It been a while since I’ve done one of these so I felt like it was a perfect time to resurrect the Inspiration side of my blog posts with an amazing book I’ve been studying for the past few months: Sharks by Michael Muller. Not exactly what you were probably expecting me – a sports and portrait photographer – to say and even less likely if you know how scared to death I am of these magnificently terrifying creatures, but I definitely have some reasons for loving and owning this book.
If you’re not familiar with Michael Muller you should definitely make yourself familiar as quickly as possible. The dude has been crushing it for years and if you’ve ever seen a movie poster, you’ve probably seen some of his work. He works with the biggest names in Hollywood and creates some truly amazing photographs for Marvel move posters. So, I was already a big fan, but then I started following him on Instagram (@michaelmuller7) and noticed that he was posting a ton of photos of sharks. I was like, “What the heck? This dude isn’t a Nat Geo photographer, he’s a celebrity photographer…” Well, I was right and wrong. He took a trip and went on a cage dive while on vacation and became absolutely fascinated by the animals he saw circling the cage around him. From there, he made it his mission to photograph the ultimate predator in a way that nobody else really ever has.
He incorporated his normal process for photographing in the studio, and somehow made it work below the surface with subjects that were more concerned with figuring out what he was and if he was edible than posing for the camera. Shot with a medium format camera and lit when possible, the photographs are absolutely amazing and blew my mind as to what was possible with lighting and taking the process to places it shouldn’t be possible. I love pushing what we can do with lighting and where we can utilize lights to modify the world we see into something more creative and extreme. Michael has done the ultimate with this book and body of work, and Sharks is definitely worth your money and time. Exploring it’s blue pages again and again has continued to show me new things that I never noticed the first few times through, and it’s always fun to watch somebody else go through the book and evoke different emotions as they encounter different images and intensities.
A must have for any photographer that is a fan of Muller, and a perfect moment for some inspiration as you finalize your Christmas buying for your favorite photographer!