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Who am I ?

That is a question that its answer remains the same. But is forever evolving and growing and changing.

My name is Mike Lister. Born and raised for the most part in Southern California. I am not one of those people that picked up a camera at the ripe young age of 9 and had my life forever changed. I have had my life changed forever. But it started at a much later stage in life. Im 42 years old. Raised in a typical middle class neighborhood and family. My mother always thought I possessed a talent for graphics * shed have preferred I was an Architect I think.

I did have a flair for calligraphy, drafting etc going thru school. But they never really took hold of me. At 38 years of age .I had a major primary arm injury that left me with a lot of time on my hands. As I waited, in between surgeries, and healing periods. I decided to go to the local library and get something to read. Instead, I stumbled across a shelf full of video tapes on Photography. I checked a couple of them out. I sat back and watched a whole new world open up before my eyes. I then started checking out some books on photography.

I purchased my first SLR. An early Pentax Spotmatic. Found it in a Pawn Shop and paid a whopping 50.00 for it. I took the things I was reading to heart, head and hand. Spent the next couple of months taking imaginary images.** no I havent lost my mind* It was part of learning the controls and functions of the camera. Seeing physically, the difference between various F Stops, and Depth of Field. How selective focus actually worked. Bought a couple more lenses and then finally put some film in it. I was told/read .The best way to start Photography was truly with a full mechanical camera. So with that in hand I set out to try and create images. As you can imagine those first images were in some ways disastrous.

I think that is the sheer beauty of this Medium. If you want it bad enough. And it grabs your SOUL along the way. The mistakes dont seem to bother you that much as you learn. You want it, taste it, and feel it. As I blissfully went around trying to capture the things I saw around me. Buildings, barns, Rivers you name it. I kept having this overwhelming voice in my head. That kept saying. The only thing missing in this image is a Model.

Having never taken any formal Photography Training or Classes. I set out to try and capture people on film.

Well that is where the second half, and the most passion driven part of my photography took off for me. And it still is the driving force behind who I am, what I see and what I perceive. I see people from multiple variations of their personality. The Introvert, the Extrovert. The Melancholy, the Happy, the Depressed. The Thinker. The Protector, The Mischievous..

I started photographing friends and co-workers. That were kind enough to let me learn and hone my craft through attempts at Capturing Their Unique Personality. Hopefully not just a snap shot .But capture THEM. The person, that they show the outside world. As well as capture the person that they try and hide from the outside world. In essence, as candid, and real an image of them as possible. Do I hit the Mark every time .No, do I strive for a perfect image. Without a doubt. My primary goal when photographing a subject. Is to FIRST, raise their self esteem about the person they are. Help and hope to make them see how the rest of the world sees them. And as with most people. We have a distorted perception of how people see us. The beauty of film. IS it doesnt lie. Slightly distort the truth at times, sure. The most common thing I have heard from people I have worked with is." I take crummy pictures. That they are not photogenic. My answer is usually the same. YOU dont take bad photos, people have taken bad photos of you.

There is a Moment that I will always cherish. I was working with a Model. We did our first session. I delivered the images a short time later. As I sat there with her and her husband reviewing the images. She broke into tears. I stared at her Husband. She then looked at me and said. Oh My God, Im beautiful !! I said I know that darling, your husband has been telling you that for years. She said I know, but I never saw it til now.

It was then, that I realized what a special gift I am allowed to give someone. It unleashed a deeper passion in me. To not only Photograph woman, but to try as much as possible to elevate the way they perceive themselves.

In a time of Mass Media Hype. And making woman feel less than they are. Due to things like Plastic Surgery for vanity reasons only. How much it devastates the rest of the woman we know around us. This over whelming need, sense of need, to be a Society fitting into a Barbie Doll Mold. This particular Model was under 5 foot tall. Petite in size. Always feeling over looked due to her size. And that ONLY tall and well endowed woman could be photographed to look beautiful and sexy. Was a very personally rewarding moment .That has had a lot to do with the way, and particular Models I think I have chosen at times to work with. I enjoy finding the subtle qualities in a particular subject. And choose to focus on those things that make that person unique. Those that know me, or have worked with me. Will tell you the same thing. I as a photographer of woman in particular. Use the following analogy and approach to photographing them.

Woman are like Snowflakes. All Snowflakes, yet as with Snowflakes. There are no TWO exactly alike. And that is what makes each and every woman that I photograph rewarding to work with. They each bring their own unique personalities and life experiences to a Photo Session. The lighting may be similar. The pose maybe similar. But the way each one of them expresses themselves is true unique and rewarding to me as an Artist.

I have no children .As a matter of circumstances and choice. As a result, Photography is my Child. When I leave this place we call Earth. I have no legacy to leave behind. Other than the images I leave behind. And the lives that I touch while creating them.

If you, or someone you know. Is, or would be interested in working with me. Please feel free to contact me and schedule a session.


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    22/12/2015 4:45:20 PM
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