Caitlin & Phil

It was a cold, cold day. The kind of day that required everyone to scrape down their windshields before they could drive from the ceremony to the reception. But there was plenty warmth inside and among the cast and crew of this big day.

Caitlin & Phil were the sweetest couple surrounded by the sweetest people. So glad to have been there, and to have had this amazing historic church as the backdrop in Carthage, MO.



It’s time.



this could be the most nervous I’ve ever seen a couple before the first sight. It was pretty cute.



sneaky sneaky.


really loved shooting in this old church.



when you see a gold radiator, you gotta use it.


an impromptu tissue paper bouquet.



I love unplanned moments that line up symmetrically.



yep. I want this car REAL bad.


yes, he is in fact 10 feet tall.



They did a fantastic job transforming the gym into a winter wonderland.



hot cocoa bar!


Bethany + Ian wedding

I think the last time I posted on here was about 6 months ago and I said something about how I was closing down this blog…

The reason for that was that most of my posts are now commercial-photography related, and I feature those over at my other site…

However, I do still shoot a wedding every now and again, and I just shot a beautiful day with some beautiful people (inside and out)… the 9art blog is still the best spot to feature it. I had to do it more justice than just throwing these out on facebook!

I’ve known Bethany’s family for a long time- her sister Tara is married to my best friend, and she was a little girl at the first wedding I shot for the Balu family. Suddenly it’s a few years later and she’s really tall now (along with her goofy brother Micah) and going to the local college here in Joplin and she’s babysitting MY kids.

Everyone, myself included, were so incredibly happy to see such a great guy like Ian come alongside her these past couple of years. These two love Jesus and are already serving in ministry together, and I know the fruits of that will be tremendous.

Congrats to the couple and to the whole clan of OCC students and Balu & Johnson families. It was a fun day in historic Fort Scott Kansas… I hope you enjoy looking t

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9art / Mark N


This is the final post of this blog.

And this post is the first official product of a break-up.


bicycle lifestyle photo session for urban cycling ventures- joplin mo commercial photographer 9art_0010.jpg


It’s ok, it’s ok, no need to console… both parties decided it would be best. It was simply time for each to breathe on their own. Like McCartney and Lennon, like Disney and Pixar, or Ben Folds apart from his Five…

Wedding/family/senior Mark decided to continue on as he always has…. long known to the Joplin MO community as 9art photography.

But commercial/editorial/fine art (I’m out of slashes) photography Mark has been getting antsy and didn’t fit under the 9art profile anymore.

So Mark N photography was born. Largely, this new business presence exists to give more clarity to that line of work- so those who would seek to hire a photographer for commercial work in the midwest region, could see a brand dedicated solely to that. Many, many thanks to friend and mentor Brandon Hill for the advice on this move.

Some of you have noticed the new Mark N photography sneaking into social media- complete with a NEW blog, logo (thanks to the brilliant Matt Spiel), website, pretty much new everything- this will be the entity you call on if you’re coming from the business or entertainment world. For marketing campaigns, for magazine articles, for musician portraits, for professional storytelling work, all that kind of thing.

And 9art will keep on doing what its’ always done… the Joplin photobooth, senior photography, lifestyle family shoots, and of course, a wedding here and there.

If you’ve followed me in the past and feel like this is way too much to keep up with… no worries. You really only have to keep up with one business. I’ll keep updates for 9art going on facebook (if you like the work we’ve done for private clients) while Mark N is represented on twitter, instagram, and G+ (if you’re more interested in the commercial & artistic work). And honestly, this should be a lot less confusing for those who were really only interested in one portion of the business anyway.

live concert event photograph (CIY) by mark N photography

Either way, thanks for being here. I’d highly encourage you to make the transition with me, as I have no plans to stop blogging anytime soon… I just won’t be doing it through the 9art platform any more.


Excited for the next phase!


It’s here (photo novel release)


It’s here.

14 months of work.

51 actors.

7+ script revisions  (meaning hundreds of writing hours for my co-director Lance).

9,647 photos taken (narrowed to hundreds actually used in the final project).

elaborate prop lists, shooting schedules, casting calls, location scouts, budget breakdowns, conference calls, design experiments, and beta reader notes.

joplin undercurrent outtake- lance throws the script away

The Joplin Undercurrent‘ is, hands down, the biggest project I’ve taken on in my career, more elaborate even than ‘Cold Brewed’, the last photonovel project that Lance Schubert and I collaborated on.

Many, many thanks to our producer, Carrie Puffinbarger, and to Patrick and the rest of the team at the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau for believing in Lance & I and trusting us to create an out-of-the-box art/promotional piece for the city of Joplin.

joplin photonovel ch 1106

There are no moving visuals in this piece, only stationary ones, but I know a lot better now what film production feels like. And Lance & I know better how to tell this particular genre of story- the photonovel- as we can now tuck 2 of these things under our belt.

