Photographer Michael Andrews has a diverse background in both photojournalism and corporate communications. He has been immersed in the world of photography since his mother gave him a 35mm rangefinder film camera and a darkroom setup for his 14th birthday. “She was a telephone operator and an amateur photographer. She passed her love of image-making on to me,” Andrews said. From those early years to a decade as a newspaper journalist, Andrews has been defining his reality visually, capturing moments, and creating images that resonate with viewers.
With Andrews’ career, it’s crucial to stay up to date with the latest trends and techniques.
He maintains his creativity and curiosity by constantly experimenting and playing with different cameras. “I am a curious, visual animal,” he added. Andrews investigates the collision between what is happening around him and what he sees. He aligns his physical technique and flow with his keen observational skills, allowing him to capture compelling images that evoke emotions and tell stories.
He roots his photography in the personal and authentic connections he establishes with his subjects. Whether he is capturing the lives of grandmothers in remote villages in Ukraine or documenting the vibrant rituals of Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, Andrews approaches his subjects with genuine curiosity and respect. They open their lives to him, creating an intimate and revealing connection that translates into powerful images.
Location can be just as vital as a subject when creating an everlasting memory. Andrews believes sites often choose him. Whether it’s in nature and landscapes or capturing events and people, Andrews is “always on the prowl for a photograph.” He pays close attention to the direction, quality, color, and intensity of the ambient light, both indoors and outdoors. Rather than relying on artificial lighting, Andrews prefers to work with the natural energies of the environment and the surrounding people. By building trust and taking the time to know his subjects, he can “discover what is beautiful and unique about them and reveal that.”
Inevitably, unexpected challenges and setbacks can arise during a shoot. Andrews approaches these challenges with fearlessness and adaptability. He is not afraid to seize the moment and capture shots, regardless of the difficulties. “I was in a village in Portugal several years ago when I heard crazy-loud banging on drums in the street below my little hotel. It was pitch-black outside. I grabbed my camera and ran downstairs. I was immediately thrust into the middle of a parade of costumed revelers marching below streetlights,” Andrews remembered. He embraced the frenzy and shot away, immortalizing moments he continues to reflect upon. “I am still looking at those images to figure out what I captured. I think time will tell.”
One of Andrews’ notable projects took him to Mexico to seize the vibrant and richly symbolic celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). He joined a photo workshop led by a renowned photographer named Dan Burkholder. “Dan is a fine art photographer who pioneered ways to combine digital photography with traditional analog processes,” Andrews added. This experience allowed Andrews to learn new techniques and expand his skills, both in smartphone photography and post-processing DSLR images. “Being on the street in Oaxaca during the Dia de Muertos festival was analogous to that insane experience in Portugal. Darkness and streetlights and an unfamiliar ritual.” An exhibition of Andrews’ images from the festival will be on display during a Dia de los Muertos block party in downtown Danville on November 3 and remain available to view that week.
On the intro page of his site, mandrewsimages.com, Andrews states his “passion is pursuing images that reveal humanity and document inescapable natural beauty.” He thinks this is still true, but his interests are evolving to record cultural rituals. At the end of the year, Andrews will be in Romania to follow Christmas and New Year’s festivals. “Rituals connect our inner and outer selves, both personally and collectively. I am interested in revealing the layers of those selves with provocative images. I am eager to see what develops. Once again, time and experience will tell.”