Mellencamp work assures Hauser is alive & well

Marc Hauser, the iconic Chicago photographer who brought portraiture and and compelling black and white photography to the fore in print advertising, says he’s back and doing what he considers his strongest work.

Hauser, who seemed to have all but disappeared, recently art directed and filmed the music video for “Troubled Man” a single from musician John Mellencamp’s new “Plain Spoken” album.

Shot in sepia light reminiscent of a Rembrandt painting, it’s a comeback praised for both its beauty and trademark Hauser subject connection. He is also doing publicity prints and images for Mellencamp’s upcoming tour.

From the 1980s to 2006, Hauser was among the most sought after photographers in the country known for his striking black and white portraits and his mastery of light. Single handedly, he created the look of advertising in the 1980s. A stream of awards, among them several Clios and Omnis, trailed his work.

But in 2006 while shooting a video from a 40-ft. crane on a golf course, Hauser fell when the crane tipped. His right leg shattered and he suffered a detached retina in his right eye.

Bedridden for five years, he stayed focused on once again getting behind the camera. And he did. However, in November, 2013, following an infection in his damaged leg, Hauser underwent an amputation. Yet his spirit never diminished and today he motors around his studio and on locations in a wheelchair.

His calendar is filling as agents and directors realize Hauser is and has been open for business. For the past few years, to make ends meet, he’s been shooting Groupon portraits, however, his desire is to return to advertising work and he wants creative directors to know he’s alive and well.

“Photographically, I’m shooting better than ever,” Hauser says.

Richard Coad, CCO at the marketing agency MDC Communications in Washington, D.C. who has hired Hauser for recent campaigns, agrees. His photos are direct and they create “a sense of eavesdropping,” Coad says.

Hauser’s clients have included McDonalds, Wendy’s, Sears, Rolling Stone magazine, Pepsi Co., Ameritech, Arista Records and Microsoft. 

His most celebrated photo of Dennis Rodman used for Bigsby & Kruthers stopped traffic on the Kennedy Expressway.

Born in Wilmette, Hauser’s love of photography began when he was 13 years old. By the time he was in his thirties, countless legends appeared before his lens, among them, Woody Allen, Patti Smith, Julia Roberts, Michael Jordan, B.B. King, Aaron Copeland, Mike Ditka and Sophia Loren.

To date, he has published eight books, the most recent a collection of photos on Chicago Neighborhoods.

“I love taking photographs, it’s what I do and I don’t want to stop,” Hauser says. “And I’m ready and waiting for what comes next.”

Marc Hauser’s studio is at 319 N. Western Ave.; phone, 312/248-7824; email, hauserportraits@gmail.com.

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