Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Photos Never Sleep

Photos never sleep. It’s true, you know. They are always there, 24/7, just waiting to be noticed. Oh, and they are all around us. Our world is full of them. They can be found on billboards, in newspapers, magazines, albums, homes, and books, on television, website, posters, and cell phones. They are on the sides of buses, in airports and train stations. That’s right, in the Information Age, we are surrounded by images.

Photos never sleep. They are always ready to entertain, teach, or sell you something. They have the evocative power to comfort, tease, even anger us. They are used as tools by businesses, politicians, and educators. They are always with us. Just take a look around. Photos never sleep.

My name is David Michael, and I am a professional photographer. That’s right, my job (it’s really too much fun to call it a “job”) is to make photographic images for a living.

My love of photography stems from a Kodak Brownie Instamatic that belonged to my Mother. The bright red window where you could see the frame number fascinated me—to this day, I love vibrant colors—and the click of the shutter was always a thrill. I must have dry fired that Brownie shutter thousands of times as a kid. I was hooked.

A Polaroid Land Camera came next. (I learned early on not to pinch my fingers in the bellows support as it folded shut—remember that?) The anticipation, the excruciatingly slow wait for the image to develop, was delicious. Would it be under or over exposed? Would the backing pull off the emulsion? Living on the edge like that, those were certainly heady days!

I bought my first Nikon FE in the early 80's (I’ve used Canons and Minoltas as well, but have always returned to Nikon as my camera of choice). I still have my FE. It sits quietly on a shelf above my computer, a reminder of by-gone days and that thing we called “film.” More on that in another post.

After graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in film, I worked in the motion picture industry for over ten years. I dealt with cameras every day. These were of the 16mm, 35mm, and 70mm kind, but creating images, whether still or moving, held a broad appeal to me. Teaching went hand in hand with it. I have been invited to instruct at the International Film & Television Workshops in Rockport, Maine, multiple times, and I was the designer and lead instructor of the camera assistant certification program at Camera Service Center in New York City.

Today, I have returned to my first love—still photography. These days, I shoot primarily with the Nikon D2 system (I just hate eating my words, especially when I said, “I will never, ever, ever shoot digital”).

I have the privilege of creating images for the commercial and fashion markets, as well as shooting portfolios, stock, and fine art. My experience with theatrical film and commercials serves me well in that it taught me how to look at my world and see it in a different way then most people.

But most importantly, my work will outlast me. I will still be sharing my view of the world with my children and grandchildren long after I am but a memory. I can do this, you see, because photos never sleep.