My unique process with: Michael J. Murray
My journey began working as an assistant for commercial and advertising photographers in Rochester, NY about 20 years ago. There was a time when I thought that was my path. What I realized, thankfully, was that I’m not a photographer in a pure sense of the word. I am an artist that uses photography as part of his process. I began making these image in earnest five years ago.
Where My Inspiration Comes From:
Ideas for images come from a variety of sources. Some just seem to come from the ether when I wake. Others come while I’m driving and listening to music. I always try to be open to new information, observant of my surroundings, and live in the moment. At times I feel as though I live in my head. I’m always thinking and ruminating. Most ideas come out of that constant mental churning. My process always draws from what I know, but I also always want to try something new that I’ve never done before. My process is a constant state of experimentation, rarely do I feel as though I’ve completed a piece.
My Artistic Process:
I’m always thinking about the images I want to make. I will use google maps to find a location that satisfies that criteria of what I decided I will capture in the particular piece of art. After that, I will scout the location and plan my shoot from there. It’s not uncommon for me to revisit a place of interest many times of the course of a few years. There is a ruin in the Hudson Valley I have been shooting for the last five years. The past couple of years, have been very interesting in terms of 360 video coming to the fore in an affordable and exciting way. I have recently started exploring making 360 videos as part of my artistic process. My creative spin is manifesting my interest and obsession with how the worlds of man and nature intersect. How they vie with each other, how sometimes they collaborate one another, and how they dominate one another.
My 360 Concept:
I can not lay any claim to originating this particular kind of photography. I became interested in 360 panoramic photography in the late 90’s right around the time when software to stitch digital images was developed. As the software evolved it became possible output images in different formats. The Stereographic Projection (which is the format I use) is one of those formats. What I realized about the Stereographic Projection is it compresses the 360 panorama into a visual form that is much easier to digest. I love the interplay between object, structure, camera in a 4 dimensional space. I find it to be meditative.
Creating a 360 Piece:
To make one 360 degree spherical panoramic photograph, I require at least 30 individual images. Atop my tripod is a high resolution digital camera attached to a special mount. It ensures that each image is precisely aligned with the others surrounding it, and that each image overlaps by the same amount. This is essential for the next step in the process. Because all the images are precisely aligned and they all overlap by the same amount, I am assured that the final composite image will be free of errors and will blend seamlessly. I use specialized software to organize and process my raw images, and specialized software to assemble them into a finished image. I use Adobe Photoshop at the end to make adjustments to tone and contrast as well as to convert the image to black and white. My images are best viewed as large prints, at least 30×30.
New York City:
NYC is definitely my muse. Its humanity in its entirety compressed into 300 square miles. Its frenetic, and kinetic, and always turned up to 11 and I love that. NYC is my drug of choice and I always feel it’s absence when I’m away from it too long. My images reflect the calm I feel in the midst of all that beautiful chaos.
I like to say that I was born in Rochester, but made in NYC. New York is very special to me. I met my wife when we both worked at B&H Photo and we lived in Brooklyn for a number of years before moving to the Hudson Valley and later Maine. I also sold my work on the streets of NYC and in Central Park for almost 10 years.
Where You Can Find Me:
~Michael J. Murray
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~Feature in collaboration with/produced by: Jeff Gorra