Artist Statement

Mark Hahn’s photographic work resides between the known, the unknowable, the familiar and the new. By focusing on unremarkable objects and the empty spaces between them, a fragile compositional and emotional balance emerges. Seemingly simple, abstract and at times austere on the surface, Hahn’s photographs ask us to take the time to study the illusory emptiness of his images, to explore their subtle geography, and to find the rich understated detail that fills each frame. As a classically trained painter, Hahn carries his compositional skills into his photography through often subtle images where even trash can transcend its physical reality and become something beautiful and new. Hahn’s photos invite us into the image and ask us to take the time to open our eyes and look closely at what we are seeing. What we find is delicately laden with human emotion, longing, loss, and beauty. The play of light and shadow and the tiniest of details become infused with a tremendous sense of humanity.

There is an aura to Mark’s photos that contains tender human urgency within a sublime state of nothingness. Carefully choosing what is contained within the frame and what is not, Hahn creates an emotional relationship between the observer and the internal connections drawn while observing. Within this interconnectedness, the boundaries of human emotions are revealed. There is a sense of domestic and emotional fragility in Mark’s work, but there is also an ineffable presence that shimmers just below the surface — photographs that can at first glance seem dark become optimistic, reminding the viewer that beauty can be found in anything. Hahn’s photographs offer a new way of seeing by acknowledging the invisible and making it visible by revealing the beauty in things that are usually overlooked and left by the visual wayside.

Hahn employs a wide variety of photographic equipment and exploits the qualities of each to fulfill his aesthetic and emotional vision. Though his early work was in traditional black and white film, Hahn is now primarily shooting in color and exploring ways to bring the same depth of emotion found in his black and white images to color photography without subverting it with the presence of the color. Hahn has a long history using traditional darkroom techniques and builds on this within his digital workflow.

Hahn studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the College of Creative Studies, Detroit. He has shown with the Peter Miller Gallery in Chicago as well as venues in NY and LA. Locally Hahn has shown with the Arts Eye Gallery, The Front Gallery, Metroform Ltd. Gallery, Rocket Gallery and Solar Culture Gallery. His work has been mentioned in the NY Times and LA Times as well as other print media including In Fashion Magazine and Simon Doonan’s book Confessions of a Window Dresser. Kim Nicolini’s in depth review of Hahn’s work was published in the Miami Art Exchange. Hahn’s photo books, Beautiful Pointless Universe and Empty Spaces, are available from

For more information, contact Mark Hahn at

All images and content copyrighted 2012 by Mark Hahn with all rights reserved.