Imagine you find yourself in a city where no one knows anything about you. A stranger comes up to you, introduces himself and asks you what you do for a living. In that moment you can pretend to be anyone you want. What would you say? Who would you want to be?

If I could make up anything, I would imagine myself to be a full-time vagabond photographer, with no responsibilities and no obligations, and whose sole task in life was to photograph my experience of the world. Of all the things I could have pretended to be (a brain surgeon, an astronaut, a rock-and-roll musician), I would choose to be an independent, adventurous, march to the beat of my own drum, free-spirited photographer.

While that may remain a daydream, there are parts of that fantasy that have become real. Not the no obligations and responsibilities part. Like everyone else in the world, I have those, and because of those I need to keep my day job. But I am most definitely a photographer. I have been taking pictures of people, places and moments for most of my life, and I can safely say that my photography has been more than a hobby. It is more than something I just do on the weekends. It has become a lifestyle. I may not be a photographer by profession, but I am certainly one by obsession.

Mike’s Pure Exposure is one of the ways I continue to make my daydream a reality. It’s one thing to take pictures and file them away on your computer – pulling them out only occasionally to show to a select few people. It’s quite another to share your creative work with the world – to risk being judged, criticized, loved, made fun of, admired, ridiculed, or adored. And while I am always hoping for “loved”, “admired” and “adored,” if you want love, there’s no getting around risking rejection. 

We’re all here to create. To make art. Our art might be a photograph, a painting, a piece of pottery, a song, or a piece of furniture. Our art might be building a business or raising a child. But all of us are here to make art. Making art matters. Sharing it with the world matters just as much.

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