While some photographers build elaborate sets and design intricate productions in order to create emotive visuals, others are more like dream catchers. Enter Mike Chalmers, one of the most interesting new art stars of 2018.
This London based photographer and filmmaker captures the character and the emotion of the moment rather than contriving it. His images are dreamy, sensual, and soft with a hyper-realism that is unquestionably evocative of filmmaking – as his images are clearly storytellers. In his gallery, you can even see the movement that flows from one image to the next bringing forth the idea of a nickelodeon.
Color also exists a a thread in each of his collections, featuring rich sequences of greens, reds, and pinks. His selection of subjects is also paramount, clearly favoring the unique rather than the standard.
The lighting in his images is magical, warm and golden – at once flattering, while remaining true to his penchant for the natural.
Mike Chalmers obviously has a specific focus and a love of people and places that have soul, intrigue, and history, and which radiate and speak in ways beyond what meets the eye.
Can you tell us how you started your photography career?
I went to film school and was working in video and television after I left, but I wanted something more immediate and with more creativity and freedom. I started taking photographs in my spare time and then assisted other photographers whilst improving and expanding my own work and picking up clients.
Where do you reside and how does this affect your work?
I moved to London last year after 2 years in Sydney, Australia. Sydney had a huge impact on how I work and my aesthetic. The people and the light and the lifestyle there all still inform what I do. I’m now based in London because it offers the most opportunities.
What inspires your photography?
I aim to let the subject and environment have the greatest influence over the images. I also try to tap into my current emotional state and allow it to take the wheel. I have certain visual motifs I like to employ but it’s the unexpected shots and the mistakes that always become my favourite images.
Do your images have meanings? Themes? Stories? If so, what are they?
Individual projects and shoots might have and it depends on what it is and the team or client involved – but overall I aim to promote positivity and something awesome and unusual within the ordinary.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
The best responses I’ve had are from the subjects – especially when I was intimidated or unsure of them prior to the shoot and we end up having a great time.
What is your favorite image and why?
At the moment it’s the shot of Ruby Veliks in the Bart Simpson t-shirt. She showed up to the studio in Sydney like this and we just went out and grabbed one shot before starting the shoot proper. Looking at it reminds me of my time and lifestyle there, which I miss.
What is your dream project?
I think something that would combine travel with portraits of people as well as landscapes and documentary images. Somewhere like the Greek islands.
What advice would you give another pursuing Photography?
Shoot lots and be fiercely yourself.