An interview with photographer Michael D. Wilson”

An interview with photographer Michael D. Wilson”

The summer issue of PMA Magazine dives into how the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts changed the course of American art in the mid-20th century and how it continues to shape arts and culture in Maine today. While the exhibition In the Vanguard: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts 1950-1969 focuses on the school’s past, there are many more stories to tell about Haystack’s enduring legacy and the alumni and artists it continues to inspire. A few months ago, we had the pleasure of interviewing ceramicist and artist Ayumi Horie, as well as a photographer and friend of hers, Michael D. Wilson. After chatting with Horie, we asked Wilson about his connection to Maine, the artist community here, and the collaborative nature of artists in this state. For Wilson, “Maine provides endless opportunities for interesting and inspiring assignments as well as potential personal projects.” Our correspondence is as follows:

What is your connection to Maine?
It's hard to say exactly. I grew up in Illinois and ever since I can remember I found myself fascinated with living in Maine, I think in part because on maps it was always so lush and green with forest. It's also the place where I saw the ocean for the first time. Fortunately my partner's family lives in Maine which gave us a great excuse to come here.

When did you start working with Ayumi Horie and what drew you to her work?
Ayumi was one of the first people I met when I moved to Maine about 5 1/2 years ago. I was drawn initially to her sense of playfulness in the way she approached projects and work. The first spring I was in Maine, I assisted her at a workshop about marketing yourself as an artist. She was teaching at Haystack. Since then we have collaborated on numerous photography projects, and she continues to offer a great perspective on projects I am working on.

What inspires you about the artist/maker community in Maine?
The sense of community is very strong here! There are constantly open conversations between myself and other photographers about the business and technical aspects of photography. The people and land of Maine is very inspiring, and I think it's easy to see that in other creatives’ work. Also, I think there is something about making it through a Maine winter together that gives everyone a natural sense of community.

What’s the story behind your recent shoot with Ayumi Horie? How did you capture the aerial image of Horie with her work?
I was photographing Ayumi as part of an assignment for Down East Magazine when Ayumi asked if we could get a shot of 81 dinner plates she had recently made for the Center for Contemporary Craft. She mentioned that it would be great to get a shot from above, which of course meant that a short time later, after setting up a couple of lights, I found myself on a ladder that was balanced on a table, holding my camera at the end of a tripod that was supported on her studio's rafters. I had my phone in one hand, which was connected to my camera so I could see and capture through the camera. We played around with different positions for Ayumi and ultimately settled on this one. One of the things I enjoy about collaborating with Ayumi is that she always has ideas that are really creative and often we quickly create great images together.

About Michael D. Wilson:
Driven almost entirely by curiosity Michael D Wilson wants nothing more than to connect with people and show what it is that makes them unique individuals. Michael is passionate about photography, and as full-time freelancer he is forever in search of people that are equally as passionate about their lives and work. He always says “The best part about photography is an excuse to meet new people and learn something from them.” After a half decade of assisting photographer, Martin Schoeller, Michael and his partner settled in Maine. Maine provides endless opportunities for interesting and inspiring assignments as well as potential personal projects. In 2018 Michael was awarded the “Photographer of the Year” award from the International Regional Magazine Association for his range of work shot for Down East Magazine.

Image Credit: Michael D. Wilson
Instagram: @mwphotographic


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July 16, 2019
Director of Communications

Graeme is a Maine native who, after ten years living in New York and the west coast, decided to come back and set up shop in Portland. In addition to the PMA, he's held positions at GQ, Rogues Gallery, and Might & Main. He lives in Yarmouth, where he spends most of his free time with his daughters, Ramona and Maude.