Mike’s been a visual artist, using different mediums, most of his life. Every artist has their unique style and lens into their calling. Be it painting, sculpture, or photography, (any medium) there is something about it that calls us to explore and experiment further. This is how Mike explored photography. First, the “old school” way of shaking little canister’s of film, then working the trays. Now, digitally capturing the life around us. He grumbled about “technology” not having the same feel or smell that comes with working with film (which has a distinct lure). Yet, when he embraced it as a challenge, he learned the benefits. His early years also involved lining up little letters made of lead, into a jig, in graphic arts. The only thing electronic about it was hitting a switch and working with the color tones by eye and loop as the sheets stacked.
Technology made it possible to instantly communicate with another, anywhere on the earth. With that came the ability to visually see, and appreciate, some of the greatest Arts created throughout history, without traveling. From a laptop in a small café to a desktop set-up on a kitchen table, everything became only one “click” away.
This is what he found to be the most fascinating. Always enjoying his interests but rarely sharing it. Too busy appreciating other artist’s work. His wife, Bobbi, encouraged him to take a chance and explore further into it.
Bobbi never steered him wrong in the past. Mike has Aspergers and these challenges drove the horses for a lot of years. After a long and rocky road the right help and treatments literally changed his life. It didn’t make the challenges disappear but learning the right triggers and coping skills opened a new world.
Mike’s work been seen across the world. On television, print, and even in the hands of the president of the United States. This brought world attention through the AP, CNN, and front-page newspaper coverage across the state. The attention wasn’t first focused on his photography, (though later it was), but on his writing of a letter sharing a simple story. Mike enjoys videography and millions have unknowingly seen his work in this medium, using a media blog with Time-Warner’s CNN. His work has appeared on the BBC in addition to “The Weather Channel”. He's helped bring national attention to the small town (Wausau, WI) the family calls home.
The attention shared a survival story with the world. Mike didn’t use it to promote his “agenda”; he used the platform to help others believe in their dreams. What does a person do with their “15-minutes” defines the person. He didn’t concern himself with being “discovered”, he loved what he did with the camera because it answered a calling inside. For Mike it became more than a picture. It became a form of communication, something some people challenged with Aspergers wrestle with. Not all, every one is different, but for him it was.
Mike challenges himself to take at least 250 photos each day. The right subjects are around us. It can be a casual walk in the park or up high in the sky. Out of all these shots maybe, at the most, three or four are saved. You don't have to be successful financially to be an artist, you just have to try and explore what you love.
Also, feel free to connect with us on Twitter @TheSixthLens. To view Mike's work at CNN please visit attached link. Most of all...keep that shutter clicking and keep it simple. http://ireport.cnn.com/people/WausauFamily
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