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May 2, 2024 by Marc Peruzzi

Meet a Creative: Scott Markewitz

Adventure and Commercial Photographer | Videographer | Producer

Home Base / Salt Lake City, Utah

Activities / Skiing, cycling, trail running, lifestyle, golf

Why Scott

Scott Markewitz came to photography from the other side of the lens. In the mid 1980s, while skiing for some of the top photographers of that era, Scott tried his hand at it and took some shots of his friends and roommates, who were also professional skiers. “I sent some shots to Jake Moe who was the editor at Powder at the time. He was nice enough to get back to me and said, “These shots aren’t good enough for Powder, but keep working at it.” 

As he continued skiing in front of the lens, he found himself grabbing an extra camera and taking some shots to help out. A few of those snaps got published. In the winter of 1986, Scott bought a professional camera and spent more time shooting with some local pro skiers. “That spring just before I left to coach a ski camp in Europe, I sent Powder another submission. I flew back to New York to visit my mother before heading home to Utah and walked into a newsstand. One of my shots was on the cover of Powder. And ironically, there was a shot of me skiing on the back cover in a Salomon ad. That’s when I knew I was going to make photography my career. It was going to work.”

Hans Rey riding across the steamy volcanic landscape of Iceland

My first paid assignment was for Elan. I was an Elan skier, so I called them and said, ‘I’m a photographer now. Can I shoot something for you?’ They were like, ‘yeah sure.’ From there, things took off pretty quickly.

Scott became semi-famous as a ski photographer. And by that we mean everyone in the ski business knew his work. And for good reason. In the 1980s ski photography was floundering. Every second shot featured a neon-clad couple flying off a cornice with the wind in their hair. As an athlete turned photographer, Scott had other ideas. He wanted to give ski photography a more authentic look. He continued to expand his reach, and in 1991 on a shoot for Oakley, connected with two of skiing’s revolutionaries, Trever Peterson and Eric Pehota. And from there he rode the wave of extreme skiing as it morphed into freeskiing. Scott was prolific in capturing the Alaska scene that followed, where he put the athletic form in an otherworldly landscape. 

He wasn’t the first to celebrate skiers as athletes, search for old images of Dick Durrance for proof. But he was one of the first to wrestle ski photography back from the poseurs. He and his colleagues at Powder ushered in a second golden age of ski photography.

Early on, Scott knew he had to become more than a ski photographer to be successful. His skiing connections turned into mountain biking connections, and he documented the rise of not just freeride mountain biking, but mountain biking as a whole. Today he shoots, skiing, cycling, and all manner of outdoor pursuits as well as golf, pharmaceutical, and other commercial brand campaigns. 

He’s also still learning and growing as a creative. “I’m a videographer and a Director of Photography in the field almost as much as I’m a still shooter these days. I also co-founded a marketing agency to deliver authentic work to a range of clients.” 

Red Bull Rampage: Kyle Strait bailing mid backflip.
Darren Berrecloth goes large while filming for "Where The Trail Ends."

Specialized Skills

When he’s shooting editorial or shooting for himself, Scott’s work has a unique look and feel by design. It’s high energy and cinematic, which you might expect from someone who helped invent the action sports look. But Scott doesn’t try to force his style onto his commercial clients. “I have a degree in marketing,” he says. “So I’ve always approached my commercial work from a marketing and branding stance. I try to understand what the brand is all about and what kind of photography will work for them. Sometimes they have a style. More often than not I try to help them find their style. That’s not just the best way to deliver a campaign that works, it’s the best way to build long relationships with clients.” 

What's Next

Scott’s newest endeavor is The Community Project, an agency he co-founded with Travis Tomczak. Scott brings his creative background. Travis brings a deep résumé as a global marketing director. As marketing budgets are reduced and in-house staffing is trimmed across the industry, The Community Project is delivering high quality and authentic content and marketing that’s on brand for its growing stable of clients. “This model is working because we can be scrappy and offer a high level product for reasonable rates,” says Scott. “We don’t have an office. Like Hence is offering in its services, we build our teams based on the projects and make it work.”  

Sarah Tomson Beyer doing yoga on the surface of the Great Salt Lake, Utah.