Friday, 11 May 2012

Michael Lichter Interview

I contacted Michael via email as he resides in America and he was happy to answer my questions, despite being incredibly busy! I found his answers to be similar to my own feelings to photography in that I find that the only way to become a better photographer is by applying the techniques you learn to all areas of your work. There are many things I have learnt from using my favourite medium of film that I have applied to the way I work with digital - the careful consideration of what you photograph so you don't waste a shot and getting the exposure right, picturing things in black and white. Also the answer to the first question I asked is similar to how I got into photography.

1. Why were you drawn to photography as a career?
I accepted photography as a career after I unintentionally started getting some work in photography, and it seemed more promising than the other work I was doing at the time. 

2. Looking through your work I noticed that you do mostly colour images, is there a reason for that?
I have shot mostly color since going digital in 2001. I do consciously set the camera to shoot in BW on occasion, but even then, all of the color data is kept within the file (shooting RAW) and in most programs then opens as a color image. 

3. You obviously travel frequently with your work and have a broad range of clients, what skills do you think are required for the type of work you do?
Being self-taught in photography, I have had to develop my skill set on my own, including for studio work. I believe my skills in the studio have helped me become a better location photographer, and the skills used on location have helped me become a better studio photographer. Understanding how to manipulate artificial light will help understand what can be done with natural light, so this should help any photographer. Of course, computer skills are essential for any photographer. In my case, as a late comer, I make up for my short-comings with my studio staff. 

4. Do you work with digital or film?
All digital now. 

5. If you weren't a photographer, what would you be doing instead?
I wanted to be an architect as a child but that would require years of retraining at this point. I love working with my hands and can imagine my self doing woodwork that I also did as a child. Perhaps I would go back to music, but I left it for photography because I was better as a photographer. Frankly, I can't imagine doing anything else. Even if I couldn't do the work I do now, I would find some aspect of photography I could do, even if that meant teaching. 

6. As I said in my previous email I hope to photograph the Sturgis Rally, do you have any tips on how to go about getting involved with that?  
The only way to get involved photographing the Sturgis Rally is to go there and start shooting. 

7. Other than motorbikes, what else do you photograph?
I photograph computers for Oracle Computers, flow meters, medical products, corporate portraits...  I used to shoot much more of these subjects but with time, I have focused down.  

8. And finally, what advice would you give to a student photographer?
Get out there and shoot as much as you can.  Looking, edit and critique your own work as much as possible, and then get out there and shoot some more. 
Lost in the hills, a splinter group with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler pulls over during the Legends Ride through the Black Hills to the Buffalo Chip during the annual Sturgis Black Hills Motorcycle Rally. SD, USA. August 3, 2009.
All photographs are copyrighted © by Michael Lichter/Michael Lichter Photography, LLC. & are protected by U.S. Copyright Law. All rights reserved.

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