EWW: Your work on your website shows several different types of subject matter as well as different styles including Monochromatic, HDR, Painterly and others. Is there one subject matter and one style that you prefer over the others? If so, why?
Michael: The beauty of our natural world is the primary focus of my photography but I also have a soft spot for old barns, weathered buildings, etc. The different styles used in my photography are most often chosen as a way to convey feeling or emotion for a particular scene. While I love colorful photography, I do enjoy the raw qualities of the black and white image, sometimes when you remove the color, you can see the simple essence of the subject or scene and many times it speaks louder to me than the color version.
EWW: I am curious to know if someone were asked to make a comment about your work as a whole, what do you think they would say?
Michael: They would probably say “Michael who?” haha! When I have shown my work at art shows, the public has been very gracious with their kind comments. Hopefully they would say “Thoughtful compositions that make you feel as if you were there”.
I love to witness someone being transported by a fond memory to a special time and place in their life triggered by viewing one of my photographs, they usually vocalize the experience, share it with me and I find it truly amazing. The images that trigger what I call “heart strings” are always special.
EWW: What would be your comments about your work, as a whole?
Michael: I’m having fun and hope it shows! One of the things I love most about photography is… there’s always more to learn and that makes it a journey, even a great adventure.
“Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.” – Paul Strand
Click on an image to enlarge it.
EWW: What photographer, past or present, has been an inspiration to you and and your work? Why?
Michael: Like many outdoor enthusiasts, I was first inspired by the work of Ansel Adams and later Galen Rowell; these men went into the back country and brought back beautiful photographs of their outdoor adventures. I follow the work of many contemporary photographers on social media and they inspire me every day.
EWW: What do you look for in deciding on what to shoot?
Michael: I may go out with the thought of shooting a particular subject but that’s not always what I come home with. It’s important for me to remain open to what might present itself. My favorite thing to do is just wander with my camera on foot or driving the back roads, just to see what I might find and if you spend the time, more often than not, something unique will happen.
EWW: Excluding subject matter, are there themes that consistently run from one work to the other such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?
Michael: I would like to think that I have developed a bit of my own style, something recognizable in my work.
Click on an image to enlarge it.
EWW: What do you see, or have experienced, as the most effective way for you to market and promote you and your work?
Michael: Marketing is a challenge, like a lot of creative folks, I would rather work on my craft than focus on marketing and I find it awkward trying to promote my own work. To date my largest sales have come from showing my work in person, telling the back story behind the images to those that inquire, folks like to meet the artist and know how the image came to be… and you never know who it is you’re talking to, they may have an office, Bank or Courthouse to decorate. I also have accounts with Getty Images and Acclaim Images to market stock photography.
EWW: Do you use social media platforms to market and promote your work? If you do, which social media platform seems to work the best for you?
Michael: Yes, I am very active on Facebook and have accounts on Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and more but find I really only have time to devote to just one, so for now it’s mostly Facebook.
EWW: Just to wrap up this interview, do you have any final thoughts about you and your work that you think would be important for others to know about?
Michael: My passion for photography came about from my backpacking trips into the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada. I bought my first SLR when I was still in my teens and shot mostly slide film. After years of photos not matching the actual experience, I decided to take the beginning through advanced photography courses offered at our local community college. The classes at the college were B&W film and developing, which gave me a solid foundation to build on. I had moved to digital even before completing the classes and found the instant feedback was allowing me to see how camera adjustments affected a photo in real time, haven’t shot film since.
I continue to learn about photography almost daily, viewing other’s stunning work, reading, watching videos, etc.
This leads us to one of my favorite quotes…
“Once the naive approach and humble willingness to learn fades away, the creative spirit dies with it.
Every professional should always remain in his heart an amateur” -Alfred Eisenstaedt