Child and family image artisan specializing in captivating custom portraiture. Based in Franklin, TN.
"Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child's eye—it is very beautiful." (Kailash Satyarthi)
GIFTS, HOBBIES, and HAPPY PLACES
It all first began with some curious parents approaching me with a question: "Mike, my child seems to spend all their time at this one place, doing this one thing, and I just love how invested they are in this. Is there any way you might be able to work some magic and somehow capture them doing what they love, in this space they love to do it?"
Well, of course! Let's try it!
And soon, what first began as a few small experiments, grew quickly into a wide range of images centered around the unique gifts, hobbies, and happy places that each new parent would notice sparking life and energy in their own children.
It's true, isn't it? Each one of them has a story still unfolding, and often special places they spend their time in working that story out. It's where they go to lose themselves, find themselves, and come into their own. It could be somewhere specific (like at their piano), or perhaps a general area like a park, or lost somewhere in the woods doing what they love. It's where the magic happens—first in their hearts, and then through my lens. And it's where youth is explored in all its wonder and glory, and life is measured not by money, power, or even forward progress...but by joy, inspiration, and imagination.
It's these spaces that we celebrate together with them, how they spend their time there, and with whoever tags along, as I enter into their world and bring back pictures of what I find.
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." (William Shakespeare)
"Mike is the KID WHISPERER!" -Stephanie M.
MR. MIKE AND HIS FLASHING LIGHTS
I'm not quite sure how it happened, but somewhere along the way I became surrounded by little people who call me "Mr. Mike" all the time. You see, I've also been a piano teacher for many years now, and when I'm not out photographing children and teens, often enough I've been trapped in some confined space with them trying to claw my way out and survive the torture of music lessons and save my sanity and...wait...just kidding! :)
As you can likely tell, I enjoy being silly and trying to inspire fun in the midst of forward progress. In fact, kneeling down to their perspective and being sillier than they are is my secret sauce for working with youth if I've ever had any.
I have found myself in countless conversations with these young humans about life. I've heard their silly stories, their ways of processing information, seen them on their good days and bad, and have walked through life as a constant companion week after week. I've glimpsed how the world looks through their eyes. And, besides their parents, I've realized I am likely one of the rare few adults who gets such dedicated one-on-one time with them on such a consistent basis. It's been a humbling responsibility, and a lot of fun!
Each one of them has a developing story. They all have growing dreams, passions, hobbies, hopes, and desires of many kinds. And within their individual journeys, they have sacred spaces and secret hideaways. It's those places they go to lose themselves, and find themselves, and come into their own. It's where they slowly uncover and explore that unique energy that helps define who they are at their core, and who they are becoming.
Could all of this be properly captured and celebrated before they grow up too fast and move on to more "responsible" pursuits? I'd like to think so! This is what first got me started with portrait photography, and I'm happy to continue the cause.
And all in all, when everything is said and done, it is my sincere hope that these pictures will help inspire them with extra courage and self-worth, and that one day they, their children, and grandchildren will be able to look back on these special portraits in awe and say:
"This. This is the magic and power of my family. This is my history, my heritage. This is where I come from."
"All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing without shrinking into the darkness." (John Ruskin)