Mark Chester has been a professional photographer since 1972. He was Director of Photography and staff photographer at ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), in New York City. His photographs are in the permanent collection of museums, including Baltimore, Brooklyn, Corcoran, Denver, Portland (Maine), San Francisco and other institutions. His work has also been exhibited as one-person and group shows in galleries nationwide, including O.K. Harris and Soho Photo (NYC), Camera Obscura (CO), San Francisco Airport, and other venues. Chester is a member of the Copley Society of Art in Boston. His work also appears with his own travel articles published by the New York Times, L.A. Times, Boston Globe, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and Christian Science Monitor among other newspapers and special interest magazines. His 1987 traveling exhibition and catalogue Shanghai in Black and White commemorated San Francisco's Sister City as part of a cultural exchange program displayed at the Fort Lauderdale, FL, Museum of Art; The Sidwell Friends School, Washington, DC; and the San Francisco Main Library.
Chester's first book Charles Kuralt's Dateline America was described by Norman Ornstein of the Washington Post: "This is a book of essays with photographs, not a picture book with text, but Mark Chester's photographs deserve a showcase of their own. Beautifully textured in shades of black and white, they remind one of those that Walker Evans did for the Farm Security Administration during the Depression. And they are as varied as Kuralt's essays. They make a good book even better."
Charles Kuralt himself described Mark as "...one of our finest...a wonderful eye and consummate skill...nothing murky or artificial."
And yet The Village Voice noted the subtle craftiness in his craft "...a street photographer whose images are humorous, imaginative and quite deceptive."
And while the Voice refers to his ability to catch us out with his images, the San Francisco Examiner praises Mark for knowing how to "catch the moment of truth."