Inspirations – Photography: Duane Michals b.1932

Duane Michal’s Art has, throughout his photographic life been met with controversy as he has a non-conformist view of photography.

“The Joy Of Photography Volume 2” indicates that his chief inspiration was Surrealism. The Surrealistic Painters, he said, ‘always contradict people’s assumptions, whilst photographers never do.’

Duane Michals often attempted to ‘play with people’s minds’ in his Art rather than ‘record’ a scene, whether it be shooting standalone images or shooting a series of images on a theme.

He said the magic was ‘seeing people in different ways.’

He preferred Environmental Portraiture and worked in Black & White with existing light and compared his photography with the writing of fiction. He often placed a familiar subject (or object) in unfamiliar territory or in an unfamiliar way or context.

One of my favourite photographic quotes is attributed to him….

“Trust that little voice in your head that says, ‘wouldn’t it be interesting if….’ and then do it.” – Duane Michals.

I first came across the above quote in 1982 (when my own serious photographic journey began).

Duane Michals inspires me in ‘how I think about photography.’ As I am shooting that quote springs to mind every time and I encourage every photographer to do the same.

I’ve included the following link so that you can view some of his images.


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