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Life & Work with Michael Mohlman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Mohlman.

Hi Michael, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
After my grandpa passed, my dad, uncles, and I helped clean out my grandma’s garage. While doing that, I found a broken point and shoot film camera. So I took it home and tried to fix it. After tinkering with it, I needed to test it to see if my work fixed the issues. But at the time, I was in the middle of a couple of rolls on a couple of different cameras of my own, so it’d be a while until I could get around to testing it. So I brought it into work, left it on the front desk, and told all my coworkers that if they wanted, they could take the camera out and about (even home with them) to take pictures to help me test it. That gave me the idea to start this project, hot photato. For this, I hand out point and shoot cameras to people, have them take three pictures, then give the camera to a friend. It’s an artistic photography project examining the physical connectivity of people (as we’ve grown increasingly digital) while also getting a look at what people choose to create or share about their life in just a few images. The camera I found in my grandparent’s garage ended up working, and it became the first camera I handed out for this project.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Hahaha, not particularly. Though reception for it has been overwhelmingly positive, it’s been a very slowly developing project. I don’t want to have an influence on the results. My role in the project is just to organize and facilitate it. The participants dictate the rest–what they take pictures of, how long they have the camera for, who they give it to, etc. So the most I can do is check-in and see if the camera’s alright and that they didn’t forget about it. But covid put a huge pause on everything. I started this in September of 2019, so the whole “stay inside and don’t see anyone” part of covid really took out the core of what this project is.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I personally am a graphic designer. I taught myself from reading articles, watching YouTube videos, and trial and error. I got into analog photography because I wanted an away-from-the-computer creative hobby, and I learned what I know about this in a similar way.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Just go at it. If you have a vision that you believe in, put in the time, work, and effort to get there. Be patient and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Juan Martinez Chris Seto Katie Sanderson Perry Billett

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