skip to Main Content

IMG_4996Photographer and HFX Mentor Mark Arbeit captures something soft and sensual in every picture, whether it’s a work of portraiture, fashion, experimental, studio work, landscape or documentary.

At the beginning of Arbeit’s more than 40-year career, he worked as an assistant,to fashion photography icons Helmut Newton and Irving Penn. As he matured into his work, Arbeit’s stunning editorial images showed up in nearly every major fashion magazine,  including Vogue, Marie Claire, and Vanity Fair,  and many others.

Now based in Honolulu, Arbeitis still busy raising his family, experimenting with photograms, and shooting for clients such as HONOLULU Shops, Ala Moana Magazine, and HILuxury.

Arbeit’s participation as an HFX Mentor evidences his generosity and shared commitment to community-building and elevating Hawaii fashion.  On August 30, 2014, Arbeit will offer a live photo shoot workshop for HFX Members (photographers and other professionals alike) to demonstrate the elements involved in creating a dramatic editorial fashion shoot (details at bottom of post).  Read on for more anecdotes and beautiful photos from Arbeit’s enduring career.

It started in California, when a boutique owner let Arbeit, a burgeoning photographer, practice shooting her and her clothes for her promotional use. She would send him to London and Germany to shoot the fashion shows there.

Arbeit 7_1 Arbeit 4_1

“I first lived in Hawaii in 1969 and went to McKinley High School,” Arbeit says. “But I left to go to the Art Center College of Design in LA [after attending the University of Hawaii]. I really started out in fashion. We had an assignment in school to pick an industry; I picked fashion. I met this woman in Beverly Hills, asked if I could borrow her clothes and take pictures of her. We had a 10-year working relationship.”

Arbeit 6_1

“My first three-to-four years in Europe, she kept me on a retainer. I would just travel to London and Germany, shoot all the fashion shows. She had pics of every outfit. This was before the magazines were even doing it. We would do ads in LA magazines, ads for her boutique. She got me started; she’s the one who said to me, Helmut Newton is coming to the store. He’s in town from Europe. And so a friend of mine waited since the morning. We met him because of her. He invited us to show our books, then to a shoot, and we slowly became friends for the next 30 years.”

Arbeit 3_1

In his beautiful monograph, titled Work, Arbeit writes about a time assisting Newton:

“I assisted Helmut photographing Egon Von Furstenberg for GQ magazine. In the third and last shot, Helmut was photographing Igon in a full-length fur coat under the Manhattan Pier in LA. After shooting one roll of film for about an hour, Helmut said, ‘We’ve got it!’ I opened the camera to unload the film but there was no film inside. I’d forgotten to load the camera after the last shot. I thought Helmut would kill me, but he said nothing and started all over again. Later that night Helmut said to me, ‘Mark, there are assistants and there are photographers, and you are not an assistant.’ I took that as a compliment.”


Editorial Fashion Photography Workshop with Mark Arbeit

Saturday, August 30, 2014

10 am – 4 pm

More details coming soon!

All photos courtesy Mark Arbeit


Back To Top