Stay tuned to the website in the coming days for a new gallery which examines the theme of fatherhood.
More soon, Mike
Stay tuned to the website in the coming days for a new gallery which examines the theme of fatherhood.
More soon, Mike
I have been wanting to say thanks for all the kind words lately regarding the twins and some of the awards received over the last few months regarding my art and photography.
At 36 years of age, I'm so incredibly grateful for each opportunity given to me. With new eyes, I welcome every bump and bruise.
I'm excited to continue pushing the limits of vision; I hope you'll come away with me from time to time.
Stay tuned for a smattering of updates via the blog along with updated galleries on the website featuring personal work and new advertising projects.
Self-portrait at 36, 2015.
These guys from Droga5 made an ad that wasn't an ad but worked better than the ads you buy during the Super Bowl.
A fun exercise in imagination and a trusting client, read all about it here in this week's Adweek.
Shot less than two weeks ago at ShootDigital in New York, I had a blast collaborating with Margo Didia of Adweek on the final tailgating scenario.
Above is a sketch depicting the rough placement of nine people in the horizontal option. Seen below, an early tailgating comp from the ever-talented Gretchen Hilmers of G-tou.
Had a couple other harebrained ideas, but I love where we landed on these.
Just found these dudes under a mountain of paper in the office.
Top left is from a pitch I made to Esquire for a portrait studio bus at this year's Sasquatch. Under that is what-would-have-been the most amazing portrait of the band, Mogwai, overlooking the festival.
At right, a portrait bust study of a cross between Clark Griswold and the Toxic Avenger. A man can dream, right?
You may recall this previous post where I shine a light on my Seattle Met cover shoot with Jermaine Kearse, star wide receiver of the NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks.
In addition to the cover, I had the distinct honor of shooting an extensive feature on the city's legion of diehard superfans as a visual guide on Seattle's unique brand of 12th Man culture.
Over a two-week period, I documented the odyssey of seven "12s" as they transformed themselves to the distinct and recognizable alter egos we've come to love.
If you're wondering about the meaning of 12th Man, it could loosely be interpreted as the mutual camaraderie shared by a group of football fans whose collective cheers and boos from the stands directly influence the outcome of a game. Of course it is way deeper than that, but our crowds are known for pushing the idea of the 12th Man to Richter scale tipping proportions.
As I learned from all of the superfans, 12th Man culture is a kind of magical place. Ruining an opposing team's snap count is seen as a higher calling for true 12's and on a completely different level from, say, the peewee league cheers that ask for a defense to push em way back.
In November 2012, when Brad "Cannonball" Carter put a knee on the fifty-yard line at CenturyLink Field and popped the question to his longtime partner, Laura Healy, better known as "Hawkychick," he was capitalizing on a certain electricity that seemed to be in the air.
They wed in 2013 and count the team's Cinderella season, and eventual Lombardi win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, as the most immaculate wedding gift a couple could receive.
Over pizza and pints, they coached me on what to expect from their next door neighbors — the superfan-juggernaut couple, Jeff and DeDe Schumaier — more affectionately referred to as Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk.
The morning of my shoot, Jeff had already slipped into his Mr. Seahawk persona. He showed me around the home - decorated floor-to-ceiling with Seahawks memorabilia — all the while enjoying his signature cocktail, A Blue One, a 50/50 blend of Gatorade and Vodka.
They spoke candidly about their undying allegiance for the Seahawks, and how it was customary for them to start their transformation on Sunday mornings as early as 5 a.m.
In 1998, they wed on the 50 yard line of the Kingdome, and have been referred to as Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk ever since. Their Campbell's Chunky Soup commercial with standout cornerback, Richard Sherman, and his mother, Beverly, ranks as one of the most exciting opportunities to arise from their years spent supporting the team.
I had wanted to try an option of Jeff and DeDe perusing the wardrobe racks at Fred Meyer, but I didn't have much hope because it was a Sunday and locations like that tend to require liability insurance.
Grinning as he picked up the phone, he stated, "They love me down there."
Years of being a respected, wig-wearing member of your community means you're afforded certain luxuries that we commoners aren't often given. After a five minute chat, Jeff said, "their corporate lawyer is sending you an email, but I think we're good."
Better known as Seahulk, Tim Froemke, takes the idea of fan devotion to a completely different level. On gameday, he drives some 220 miles from Ritzville, Wash., to the home of his body artist outside Seattle.
So it was no wonder that after a week-long series of texts, he and I finally met in Mt. Vernon, some 60 miles north of Seattle.
In two hours, an already muscular Froemke transforms into the Seahulk, a persona Tim debuted at the 2005 NFC title game.
After a chat about our favorite records, I scheduled a date with Kiltman.
When I met Neil in Everett, he quickly jumped in my car to show me all the bars that were hawk-friendly since he had a long drive ahead of him back to his home in Bremerton, Washington.
A few darkly-lit bars declined our offer of repeatedly-flashing strobe lighting, so we took the show outside and let Neil do his thing.