2016 is off to a sweet start.

joplin photonovel outtakes- lance & dena doing makeup

You can read chapters 1-3 in the Joplin Undercurrent right now. More to come as the chapters are dropped digitally, for free, over the next few weeks. You can also catch our last project, Cold Brewed, for free on iTunes for a limited time.

The Joplin Undercurrent




I talked a fair amount about this project earlier last year, but it got to that funny point that I’d worked on it so long I stopped talking about it. Now, almost exactly a year since we started shooting the thing, I’m excited to say it’s here.

The Joplin Undercurrent is a photonovel- a medium originated by Lance Schaubert and myself (beginning with ‘Cold Brewed’, now free on i-Tunes)- that combines words and pictures into a unique cinematic experience (minus the motion).


[above photo is Lance & I ‘on set’, unable to abstain from trying on the legit costumes for a historical scene]

This photo novel was produced by the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau, and tells a story for my city- Joplin, Missouri- fusing fiction and reality, history and mystery.

The first installment of the Joplin Undercurrent will be released online on January 19th. That’s NEXT WEEK, guys.

Subsequent chapters will be released for several weeks after this. It’s all free and super easy to follow…just click below to check out the  poster images and to subscribe so you’re the first to see the opening chapters.


For the moment, I’m more than excited to release this set of posters for the project. Design work by the talented Lauren White. Posters feature our leads- Lauden Baker, Kolourz Voss, and Muchengetwa Bgoni.

joplinundercurrentposters-cryptcvb-low resjoplinundercurrentposters-geocvb_lowresjoplinundercurrentposters-kidcvb_low res

Back in the saddle…

Hey all!

If you follow this blog, you’ll have noticed that it remained rather quiet the last couple of months… some stuff about Santa, and that’s about it.

It was for that ironic reason of simply being too busy.

Being busy. It’s the American way, I suppose. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it feels like our default, small talk response to ‘how are you’ has moved from ‘good!’ to


Like having so much to do that you literally feel insane is some kind of badge of honor that we’re all scrambling to wear…


I wasn’t scrambling to wear it, but wear the badge I did. It’s like that old Joe Walsh song says, ‘I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do…’ Being that insanely busy was good for business sure, and I’m certainly blessed by that business, but it was more than a little exhausting and it admittedly kept me from some things I really value.

Things like, creating personal work, spending more time with family, being healthy, and, of course, updating this blog with what’s going on and what’s ahead.
I just finished out 2 full weeks off- time to recover, rest, come face-to-face with everything that gets pushed down after months of being in “survival mode”, and come out the other side feeling a lot more like myself again.

If you haven’t done that in awhile- take time- you might be straying from your own big picture.  The best part is, the more you feel like you don’t have time to take that break, the more you probably need it.


stop social media
stop being in meetings

stop working
stop wrapping yourself up in the details to the extent you can’t see the big picture
stop running from the things you don’t want to look at it in your own heart

stop obsessing
stop being so busy that you can’t even sit down with a book


if you can’t stop for a bit, your soul goes a little sour. We just aren’t meant to run that much without taking a rest. We lose sight of who we are and what we actually care about, until we reach a point where we don’t care about anything.

I care again. It’s nice.

But that’s enough about that… so…

W’sup, 2016? 

I’m excited about this year. Goal #1 was just to slow down. Listen to see what God is telling me. I’ve done some of that.

So as for what’s next… here’s a quick summary of a couple of things  I can tell you  about for 9art/Mark 9 in 2016.


Yep. For you guys who followed my best friend Lance & I when we made ‘Cold Brewed’… we made another one, produced by the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau. My biggest project to date. More about that tomorrow…


#2: ‘COLD BREWED’ is now FREE

For those who didn’t get a chance to read ‘Cold Brewed’ the first time around, it’s now available for completely 100% FREE on i-tunes. The only catch is that you have to have an apple device (i-pad, macbook, i-phone) to look at it. If you don’t have one, see who can borrow from for an hour or two so you can read through it. 🙂

cold brewed film noir photonovel_0008

#3:  MARK N photography COMING SOON

I’d touched briefly on this last year… I’ve spent some time working on an entirely new business presence that focuses on the commercial/fine art photography portion of my business. The blog you are reading now will, in fact, eventually move over to the new website being created for this. Can’t wait to show it all to you guys.

joplin mo artist portraits by 9art photography10

(this photo, btw, is not me, it’s my fellow photography buddy Brian, and still one of my favorite portraits).


One thing I did make time for late last year was to have a couple of conversations with fellow artists in other mediums, about the possibility of collaborating. So far, I have 2 new projects lined up for this year that I think are going to be incredibly fun and push my artistic limits. I didn’t plan on them happening at all- they just fell into place in that beautifully obvious kind of way.

