"In the Isolation series, I intend to present objects and places without the dynamics of their environment.
What happens to such object or place when we place it in a state of isolation that forces us to focus solely on the object without any context of its surroundings. There is no sky, no background, just the object or place.
While the black backdrop may suggest an image made at night, the light qualities will show otherwise. By isolating the object, it stays in a constant state without change."
We spoke to Michael about the series of work, and wanted to know a bit more about his influences and career path. Keep scrolling to see full series and interview.
Has there been any photographers or artists that have had an influence on your photographic style? What is it about their work that interests you the most?
MS: There are of course several influences in my work. Most dominantly of the work I make today is the Duesseldorf School of Photography (e.g., Bernd & Hilla Becher, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff), as well as the photographers who introduced the New Topographics movement (e.g., Stephen Shore, Lewis Baltz, Frank Gohlke, and others).
I seem to gravitate to the more objective observation of place rather than trying to imply some sense of emotion, which is exactly what has been manifested by the Bechers when they founded the Duesseldorf School.
I also tend to look a lot at other artists outside of photography to learn about their thinking and process of approaching their work for example painters like Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefe.
What’s your favourite, and least favourite, thing about the medium of photography?
MS: My end goal for every image is a print on the wall. In that sense, my favourite moment is when that print is on the wall here in the studio and it looks exactly as I envisioned it. My least favourite definitely has to be when I mess up some film in development.
How has your photography developed since you started?
MS: I started to make photograph in earnest in the early 90s. Since then, I worked in a rather wide range of subjects but seem to have come full circle from where I started with an excursion to portraiture and fashion for magazines and advertising. Given this timeline, I had a lot of opportunities to make tons of mistakes and learn from them.
Today my motivation to make work is to explore questions and ideas and use photography as a medium to do so. In the last few years, I did diverge a bit from ‘pure’ photography to digital art making collages out of images to create my own worlds and meanings. I’m still in the process of coming to terms whether to call the final pieces photographs or just images and how or if the process itself even matters when the final result for me always is the print.
Have you reached any milestones in your career / work that you are proud of?
MS: Yes, there are quite a few. Working with large national and international magazines on assignments certainly would be one, having my first solo exhibition another. But there’s always something else to strive for.
What are the key things you have learnt over the years of being a creative / photographer?
MS: Always keep making new work. Creativity is a habit that can be formed. The other important thing is not to compare oneself to others, which is a general principle in life but even more so in art.
A piece of career / creative advice that you have been told or that you live by?
MS: Do what you want to do, not what others think you should be doing
Have you got any plans for the future?
MS: I tend to have way more ideals for projects than there will ever be time in my life to finish them all. I'm currently in the research phase for a new larger project while still working on three other series.