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Mike McCloskey

What got you interested in photography?

I found my father's Kodak camera when I was a little boy, but he wouldn't let me play with it. He surprised me on my next birthday with my first Brownie camera. I used that camera for years and burned up a lot of film and flashbulbs. 

What did you photograph?

With that simple camera, my choices were limited to friends, family, dogs and cats. By the time I went away to college, I had saved enough money to buy a professional 35mm film camera that I used primarily on the fantastic landscapes of the Southwest. As a geology major, that camera took great pictures of rocks...lots and lots of rocks!

What happened after your "rock" phase?

When I graduated from college, the Vietnam War was raging and my next adventure was a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy. Unfortunately, that camera broke while on board ship and I replaced it with a Polaroid. My photography was that of a tourist taking photos in the many foreign ports that I was fortunate to visit. Upon return to the U.S., my work and family life took precedence over my interest in photography. 

What brought photography back into your life?

Like many others in reaching mid-life, I decided to change careers. As a hobby, I developed my skills as an artisan woodworker. I eventually followed my dream of woodworking full time. The new business required advertising and promotional materials, so I invested in modern camera equipment and became a one-man advertising department. 

How did this lead you to becoming a full-time photographer?

After 20 years of the art and craft of woodworking, I found that finishing a project led to the greater joy of photographing it. I liked the challenge of creating a properly-lit studio scene of an object of beautiful wood and finishes. I was able to walk away from full-time woodworking to pursue all types of photography. Life has allowed me the freedom to photograph beautiful things every day. The more photos I take, the more passionate I become about my craft.

What inspires you?

The creative process for photographers is fantastic! Today we have digital cameras, digital photo processing, and the ability to create beautiful images that photographers of the past only dreamed about. From start to finish, it is very important to make a great photo in camera and then take that image into post processing to add drama, life, and vibrance to make the photo pop. 

What are some of your favorite projects?

My favorite photos always involve people. I love to see the reactions of people whether they were the subjects of the photograph or someone viewing the finished image for the first time. One of my most memorable experiences was creating engagement pictures of my step-daughter and her fiance. I am very proud that they chose to use the images on their Save the Date cards and wedding website. I also had the opportunity to create a brochure that included all faculty and staff of a local college. Recently, I've learned that grandchild photography can be very challenging yet incredibly rewarding when that one special image emerges from the previous one hundred failed shots. And then there's New York. I wish I had time to tell you about New York...