I’ll keep you posted on these as they unfold.

artists as superheroes concept series from fine art and commercial photographer 9art in joplin mo2


I won’t dwell on this one bc this post isn’t meant to be an ad. But just to let you all know, I am beginning to book sessions again, for 2016- I’ll get back to shooting as usual next week. If you’re interested in setting up a shoot for your family, business, or wedding- or if you’d even just like to sit down soon over coffee to brainstorm about working together in the future- I’d love to talk to you.

best of #santabooth (funniest santa ever)


The following is a selection of my very favorite shots from #santabooth… in which we took some elements of the the traditional ‘santa photos’ setup, then turned them on their head with  a goofy photobooth feel, to create a beautiful (and sometimes hilarious) new thing.

We couldn’t have done it without Larry, our santa… I think you’ll agree, after looking through these and seeing how well he plays along, he’s pretty much the best santa claus ever.

I’m going to start with this shot. Because, it makes me laugh every time I look at it (and hope it does you, too).

I’m going to follow that up with this mini-series of babies crying, and Santa joining in on the frustration with the the sometimes terrifying sit-on-santa’s-lap tradition.


ok, ok, there were happy babies too.


(‘whats in this cookie’?)


whole families got in on the fun.


things got a little dark and weird at times.


whole families wore matching pajamas.


Dad’s sweater gave him some ‘tude.


A local restaurant payed tribute to Bill Murray.

2b low res

Super cute things happened (this shot is, believe it or not, unposed)


we did our best to compete with the viral santa/sleeping baby picture with our own sleeping baby…


someone brought a kitten and a puppy. YES, BOTH.






Santa is my BRO. (Coca Cola, care to buy this shot)?


Dusty’s had a long holiday already and is rapidly heading for the naughty list.


Awaiting approval.


He’s the best santa. He lays his finger aside of his nose and everything (not inside it).


your santa wouldn’t do this.



many, many thanks to:

– Traders’ church, for graciously providing our downtown location
-Larry Griffith, for being an all around fantastic Santa
-the Downtown Joplin Alliance, and, specifically Zach Bozeman for being my hearth-heaver & cashier
-Simply Vintage, for supplying part of our set
-Countryside florist, for providing our Christmas tree
-Drew Kimble, for helping with the planning phase

2015 seasonal deals

Hey guys! Keeping things simple this year. Here’s all the 9art deals we’ve got going on… good from today through (cyber)Monday.

Some of these are more to benefit existing clients; others will be great for those who want to give 9art a try (or, those who want to give the gift of 9art).

Just e-mail before December 1st to qualify!



  • 25% off 2016 gift certificates ($15 buys $20)
  •  $500 for a 2016 session + high res disk
  •  All 2014/2015 photobooth prints 1/2 off ($20 minimum)
  •  2014/2015 session books 1/2 off (grandma wants one)
  •  high res disk from any pre-2015 session for $200
  •  2016 mini session (10mn session) + high res disk (2-3 images) for $100




santabooth flyer

….are usually a dreaded experience. Right, parents?

Well, not this time. These are NOT your mall santa photos. What makes them different?

#1: Our santa is awesome. This is the guy who’s played Santa for Cabela’s & Hallmark. He knows his santa. 


#2: it’s downtown. That’s fun. Columbia Traders’ church is our gracious host… right within the heart of main street, 420 s main. While we do have a $20 order minimum, there’s no “sitting fee” and 10% of our proceeds go directly back into downtown, through the lovely Downtown Joplin Alliance.

#3: I love taking photos. These are professional. We take our time, we get it right, we take a photo that’s worth remembering.

#4: Joplin folks love the photobooth. This time, I want to incorporate that off-the-cuff, spontaneous, goofy feel into the photos, for those that love that. (and for those photobooth regulars that don’t have kids, yes, you can come too… and bring your ugly sweaters with you)!

So this year, the photos really take the tone that you want. If you want them to be calm santa photos, that’s what they are. If you’d like them to take a crazier, sillier tone (like the photobooth), then we’ll have the props on hand… and our santa can be pretty goofy, believe you me. Think of him as the greatest prop 0f all…


Thanks to the wonderful Traders Church for hosting us this year, and to 12eighty-one photography for partnering with us- they’re covering a third date on December 12th.

santa 1

Our dates: December 1st, 6-8pm (night of the Joplin Christmas parade)
December 4th, 5-7pm (Friday evening)

All other info can be found here (feel free to copy these sheets and fill them out beforehand if you plan to come!)

All questions can be directed to (I’ll be out of the office this week but checking through e-mails first thing on Monday).

Santa Order Forms v2Santa Order Forms v2