About - Michael Baldwin

Photographic Mission Statement

Why I make photos

As a kid, did you ever feel like you were the only “real” human, and everyone else was an alien or robot in disguise? This feeling of you being different from everyone around you relates a lot to photography, and how I felt when I first started making art.

The younger version of me made photographs because I felt like I saw the world differently than anyone else. We all have different thoughts, preferences, and perspectives. Photography is the great equalizer. If I work hard enough, I can show somebody how I see something, which is very different from how they’ve ever seen it before.

Now that I’m older, I’ve seen myself in many different phases of my life recalling exact emotions as I look at past photos. I’ve seen photos bring out people’s emotions. I realize that making photographs, then sharing them, helps share in what being human means.

To make that long story short, I make photos to share in my experience of being human with others.

Subject Matter

I make portraits of me and others, as well as documentary style photographs of everyday life. The goal is always to capture emotion and tell brief stories. I love self-portraiture and portraiture to help capture this with people. There is also a challenge in just documenting everyday life. This is found in dirty shoes having just mowed the lawn, my cat laying in a sunbeam on a lazy afternoon, or a gas station bathroom with cracks on the walls from years of neglect.

NYC Plaque

What inspires me

Inspiration to create art comes from many sources, and it’s difficult to pinpoint with some exactness. Like a lake, fed from many rivers, I owe many sources a thank you for inspiration. My parents were never artistic in nature, but I was always encouraged to create. When I told my father I wanted to major in photography, he told me that even if I was a bum, I’d be his bum on the side of the road. This always makes me laugh to think about. Their acceptance inspired and encouraged me to study hard. My art teacher in middle school, Mrs. Taylor, taught me about art and why it’s wonderful. She never gave any person in class a “100” because with art, there is always room for improvement. After her, my photography teacher in college, Cathy Griffin, really showed me what being a photographer means. It was more than just something you do. It’s what you were. One of her last days of class she told us, “You’ll never be the same. If you don’t produce and show work, you’re gonna need medication.” She’s right, it’s addicting and it’s therapeutic. Today I look a lot at the writings of Eric Kim for philosophy of photography. One of my favorite portrait photographers is Ryan Pfluger.

Other inspirations I draw from are light and reflection (inner reflection included). Nothing moves me to my camera like good light.

Karl and Andy

Personal Photography Goals

Think and examine before making a photograph.

Tell a story or share an emotion or perspective.

Making bad art is better than not making any art.

Shoot well, edit lightly.

Day 34/ 365 Self Portait (2015-16)
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