50 States – New Hampshire with Michael Winters
Michael Winters – “I’ve also found inspiration in the forests and the rocky shorelines of New Hampshire.”
This week Creative Chair is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where we’re talking to photographer Michael Winters.
Michael collaborates with his makeup and fashion contacts and has produced a series of projects with demonstrate a clear passion for his craft.
We caught up with him to find out more for the 27th instalment of our 50 States series.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do
Photography started as a hobby a little over ten years ago, and I came to it (or it came to me) relatively late in life, in my mid 40’s. It has filled a creative void in my life that my “real job “ (as a high school counsellor) just can’t.
I didn’t go to art school, and I’ve never taken a photography class… it’s the classic “self-taught” scenario and to be honest I still feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing most of the time, but I do know if feels good.
The last five years or so I’ve been finding that the process is much more satisfying than the final product in part because I have a number of really talented friends (seamstresses, vintage clothing dealers, hairdressers and make-up artists) who love to get together and collaborate on projects as a purely creative endeavour.
There is something supremely satisfying working on a project with talented folks when no money is involved. Everybody gets to experiment and hone their craft
In short, it’s a pursuit that provides me with a great deal of joy and personal satisfaction to the extent that if I don’t shoot for an extended period of time, I feel a tangible void, one that’s almost physical in nature.
It’s weird but true. I always tell people I do photography because it’s fun. It’s pretty much that simple.
How has your state influenced the work that you do?
That’s a good question; I’ve never really thought about it! There is something about the beautifully gloomy winter months that appeal to me visually (I’ve never been much of a sun worshipper). I’ve also found inspiration in the forests and the rocky shorelines of New Hampshire and southern Maine.
There is a great variation of scenery here throughout the seasons, so it’s rarely a struggle to come up with a new concept or location. The winter is also a useful time to dive into shooting in studio…because let’s face it…no one wants to be outside when the wind chill is 20 below zero.
If I were strictly a landscape photographer, I think my answer would probably be a little different.
Of your own work, what is your favourite project and why?
Good lord…I don’t know if I have one. In a way, they’re all favorites simply because of the individual circumstances under which they were created. In another way, I hate them all because I always find myself second guessing what I did or didn’t do…. I won’t totally cop out on your question though!
I do like “It’s a Gas”, which happened at the end of an entirely different shoot after I remembered I had a gas mask in my car….don’t ask….
It was one of those weird unplanned things that just happened, and it was a lot of fun.
And finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?
“Ladies and Gentleman we are Floating in Space” by Spiritualized ( best listened to with a good pair of headphones)
New Hampshire Trivia
- Became the 9th State on June 21, 1788
- Declared independence six months before the official declaration was signed
- In 1828 it saw the first women’s strike in the United States
Michael Winters is the 114th winner of the Creative Chair 366 Awards.