I bid him adieu and prepped for my meeting with the most enigmatic superfan of the bunch, Mr. Mohawk.
After a couple of false starts, I met Phil Andruss at his girlfriend's home on Queen Anne Hill.
The only portrait subject ever to help get all my gear into a location, Phil waxed philosophic for a three hour period about the advantages of being gifted with good hair and height.
The only disadvantage seemed to be when his 6 foot, 5 inch frame contorts through doorways to accommodate the new, footlong spikes atop his head.
An absolute dream assignment, I'd like to thank James Ross Gardner, Matt Halverson and Jane Sherman of Seattle Met for the opportunity to show the culture of 12th Man through my lens.
For all the long days and nights, I extend my deepest gratitude to the crew of Gretchen Hilmers, Brian Jones, Nicolas Carle, Oliver Ludlow and Easton Richmond.
Stay tuned to the blog as I continue to highlight other 2014 projects for Esquire, Lucky Peach and Scientific American.
I'm off to Portland for a shoot tomorrow but managed to get my books bound and ready for a couple meetings, too.
2014 has been busy on both the personal and professional fronts, and I look forward to sharing more from some of the projects that's made this a great year.
For now, enjoy this picture of my daughter Tala at our favorite haunt, Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, on the day she finally got the pink gumball from the machine.
Logs on the fire, boys. I'm settling in for a chill weekend.
Stay tuned for part 2 of my Seahawks Superfan odyssey along with news on my first big national ad campaign dropping for Marriott next week.
I've been prepping other posts this week, but it doesn't feel right without first acknowledging the great weight I, along with countless others, feel around this time of the year.
I visited the World Trade Center Memorial some months ago when in New York, and I let that grey day wash over me again.
Recently, my daughter asked me which tree was tallest while out on a walk in the forest.
It went on for awhile, but now, upon reflection, I feel it is a conversation best left to the trees.
I had the distinct honor of photographing Jermaine Kearse, wide receiver for the NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks, for the cover of Seattle Met Magazine.
Out now on newsstands, the shoot took place at the Seahawks famed VMAC, an impressive practice facility that's also home to the organization's administrative offices. . . oh, and the Vince Lombardi trophy!
As I made my way out the door from a technical scout the day before my shoot on July 29th, a nice video crew from ESPN had just wrapped some behind-the-scenes footage with the prized trophy.
As my eyes adjusted to the beautiful shimmering before me, my point person from the Hawks said, "Mike, you want to take some snaps, right?!"
*Note: I'd like to thank the anonymous dude that had the presence of mind to capture my absolute befuddlement with just how wild a ride 2014 has been thus far (bonus points that he had not a clue on how to focus my camera).
In addition to the technical set we were building for Jermaine on the indoor practice field for the cover component of the project, the feature demanded we shoot a bit of reportage, too.
With that in mind, I set about crafting one of my trademark doodles to visually depict the production from a bird's-eye view to better direct the assistants and production associates I was teaming up with on this project.
Once the lighting design was set, my three-man team and I made our way to the outdoor field to capture the lore of the The 12th Man during the unprecedented all-access media event / training camp the Seahawks hosted on that now magical day back in July.
Stay tuned for an accompanying blog post that dissects my near two-week odyssey shooting the spirit of the 12th Man, Cannonball and the rest of the team's legion of Superfans.
My continued thanks to Jane, James, Matt and the rest of the good folks at Seattle Met for a killer assignment!
It acts as a front page of influences and clinic into my personal vision and artistic style. As I continue adapting and growing in all of the many-faceted dimensions that make up my character, I feel the very real need in having an index that charts this flux.
Higher symmetries, balance and form. New eyes.
This is the Snapchat Ghost taking a Selfie concept for Adweek's annual Mobile issue which is currently in print.
A particularly fun one, it was conceived, shot and delivered in the space of about 60 hours.
For the cover, they were looking for something that featured a smartphone but blended communication with mobile with social with apps really well.
Instagram, Whisper and Snapchat were among the apps featured in the story, but I locked in on the Snapchat Ghost character as a good everyman figure.
Tuesday night doodling and Wednesday afternoon approvals yielded late night studio sessions that me shooting until about 1am, Thursday.
Adweek's Creative Director, Nick Mrozowski, had recommended shooting a photo-illustration for the app, Whisper, so I made him this quick comp.
Thought the portraits were nice.
Thanks to my Seattle crew, the folks at Adweek, and one of several right arms, Gretchen Hilmers, who helps me get these concepts and visions out the door.
In May of last year, I photographed Brendan and business partner, Michael Blue, for (you guessed it) Financial Times. Really loved what I got with them the first time, see it here on my website.
Shot the same day as the call, I had little time to prep. While a couple of battery packs charged in a vacant office, I focused on these little exchanges they'd make at each other like they were about to steal home plate.
It felt like a special kind of magic happened in the hour spent with those guys. Lit less dramatically than other business or finance projects, the approach was a welcome change of pace.
