I really admire those people that are able to see mundane things and turn it into something more. It’s really fresh and inspiring. That’s how I felt when I saw Michael Muller’s photoblog, Threading In The Choirs. I can’t help but feel calm every time I look at his photos and that it is also whispering to me “hey don’t just look at the big picture but also pay attention to the small details.” Funny that just made me remember a quote that I’ve read from a manga about a samurai on a quest to be the best swordsman. A monk had told him that if you pay too much attention to the forest, you will have missed the individual leaves and branches.
Try this. While looking through Michael’s photos go and listen to his music on his band’s myspace page. Really add a whole new dimension to his photos. Oh and make sure to buy their CDs!
Q. Can you tell me what you’re trying to capture when you take your food or non-food photos?
A. Usually I like trying to see the photo my eye/mind interprets and then try to reinterpret that with the camera. The first thing I play off of is the existing light. Beyond that, the composition of the photo is next important. I always like to frame the subject with a certain degree of negative space surrounding it. Sometimes the stars align and things look pretty close to how my eye initially perceived it, but most times not.
Q. I get a very calm feeling every time I look at your photos. How do you see your photos?
A. Diffused and/or refracted light always tends to cast such a slowness over the frontier of a photo. On cloud-covered days when the light is as such, I take more photos than usual. But essentially, each photo represents a sliver of memory from that time for me. It’s a really nice feeling to look back on a photo and feel the details of a room or a meal slowly crisp into focus.
Q. This photo is a great example of why I love your photos. What made you stop and think ah I’m going to take a photo of a bag? To a lot of people taking photos of someone’s bag isn’t very interesting but somehow your photo makes it very interesting and beautiful.
A. This image is a photo of my girlfriend I snapped (unbeknownst to her) while we were visiting the Brooklyn Flea Market. I loved the contrast in color from her shirt to her bag and the light was sort of flickering through some tall trees at the edge of the park.
Q. Do you find any similarities when writing songs and taking photos like do you use the same creative process or maybe trying to achieve the same end results?
A. I feel like music comes more from the subconscious and photographs are more of a documenting process or something you happen upon. Granted, a lot of times the photographs become art and sometimes I take a photo purely for artistic merit, but music has the uncanny ability to form itself from mystery and shadow like nothing else.
Q. What inspires your work (photos…music..)?
A. My surrounding landscape is a constant inspiration. Seasons and weather patterns therein also play a continuous role. Moreover, certain imagery and emotions unfurl themselves in dark, wintery days, whereas the inverse can be true on stark-bright beaches in August. Overall, I feel it is impossible to truly source the gamut of reactive creation we make as humans. Everything goes in and what we make come out is where the unique artistry appears. No one is truly making anything new; only a reinterpretation and a manipulation in the angles of approach.
Q. Any food photography heroes? If not any photography heroes?
A. I don’t really have any specific food photo heroes, but I always love the candid warmth and softness to Brian Ferry’s shots of table settings or remnants of meals eaten. In general photography, some of my favorites range from architectural to niche portraiture. Chris Strong and Nicholas McElroy are favorites, as well as some of my friends Megan Carney, Travis Klunick and Nathan Williams, who are also highly inspirational.
Q. Best meal so far in 2010?
A. Maiya’s in Marfa, TX: Tartlettes (Free-form flaky pastry with caramelized fennel and onions, field greens & vinaigrette), Arugula Salad (Fresh figs, goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, fig balsamic vinaigrette) and North Atlantic Salmon (Beurre blanc, lentils, grilled Portabella mushrooms).
& a close second:
Justine’s in Austin, TX: Soupe des Ardines (Potato leek soup with endives and homemade croutons), Endive Poire Roquefort Salade (Belgian endive salad with pear, roquefort and walnuts) and Coquilles St. Jaques Grille (Scallops grilled with lardon served on frisee).