I think my adventure with photography started when I was about five, when I dropped our family camera in the backyard kiddy pool. It would set a precedent on how hard I can be on photo equipment.
I have always been interested in art. My passion for photography was ignited in my junior year of high school when I took my first black and white photography class with my best friend. We learned how to develop our own 35mm black and white film. My first successful image was an accidental double exposure of a sunflower and some rocks. Two years later, I was a leader in the NAHS art club at my high school and had won two Gold Keys, and national acceptance of my photography portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
I studied Journalism at Oakland University, following my talents in writing on a career path that I thought my photography background might assist me in. It did. After a life changing internship as a photojournalist for the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, I was hired as a photographer for the Spinal Column Newsweekly in 2003, and I still had three weeks of college left.
As the only photographer at the Spinal Column, I rolled, shot, process, and printed my own photos on 35mm black and white film until switching to Canon Digital in 2005. Then, one morning in 2006, I walked in the office to find a video camera on my desk, and since then I have also shot, edited, and processed video news stories, and sports webisodes for spinalcolumnonline.com. My photos were published every Wednesday in the Spinal Column Newsweekly from June of 2003 to December of 2012. I have photographed all over Oakland County, Michigan and beyond. I cover local news events, features, and sports for the Spinal Column newsweekly and its sister publications Oakland Lakefront. I have also had my work published in the former Paper for Birmingham and Bloomfield, and Preferred Oakland Homes. On assignment for the Spinal Column I photographed everything from the North American International Auto Show, to up in a hot air balloon, a Native American Pow-Wow, and a campaign rally for a major presidential candidate in 2012. For the Birmingham Paper, I photographed celebrities such as author Elmore Leonard, Red Wing player Chris Chelios, Olympic Figure Skater Jeremy Abott, and many other local celebrities.
In 2012 I began expanding my fine art photography with photos exhibited it, in the Livonia Fine Arts Commission Annual Exhibit, and Milford Village Fine Arts Association Views and Visions Show. In 2013 my photograph “Superior Waters,” printed on aluminum, was exhibited at the Anton Art Center as part of the Michigan Annual XL exhibit juried by Yao Fen You of the DIA. I have continued exhibiting throughout Michigan since beginning in 2012, and was an artist in Art Prize 2014 in Grand Rapids.
In February of 2013 I held my first solo gallery showing of natural landscape photos from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at the Huron Valley Council for the Arts. This show titled “Present Exposure” focuses on the theme of healing through nature, art, and presence of mind.
You can view all of my exhibits in my curriculum vitae.
The purpose of this blog is to showcase my personal artistic expression. The idea for this blog came to me when I was looking through old photo CDs and realized that probably no one but me had seen most of what was in my collection. So I have intended to create a space to feature some of my work. I also plan to keep updates of the types of projects I am working on, and maybe then to work out issues or problems I might be having along the way.
My personal philosophy of photography is that I prefer to be behind the camera. I am not a huge fan of hours and hours of post processing on the computer. While I do appreciate and understand its value, most of my photos tend to have minimal post editing. I do, very much so, miss the traditional darkroom. I miss the sound of the water running, the darkness, and the keen concentration I could muster as I worked alone to create the perfect print, with just me and the radio.
What I love to photograph are landscapes, both nature and urban. I love events, such as festivals and art fairs. I also love to photograph dancers. My strengths as a photographer, I believe, are in my eye for composition. I also believe that sports photography is one of my strengths, as I once was an athlete, and have a natural sense of the rhythm in a game.
Follow Me on Instagram @Monaamy