Flash forward to this, my first shoot in 2014, about ten days ago: thirty minutes of prep and thirty minutes to shoot.
The Leafly office had since swelled to accommodate more than forty employees, maybe more.
The parking lot that once held about tens cars less than a year ago, now had more than twenty-five of them all perfectly Tetris'ed into every bit of available parking area.
Brendan and his colleagues are at the forefront of a brave new world, so I felt it only fitting that he share his vision of the United States in ten years.
Don't want to give it all away but just expect most states to look some shade of green.
Here we are, shooting at the ceiling.
We got light-headed, so we sat down.
We said our AÅBC's.
Before heading outside, I let him sit down for a quick word with a colleague..
I took about eight shots of him there, and they went with the one above (or rather the one on their website).
Pulled him outside for this one, too:
Quote from my wife:
". . .it looks like the kind of portrait I'd put on a new kind of money."
Hmm. Stay tuned,
bron·fer·ence (brnfr-ns, -frns) [sorry, the upside down things don't translate well]
1. The meeting of two or men (or 'bros') in which the sole purpose lies in the mutual desire to share ideas and discuss topics, i.e. conference.
2. One man (bro) having a conversation with another party of the same gender, in this case another man (bro).
3. If currently engaged in a 'bronference,' it's having a conversation about bringing another man (bro) in to lend input or consult on the current topic being presently discussed within said 'bronference.'
4. At least two creative men (bros) conferencing.
I've been kicking around the idea of doing this photo project with some friends, and this would be the name of it.
A still-life photographer, portrait photographer, tableau art photographer, and reportage photographer all coming together to explore a common theme, like the Higgs Boson particle or broad idea like "vision."
It may or may not grow legs in 2014, but if it does, I'll be sure to tell you about it.
Couple months back, I had the good fortune to photograph Seattle's favorite political reporter, C.R. Douglas, for Seattle Met magazine.
In the article, he talks about having cultivated a knack for Q & A at 12 years old when he started interviewing fellow castmates on a popular TV series that ran during the 80's.
After working his way up the public access circuit, he landed the position at Q13 Fox News as the station's lead political reporter.
Clearly, he's got a knack for putting most any guest at ease, and as I read his interview, I liked the idea of exploring how C.R. is a Pacific Northwestern'er through and through.
Seeing as how he never got to the opportunity to cover a state 4-H competition in say Fargo, North Dakota, we thought it a fun idea to give him a taste of what it might've been like working one's way up the 'local affiliate' circuit.
With sparse results coming back for 'miniature horse farm Seattle,' I found myself in internet chat rooms that sent me to places like this: HOOFWEB.COM
Here's another favorite. . . GOTDONKEYS.COM
Was getting this 'dark underbelly' vibe there for a bit until I found Tracy of Flyin' G Farms who was willing to help.
Of the three miniature horses made available to us, C.R. and Chloe and just hit it off.
Like. . . really hit it off.
Thanks again to the folks at Seattle Met, Flyin' G Farms and to C.R. for being such a great portrait subject!
Anytime you get over 3,000 website visits on a Sunday, your head kind of spins.
That happened to be the case for me on December 22nd, when I found to be getting an insane amount of traffic from Reddit.
I thought some compromising photograph from my art school days had surfaced.
That or some brilliant, 11 year-old hacker had found a way to overlay sexually-suggestive cartoon appendages on every one of my images.
When I found that the culprit was none other than, Hilda Evelyn Kottman, I absolutely had to see what antics she'd gotten into this time.
She took my direction like an absolute pro, and as thanks, I photographed the heroic image below in front of the impressive pickling operation she'd devised in her two-car garage.
Seems this time around, Evelyn's grandson, Adam, helped to make her 103rd birthday one for the record books.
Her big day included a little gambling, an all-you-can-eat lobster dinner, and for dessert, TATTOOS!!
Labeled the BAMF (Bad Ass Mother Figure), she's quickly grown to become the Internet's Grandma.
I know the story's not over, too! Excited to see what she gets up to in the coming months. No doubt her 104th birthday party is going to be off the chain.
Love you, Evelyn!
We've worked all the final kinks out on the business plan moving into 2014.
Spoke at the Society of Photographic Educator's Conference in Seattle last week. These were two of the souls brave enough to come out and listen to me expound on theories of representation, death of god theology and Nietzsche.
I talked about photography, too.
Doodle sesh in full effect for first project in the new Brooklyn studio.
Been a busy last couple months, high time for some updates. Stay tuned for a few posts highlighting recent news and the like.
More always, Mike
Just updated the website with photographic stills from the video project where I play 3 different father characters throughout space and time.
The image above might perhaps be the best photographic representation of what lies on the horizon with regard to that.
Beyond that, I've been using every bit of my spare time to mess up how my website shows horizontal images.
If you find yourself with a horizontal image (like below), but it happens to be too wide for your browser window, click on it and get full browser window experience.
In closing, this is a rad shower curtain from a miniature horse farm I happened to be shooting at a couple days ago.
Yours in the war,