Meet Photographer: Michaela Lawson Sasha Bannister November 11, 2016 Models, Photographers 797 Tweet Share1 Share Email WhatsAppShares 1Meet Michaela Lawson, aspiring photographer from New York City. She’s been working on her craft for the last four years and her journey has been nothing short of inspiring. Her unique style and simplistic yet eye catching work is one to be noted by all. She’s filled with nothing but potential and her future is nothing but bright. We got the chance to speak about her start, life at FIT, some of her favorite projects and much more! Read below for full interview: Q: To the people who may not know what it is you do, would you care to introduce yourself? A: My name is Michaela Lawson, I am 18 years old and I am from New York. I attend Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and I am currently studying Photography. Q: How long have you been interested in photography? A: I have been interested in photography since I was 14, about 4 years now. It’s not long ago but the interest has been gradually growing on me. Q: Is there anyone in your family who is also artistically inclined? A: My mother also attended art school and took photography and other visual arts which she still continues to pursue. Q: Who/What influenced you to become a photographer? A: The thing about me is that I am always creating, at a young age I tried almost everything and enjoyed it all, but I never touched photography. After I discovered it, it became my new found passion. I never really had much of an influence to get into photography but my hands and eyes stumbled onto this craft which is currently slowly changing my life. Q: Do you feel that an artist has the ability to influence society? A: An artist always has the ability to influence society, from music to visuals its what we encounter to almost an everyday basis. One image can cause an empowerment or an uproar which shows the impact and influence artists can have on society. Q: Would you say that you’ve been influenced by society? If so, how has it affected your craft? A: Yes, I have been influenced by society. It has influenced me in a great way, especially with the Black Lives Matter Movement and life changing events happening around me almost everyday. It has affected my craft in such a way that I must give back to the people. If i cannot give money the most I could do is share my art with the world’s eyes. I want to tell stories of not just beauty and happiness, but hurt and sorrow. The world around me is changing so as an artists i should change with it while staying myself. Q: You recently started attending FIT, how has that experience been so far? A: My experience at FIT has been eye opening. There is so many opportunities around being in the middle of New York City, anything can happen. I am so greatful to start of the semester with finding great friends, learning more than what i’ve already known, connecting with people near and far. This experience has been a great learning process especially after volunteering for Fashion Week and other events, I will never forget these important moments. Q: Did you have the support of your family/friends/piers when you decided you wanted to join a school known more for art than for something like business, etc.? A: Yes, I am so thankful to God that I have family and friends who support my endeavours, they are proud of work and notice my talent and only want the best for me. Knowing it is an art school and having a parent that has gone through a similar experience of attending an art school the support was always by my side. Q: What kind of advice would you give someone who may want to go to an artistic school, but doesn’t have the support of their family, piers, etc.? A: If you are trying to attend an art school and do not have much support I would suggest you sit down and explain to the person why that type of school is for you, show your talent and your work and help them understand where you’re coming from. Share the same passion you put in your work to whoever the person may be and express to them that it means much to you to continue and education in that field. Share examples of how studying art around us from fashion to photography is as important as studying business, or medicine, we look, use and wear at it everyday. Q: How do you decide who and what you are going to take pictures of? A: My thought process for taking pictures is rather random. The way my mind works is like the energy bunny, always running. So deciding on specific people is not mandatory to me, I am very flexible with who my model is or what I am taking pictures of. My ultimate question I ask myself is, How can I make this subject come alive, and how? Q: Do you have a favorite project thus far? A: Yes, I have couple favorite but my ultimate favorite is a piece called ‘Reflection’ in this piece I had a headless mannequin look at it’s reflection while holding a broken mirror. This took hours of me brainstorming around my bedroom among random objects and props. It represented one not knowing themselves, as if they lost their mind while they look at themselves through the broken mirror they still cannot figure out their identity. I used a mannequin instead of a human to emphasize the fact that it is used to embody something real such as the human body. Q: If you had the chance to do a photoshoot with your top three inspirations, who would they be and why? A: If I had the chance to do a photoshoot with three top inspirations it would be Gordon Parks, Carrie Mae Weems and Coreen Simpson. They are all successful African American photographers with their own style that captured their people. They each had their own simplicity to them with a touch of their own sparkle which I appreciated finding in their work. Their work makes them and I want to follow in their footsteps of doing the same. Q: Besides being a photographer, in some cases you have been the model; how is that experience? A: Being in front of the camera is as refreshing as being behind the viewfinder of a camera. I enjoy being the subject for the photographer to capture me in the best way they can in any creative way they may think while capturing me. At times it may feel awkward to have the lens shine in my face but after a while I get comfortable and take in the moment. Q: Is modeling something you’ve ever been interested in? A: I used to have modeling set in the back of my mind as something interesting and fun to do. I enjoy feeling like a doll, getting makeup done and getting dressed, it’s a childhood experience i’ve been wanting to have. Even though modeling isn’t all that I still have interest in it. Q: Do you have a favorite shoot (where you were the model?) A: My favorite shoot was just recently a friend had me model someones headwrap collection and the process was something i enjoyed very much. Getting dressed, heading out to get makeup done and then travel to the shoot location, with people stopping and staring felt weird at first but I ended up having fun with it. I loved the end result of the pictures, made me feel good inside. Q: Is there any tips you could give an aspiring artist? A: Go out there and try, you will never know until you try. Push yourself and dedicate yourself to whatever you start because the end result is always satisfying when the job is well done. Stay true to yourself as well as others and it will take you far. Q: Is there anything you would like to tell your supporters? A: I’d like to tell my supporters that I appreciate every praise and love my work gets, I thank God that I get people who really care and want to see me succeed in life, whatever my endeavors. My work is to help and bring others up and allow them to think about life in a way they never viewed it before. To check some of Michaela’s work look below; Also be sure to follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more updates.