US based photographer – Michael Virts

When did you first get into photography? Was it something you have always wanted to do?

When I was in the 5th grade in the late 70’s my Grandparents went to Poland; upon their return, my Grandmother gave my brother and me “toy” plastic cameras made in Poland. 35mm film cameras, cheap plastic, but they worked and worked fairly well, with no light leaks or anything. So that was the start. Fast forward 10 years, and I was doing life drawings that required more time to do, so I began photographing the models in the pose instead of having them sit for 10+ hours. It all kind of snowballed from there, especially once I purchased my first digital camera back in ’98; I think it was. A Fuji Finepix 1.7 megapixel pocket camera. I never looked back after that; it was on!

Starting all over again today, what would you do differently?

Take it more seriously, much sooner than 20 years of age.

Copyright –

How would you describe your photographic style to someone who has not seen your work?

Fine art storyteller. I love to craft an image from a mere idea into a fully realised photograph that, hopefully, get’s the viewer involved in a quasi internal conversation about what they see and what they think is going on.

Where do you find your inspiration for your photos?

All around me. I view hundreds of other artists’ work almost every day, constantly saving ideas, be it the way a certain object or subject was lit and how I can use that in an image of my own. Things of that nature. Can be photographs, something in a movie, or something witnessed live in front of me as life happens around us. The world is my inspiration, I am fascinated by all of it.

Apart from your camera, what valuable piece of photographic equipment could you not live without?

No such object exists for me, a camera is all you need to be a photographer. It is merely a tool I use to put into a visual format something I see in my head that screams out to be shared with others.

If you could invent a piece of photographic equipment that would make your life easier, what would it be?

Good question, odd answer. I’d want a tether from my brain to a computer to record exactly what I see in my head and put it to print.

What was the most challenging part of photography you found to master?

Criticism of my peers. Early on it’s always hard to be judged, sometimes very harshly, but it does get easier to hear if you allow yourself to learn from what others see in your art.

In your opinion, what makes a good photograph? How do you decide when something you create meets or exceeds your expectations?

I believe a good photograph moves the viewer to take a stand, one way or the other about its merit. They like it or they don’t. No wishy-washy bullshit without an actual reason as to why, if there is no reason why they like or don’t like it they aren’t being genuine. Everything in your life has a prescribed response, either yours or a learned one. I prefer to hear a viewer’s honest thoughts that they themselves came up with as opposed to thoughts someone else came up with. Feel something on your own, don’t borrow.
As for the second part, nothing I create ever truly meets my expectations so I am constantly on the move to create. Once you reach a goal, you are at the end and I never want to get there.

Do social media sites restrict content creators or make them more creative in finding different ways to express themselves?

You can’t force creativity by placing it in a box and not allowing it to venture forth. Most [like… all] social media platforms do their best to make some very small percent of the viewers feel good at the expense of the creative force behind it all. Show this, but don’t show that, etc. The implications of this form of censorship, and it certainly is, stifles the creative mind and no longer allows people to have emotions about what they see as it is all now Vanilla. Blah!

Do you have any goals that you want to achieve in the next 3 years?

I strive to be better than today, tomorrow, and every day, which pretty much sums up my future. Be better tomorrow.

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