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Meet Mike Walburn

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Walburn.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My adventure of becoming a portrait photographer has an underlining theme of failed moments. So, let’s trap in and get this Delorean to hit 88 miles per hour. Destination 2007. That is the year I think my journey began. At the age of 21 I moved to Orlando, Florida to attend college at Full Sail University for a BA in film. This when I attached myself to my homemade rocket ship and launched myself into space reaching for my dreams. However, it wasn’t easy. I had a lot of turbulence on the ride, like we all do in this crazy thing called life. During my time at Full Sail I found myself really getting into doing set photography work for our school films only because I didn’t want a lot of responsibility.

Fact, I can’t lie. At that time, I just wanted to go to class then go party. But when I got into set photog on the school projects I actually really enjoyed it and look forward to it. But being a photographer was the furthest thing from my mind. At that time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do but being a photographer wasn’t it. You know, I have to laugh sometimes at how weird things work out and how sometimes the universe has other plans for you. A lot of those moments come after one has failed. And oh boy did I do a lot. I failed five classes, failed relationship with my girlfriend at the time, failed friendships and failed jobs. So, cut to my second to last class before finally graduating, when a guest speaker from the college came in to introduce the new online Master’s program in Creative Writing. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was very excited and thought ‘yes, that’s what I want to do. Be a screen writer.’ So, when I finished getting my BA I went back home after the failed relationship with my ex-girlfriend left me no other choice.

Now back at home and again failing classes, I got a job as a bar tender. It didn’t last long either. Once again, I got lost in partying way too much, which made finding new jobs difficult. Until after a bad night made with horrible decisions, I promised myself to give it up and keep my eyes on the price. Good thing to because my Master degree was winding down, I was feeling out of place and lost in my hometown. It was time to move to Los Angeles and become a screenwriter. Ha! Well, that dream was crushed pretty quickly.

Two years had passed and nothing. Got close to selling one script but never heard back. Got into background work, got depressed and was thinking of moving back home. Luckily, I found myself back doing set photography work for a friend I met doing background work. On my third film of doing set photog work is when an actor from the film asked for a headshot. He liked how I was photographing him and needing a buck I took him up on it. After that first session I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, I think I make this my career.’ I never thought I’d enjoy something as much as I do being a portrait/headshot photographer. So, probably a month after my first session I decided to sink all my money, time and energy into buying the right equipment and into classes on headshot photography. And I’m really glad I did. It’s by far the scariest and best decision I ever made. Now I’ve been a portrait and headshot photographer for only four years and I love every second of it. It hasn’t been an easy four years though. Did a lot of hard leaning or as I call it just paying my dues, it’s been a learning experience for sure. Not only with my photography skills but just with myself too.

So, like I said earlier, failure is a theme in my journey but most importantly so is the theme never giving up. Any time you fail or mess up it doesn’t mean it’s the end. In fact, sometimes they open up opportunities you may never knew existent. We just need to stop this mindset that failing is wrong, it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I hate losing. Who doesn’t hate failing. But as long as you understand that it’s not the end but just an opportunity to become better. That’s my message I guess. I’m very thankful for those failed moments because they led me to one of the loves of my life. Portrait/Headshot Photography. Don’t give up on your dreams. Keep moving forward.

Please tell us about your art.
As a portrait and headshot photographer, I specialize in in creating the best photos for your profile and understand how important it is to have an image that best represents you. That’s truer now than it’s ever been before. Nowadays with social media being such a high factor in our careers, it’s so important to have a stand out headshot especially for professional profiles on sites like LinkedIn. That’s why my main focus is making you look confident, professional, and approachable; I encourage everyone to invest in themselves!

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
I don’t know if artist have roles unless you’re an actor then literally you have roles. But being an artist is so vague. I love the work that Jim Carrey is doing with his paintings are awesome. It’s his take on people and it’s causing people to talk about issues with people in power. I also like the work that Jordon Peele puts out, both his comedy stuff and his more serious projects. But I don’t think art has to always bring awareness of issues to people. It can also be a forum to escape into. I love escaping into music. Jimmy Buffett is my go to but so is any kind of jazz. I don’t need lyrics, just some good tunes. For me it’s a great time to reflect on myself. So, I guess my role as a photographer is to show that everyone is photogenic and that we all have our own beauty that makes us uniquely special. I feel like it’s not my job to bring awareness on issues to people, in fact I stay away from politics and shit like that during my session. My only concern is making the person feel comfortable and confident in front of my camera during their session. Plus, making sure we’re both having a good time.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can find my work on my website as well on the main social media platforms. Instagram @mike_walburn_photog / Facebook @MikeWalburnPhotography / Twitter @mike_waburn

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mike Walburn Photography

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