areas of your life, for some funny reason your creativity vanishes.

It is something I work on every day, but it has paid off.   Asian Photography Magazine did an eight page interview and layout of my work in which they referred to me as “an internationally acclaimed and sought after fashion and fitness photographer.”  I sort of downplayed it at the time, but it is true.  I’ve had clients and fitness and fashion models fly from all parts of the globe to work with me.  Likewise, I have been published all over the globe.  It’s an honor, a thrill and a responsibility to live up to the expectations that gives to my clients.

I’ve recently done some updates to my fitness photography portfolio.  Please take a minute to check them out and do click the “Like” button if you like the work.

men's fitness photographer

Fitness Photographer, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved


Men’s Fitness Photographer

•September 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It is amazing just how much can TRY to go wrong on a photo shoot.  When we planned the shoot, the weather forecast for the location was warm and sunny.  Come the day of the shoot, it was 70 percent chance of light rain and snow.  We discussed it and I said I just had a feeling that if we went ahead with the shoot we would end up with fantastic shots. Halfway to the location, we were in a downpour of rain.  Hardly what I would call light and I was starting to question my judgement.

We exited on the road to the spot and hit a barricade across the road.  It is closed, no reason given.  The only alternate route I knew of would mean doubling back about 60 miles and coming back up on a two lane road.  Not an option.

I knew an area where the weather seemed to always “bypass” it and we headed there.  Sure enough, we got there and the downpour was only a light drizzle and we found a spot where I could set up the lights and shoot from under a shelter and the model could appear to be out in the environment.   The shots were better than we hoped for with the original location.  Then the sun came out.  The shot below is one of what we got.

We wrapped up the shoot and headed back down to Denver.  About 2 miles from our spot, we were back in the same downpour.  I guess sometimes you just have to trust your intuition.  Had I relied on anything else (other than planning and bringing gear that would help in just such a wet situation) we would not have gotten some fantastic shots.

published fitness photographer

Men’s fitness photo shoot, magazine cover, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved

Please visit my website and like this photo.

Artistic women’s fashion photography

•September 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This image is part of a series in progress, where the model or the subject seems to be emerging from the world behind.  Stepping out of it so to speak (something I think we would all like to do).  It is fashion photography, but it also has a concept behind it, that if you have been following my blog you will know.

Enough said for now.  I’ll elaborate when the series is complete.  For now, here is the photo.  I’ve titled it “Stepping Out.”

fashion photographer

A beautiful woman stepping out of the city, copyright Mark Stout

Fit fashion photography

•September 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It is rare when you find a fitness model who works just as well in fashion photo shoots.  But in this case the model looked equally good in both fitness poses and clothing, and a casual fashion look.  This is one of the fashion, or as we were calling it, fit fashion, shots that we took during the same shoot.  Be sure to visit me to see more of my men’s fashion photography.

fashion photographer

Sexy men’s fashion photo shoot, copyright Mark Stout, no free use allowed

Men’s fitness photographer

•September 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I have been referred to both as one of the top fitness photographers in the business and as “an internationally acclaimed and sought after fitness photographer.”   I got away from fitness photography for a while when many of the fitness publications adopted policies that were not in the best interest of photographers, but have recently done several fitness photoshoots.

This is one from a recent shoot in LA.  The sun setting behind the palms made the perfect backdrop to show of the physique of this NPC bodybuilder.  Visit my fitness photographer gallery to see more of my work.

Note: This is a copyrighted image.  If you like it feel free to link to this page and tell people to come here to see it.  That is ethical sharing.  Reposting the image, or using it in any other manner without written permission is a violation of copyright law.

male nude photography

Physique photo of an NPC Bodybuilder against the palms, copyright Mark Stout, no free use allowed

Men’s Physique Photography

•September 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I have always considered photography like in the image below to be fitness photography, but I have come to realize it would be more appropriate to call it male physique photography.  Either way, it is an art form.

I shot the initial modeling portfolio for this model several years ago. He became quite successful and moved out to Miami.  We got the opportunity to work together again a few weeks ago.

Contact me to book a fitness or physique shoot.

Sexy men's physique photography, copyright Mark Stout. NO FREE USE ALLOWED.

Sexy men’s physique photography, copyright Mark Stout. NO FREE USE ALLOWED.


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