Mark Avery is a very experienced photojournalist who has worked as a news photographer and photo editor for wire services, newspapers, magazines, and photo agencies, for over 30 years. He lives with a Golden Retriever named Frank in a lovely little cabin under redwood trees next to a river on the central California coast near the San Francisco Bay area.
Born and raised in Southern California, Avery worked his way through a History degree Cal State Long Beach by freelancing for the Associated Press and local newspapers. After graduating, he taught English in China for a year, which was just an excuse to shoot Kodachrome in an exotic place. He came home to a staff position with the AP in Los Angeles, but soon went back to freelance in China where ended up the AP staff photographer in Beijing. Avery covered a time of major changes in China including the 1989 student massacre in Tiananmen Square, and the first ever Mongolian election. He left China in 1991 to do the Freedom Forum Fellowship in Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii for a year, then ended up back in Southern California working as a staff photographer and photo editor at the Orange County Register newspaper for 13 years. In 2000 he was sent to cover President Clinton's trip to Vietnam, and in 2003 he was embedded with a Marine infantry unit from Camp Pendleton during the US invasion of Iraqi. Avery took a buyout in 2006, and freelanced until taking a job with the picture agency ZUMA Press where he has worked as as photo editor since 2009.
Avery has traveled extensively on assignment all over China, and has worked in or traveled to: Mongolia, Taiwan, S. Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Kuwait, and Iraq. He used to speak Mandarin Chinese fairly well, but has had little opportunity to use it for several years, so is a bit rusty.