Photographer Spotlight – Michael Blank
Hi Michael, tell us where you're from and how you got into photography.
My parents had me in New York while they were working on Broadway, but they took me to California where I grew up and where I live now. I became fascinated with movies, and I began pursuing still photography due to my studies of the origins of cinematography. I remember starting out with disposable cameras and anything else I could get my hands on. I can only imagine what people thought when I asked them to be the subject of my photo shoot, and I showed up looking like the most amateur photographer ever!
How would you describe your work?
Realism…Minimalism… I like documentary and lifestyle, real and unplanned. I always half-joke with models that if they pose I’m-a-get mad! I like to hangout and capture the moment so people can feel the same feeling that I felt while I was taking the picture. If I’m capturing beauty, I like to emphasize the uniqueness of the individual.
What is typically in your camera bag?
I like the Canon 5D and 7D because of their video options. I also like mixing formats. I still use disposable cameras when I can. A lot of photographers hate on smart phone cameras and programs like Instagram, but I say we should embrace those bitches. We like movies and photos because we are able to create our own realities with them. I think Instagram is so popular because of how affective it is with continuing those traditions. Slap one of those preset filters on your pictures from Coachella then BAM you’ve got this 1960’s hippie aesthetic going on.
Do you prefer digital or film?
I like using both for different things, but you just can’t beat that organic film texture. I find myself editing a lot of my digitals to mimic that film look. I can’t help it!
Who are some of your influences in photography?
Lina Scheynius, David Bellemere, Nirrimi Hakanson, Ren Rox. I find myself inspired by a lot of female photographers. I enjoy being a guy and everything, but sometimes I get jealous of the dynamic between a female photographer and her female subjects.
I also like to see pictures by people who are not trying to be photographers. They are the true Documentarians. They inspire me to forget everything I’ve learned and to truly be in the moment… and yeah they probably use Instagram.
Who is one photographer you would suggest our viewers check out?
I recently became friends with an amazing photographer from Indonesia named Sisilia Piring. www.idontdodigital.com
What would be a dream shoot for you?
I would love to be on set of films like Boogie Nights (P.T. Anderson) or Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino) and just shoot behind the scenes and meet people.
Is there a shoot that has stuck out more than the others?
I remember meeting a certain model on a hike to a waterfall. I’m not going to give out any names, but we ended up having an impromptu shoot involving my friend scaling the rocks of the waterfall behind her, wearing nothing but the hunting knife between his teeth! Another crazy experience was being chased down by a police chopper just for shooting on the roof of some old Hollywood building without a permit.
What do you have planned for the near future? Any projects?
There is a short film called Revolve that is being finalized as we speak. A good friend of mine wrote/directed/and starred in it. I’ve been helping out with this film for a while now and I can’t wait to see how it comes out.
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