The day the animals wore shoes.

Being asked to create these San Diego Zoo ads featuring these magical, giant animal puppets from “The Journey,” a musical processional honoring the Zoo’s 100-year history, and the quest to end extinction, was an animal lover’s dream come true.

Created by the Puppet Kitchen, a total of 24 creatures were built for the festivities.  20 puppeteers worked for over a year, using hundreds of different materials to perfect them.

Honoring this craft and care became my inspiration throughout.  Lucky for me living in California meant that I had front row access to find and photograph the perfect landscapes.  Between having perfect backdrops and ideal skies I created the stories of these beautiful creatures and their surroundings.

My thanks to Art Director Ron Tapia and Art Producer Brian Bushaw at M&C Saatchi LA for asking me to collaborate for this wonderful campaign.

Check out the video and see how the images were created.

PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris honoring YuccaLand and Mount Riders.

I'm happy again to be a part of the 2016 PX3 Awards with two of my personal series I shot at the end of last year.  YuccaLand features images of the beautiful Coachella Valley.  It's thriving stories in art and song create a colorful community set against the serene surroundings.

The biker portraits were shot in central Chile during a campaign shoot for Mtn Dew.  The bikers' expertise was crucial to the shoot and it was amazing to watch them ride.

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about...me!

Claudia Coffman's interview about my life, love and labor on Lürzer's Archive's, one of the foremost advertising magazines in the world, website "Who is Who".

To check out the article click here.

On the way to Rio, Olympic Gold Medalist, diver David Boudia.

Shoulders of Greatness campaign.

Earlier this year I was able to get into the Olympic mood and be a part of Head&Shoulders' latest campaign showing David Boudia as H&S' new ambassador.  When preparing for Rio David has a lot on his shoulders but obviously dandruff is not one of them.  Working with Saatchi & Saatchi NY and Leo Burnett/Arc Chicago.

Sneak Peek of Havana Taxi Co.

My latest taxi adventure was in Havana Cuba, where there are thousands of American cars of the 1950's: Chevys, Buicks, Fords and Plymouths...  Most of them working as taxis.  Before the Cuban revolution the Cuban middle class had a passion for American cars but after the Communist Party gained control 1959 and US embargo was imposed 1960 new American cars have been off limits.  For the last 55 years people have been pulling components from old cars and creating custom parts to keep their automobiles on the road.  More images to come soon.  Meanwhile check out my previous Taxi rides in Mumbai India. http://markkuphoto.com/mumbai-taxi/

Stop for a portrait!

I was lucky to shoot with a bunch of talented motocross riders in Chile.  All with a lot of action.  I was able to stop them for portraits.  Only five minutes each.  And then back to drone hunting.

Cristobal 

Tomas 

Manolete

Rallying to save the tennis club

After my wife and I bought a home in Palm Springs a year ago, we started to search for a club where we could play tennis.  We found the Plaza Racquet Club.  The managers of the club, Kurt and Ana introduced us to partners with similar skills.  We played few times and through off-court conversations, found that the hundreds of the members are at risk of losing their club.  Newport Beach firm is planning a residential development for the site, but members are rallying around a movement to designate the club, which first opened 1975 as a historic site and calling on the city to help them relocate, if necessary.  I wanted to do all that I can to save this club, through the medium that I know best.  Below few of the images I’ve taken on the site.

My ongoing Instagram project, Jumbo Rock.

Ever since my youth I’ve had a fascination with very large rocks. When you climb these big rocks they can provide a new perspective to your surroundings as well as a nice hiding spot. My fascination and love was partly spurred by the Finnish national author Aleksis Kivi —Aleksis “Rock”— and his story about a group of seven brothers who together escape a raging bull by climbing on top of a large rock in the middle of a farm field. The landscape of Palm Springs, which is littered by boulders big and small, has refreshed my attraction to these rocks. My newest photo series captures the grip and influence these monuments have on their surroundings.

Check out my Instagram here