“Why’s This So Good?” Michael Muller Not-So-Known Photographs

Michael Muller is an American photographer, represented by Stockland Martel, who is known mostly for his celebrity portraits and advertising photos.

He has photographed many actors and actresses, musicians and movie advertisement posters, such as Jeff Bridges, Megan Fox, Will Smith, Kodak, Boost Mobile, Entourage and Captain America. However, the not-so-famous photography of Michael Muller is what I find captivating. His photographs of the wilderness. Specifically, the series of photographs of sharks and his expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2010.

If you go to Muller’s online portfolio, the first couple dozen of shark pictures under the expedition category is the bunch I want you to look at. Nature and everything it has to offer has a certain sublime to it. I’ve always found it difficult to see the sublime of an outdoor image that isn’t a vast landscape. These shark pictures though captures the sublime from creatures we usually just fear of.

Sharks scare the living day light out of most people. These pictures though tell a story of a playful being living his life underwater. One of my favorite pictures is fourth row down, middle picture. The picture is beautifully composed using rule of thirds, and he is smiling! At least that is the energy being portrayed. The angle in the picture right below it, of the shark underwater with the camera half underwater and half above water, adds a natural flow to the creature. The shark is like a dark beauty, swimming among the dark, deep blue water yet never straying too far form the warming reds, pinks and yellows of the day’s sky.

In addition to shooting sharks underwater, Muller went on an expedition and photographed it in 2010 when he and a group of others summited Mt. Kilimanjaro. An avid outdoor enthusiast myself, what I like most about the wilderness is the unknown, the unknown of what is truly around you. Especially climbing a mountain that tests human boundaries. This picture alone can tell you everything you need to know about Mt. Kilimanjaro. You don’t even need to look at the other pictures to get an idea of what the expedition was like.

Muller takes the dark of nature and makes it beautiful, capturing the sublime of a world many of us don’t venture in anymore. He captures the energy of the moment through his composition, choice of angles and how he captures light and color.

The colors in his images are so bold and distinct it humanizes the emotions trying to be captured. Muller shows nature is relative to the lives of humans. Muller balances colors and composition so well I felt overwhelmed at times by the moment being captured. It was as if I was experiencing the moment in the image myself. That is what I mean by humanizing it. My heart almost aches.

About Emily Carino

Journalist Explorer Current journalism student @ U of O!
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