Thank you for your interest in ML Photo & Frame! Your one-stop photo and custom framing shop servicing South Padre Island, Port Isabel, and surrounding areas!
Hello, my name is Mark Lehmann, a life-long student of photography. My passion for photography goes way back to the time I was about 5 or 6 years old, randomly going through all our family photo albums my parents kept in their room. I would be so intrigued by them, almost as if I was looking at them for the first time. It was an emotional sensation that would instantly take me back to that exact moment. I would find myself going back and browsing through the images and I always received the same satisfaction regardless of how many times I would see the same pictures over the years, and to this very day!
I finally purchased my first camera at a local toy store, a 110mm point-and-shoot at age of 10. I would take it with me every time my family and I would go on vacation, snapping away at anything that caught my eye. I wanted to remember every detail and exciting moment of my vacation. I soon realized and began to really appreciate the fact that I was able to capture any specific moment instantly, then be able to re-live it by glancing at the printed image days, months, even years later. It was the same feeling I had when I was younger going through my parents' images, but now I was able to create my own! It was exciting, rewarding, and no matter how sad I felt returning home from our vacation, I always had something to look forward to when receiving my prints!
As the years went on, I continued shooting photos and began getting a much better understanding of photography. My style of photography was evolving, my knowledge of it increasing, and my love for it was growing exponentially! I began to fall in love with photography!
I finally decided in 2006 that I would try and take this to the next level, and started investing in better equipment, lenses, camera bodies, and proper education of photography. I was quite busy running a completely different business back then, but I still managed to find time to shoot and learn as much as possible. I began to see it as an opportunity to diversify and make a living doing what I loved.
I did what I could to teach myself via books, online courses, and even took a film photography at the local university. I just had to know how film was developed and printed in a dark room! It was a great experience!
Everything was starting to make more sense to me, I was beginning to understand more about exposure and composition. My passion for photography was growing exponentially and I was able to use my style of composition and translate it using a camera to show the world as I saw it through my lens.
Every photographer has their own style of composition and choice of photography. I have found that my passion for photography lies mainly in nature and coastal landscapes. Sunsets and sunrises have always given me a reason to shoot no matter where I find myself. I want my images to make the viewers feel like they are practically there!
Portrait, food, interior/exterior residential and commercial, and product photography are also different areas where I specialize in and enjoy shooting.
I continue to educate myself on a daily basis and shoot whenever I have free time, applying anything new that I learn and keeping my practice up. I re-invest every single penny that I earn with my photography back into upgrading my equipment, traveling to different locations to expand my portfolio, attend workshops, and educating myself. My goal is to eventually master every aspect of photography, whether it be portraits - lighting/posing, food, landscape, new techniques/software, etc.
Ultimately, this is what I love doing and the fact that I'm able to do what I love is the most important thing to me! I honestly feel that my photos will show just that!
"I want my images to make the viewers feel like they are almost there!"
Custom Picture Framing
Working with wood has always been another passion of mine growing up. It all goes back to when I was a young child watching my grandfather, Dr. Francisco Velez, work in his wood shop in Cd. Victoria, Tamaulipas. He would travel and search out the best materials near and far, and build beautiful violins, guitars, cellos, and other musical instruments by hand. At the time I didn't know much about it, but I was just so fascinated watching him build and create something beautiful with his hands out of raw materials. I'll never forget the smell of the freshly cut wood and the sounds of him working at his shop every morning after breakfast and practicing the violin.
As the years went on, I found myself working more and more with wood myself, building what I could, and learning how to use various types of tools and machinery. Being able to build something that was beautiful and functional out of wood became very rewarding to me and I wanted to learn more!
I began building tables and other types of furniture, always learning something new with every project.
I made my first picture frame back in 2009 with a friend of mine in my garage. I had just bought my first router table and decided to experiment with it using some scrap wood. We ran it through a couple of times, creating a nice profile, cut some 45's, then glued and nailed it all together. I looked at it, and thought how cool it was that I created my first frame. It was far from fancy, but I loved it! Then it eventually hit me; I realized that I should place more focus on framing my own work, thus offering an end product that has never left the photographer's hand. I steadily began to invest more into this concept, all the while learning everything I had to know to do it right.
Slowly but surely, I began investing every single penny I had into better equipment and tools, creating a more efficient way of producing what I wanted. I would start out with raw lumber, milling the wood, shaping it, then putting it all together. I was very meticulous with my joints and how they would come together. It had to be perfect! Learning to create my own moulding is comparable to learning to drive a manual transmission vehicle for the first time before ever getting behind the wheel of an automatic.
While there is so much more to custom picture framing than being able to put some corners together properly, it was all I needed for me to continue my education and master every aspect of it. From studying online, watching videos, ordering literature, attending workshops, etc. I have learned so much with the different aspects of custom picture framing. My education will continue as I have made the decision to do this for the rest of my life!
As I mentioned earlier, it has all made sense to me! I am finally able to connect the dots looking back and see how this was all meant to be for me! I found a way to combine my love for photography and continue my grandfather's woodworking legacy and allowing me to offer a product to my client that is truly one-of-a-kind!
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