What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
I’m Micah Burke, Creative Director for a regional California sleep products retailer. I design and maintain the print and web advertising including mailers, flyers, point-of-purchase material, banner ads, as well as the corporate website.
I’m also a landscape photographer as a hobby and a lot of my creative free time is spent doing that.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer & Graphic artist? Why did you pursue this as a career?
When I first entered high school I started taking computer classes, at the time we used Apple ][ computers, and the school had just gotten a single, 128k Macintosh. No one else was really using it at the time, so I became very proficient using it. About that time one of the teachers took me to the newly minted Macintosh lab in the basement of the school and gave me the keys. I spent most of my free time throughout high school learning and playing with the various applications.
My parents soon spent nearly $3000 to buy me a Macintosh 512kE and I began to create. My photography hobby began relatively recently, with the advent of digital cameras. I now have a hard time not shooting every sunset I see. All this led me to starting positions in typesetting and later, graphic design jobs. I started in my current job almost 15 years ago, as a designer.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
Time to learn and create. I often take hundreds of photos in a single shoot, but have no time to go back and edit them. Plus, there are many locales I’d like to visit and photograph, but I don’t have the time to plan the trip and scout the area. Most of my favorite photos are lucky breaks. I also have so many interests that focusing on one area can be a real challenge. If I’m not designing, I’m photographing, gaming, reading or engaging in astronomy.
Now days, with nearly everyone having a fairly good digital camera built into their phone, there’s a plethora of opportunities for creative people to extend their abilities and vision. But, I believe that most folks who entering the field today don’t have a solid computer troubleshooting background, so when their system doesn’t work the way they expect, they’re basically stuck. I believe it is imperative that an artist learn as much about their tools as possible that includes the hardware, both computers and cameras.
With all the new versions of Photoshop what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
The combination of Lightroom and Photoshop can elevate photography to high art and the ability to use luminosity masks to stretch the dynamic range of an image really fascinates me. That said, I’m often a bit behind in utilizing new features, given I have so little time to explore! Content aware is amazing, and only gets better every generation. It used to be possible to clone out objects and people from photos, now you can select them and Photoshop does the rest, it’s almost scary good!
What Photoshop artists/creatives/Graphic artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
I was an early fan of Trey Ratcliff and his HDR photos. I find his ability to create stunning, yet realistic, artwork from HDR photos inspiring. That led me to the work of Karen Hutton, who is local to me and takes photos of places I’m familiar with. I love her work. Ultimately, however, I am inspired by the works of guys like Maxfield Parrish, whose paintings inspire my photography. I love how he could capture a feeling of epic-ness in his scenes.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop and Graphic design the best?
I use most of the major networks to some extent. I prefer Google Plus, as it seems to be home to a lot of highly talented photographers and designers and seems to be the best platform for displaying content. There are a lot of great communities on Google Plus, and Google seems genuinely interested in making their product better for communities and groups. I’m currently an admin in the Photoshop and Lightroom Group on Facebook, sharing a lot of my work there, but also enjoy the connectivity it provides.
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
A recent development is the creation of The Arcanum, a mentoring community imagined by Trey Ratcliff where new photographers, designers and other creative types can learn from masters in their field. The concept is based on a magical school from a series of books by Patrick Rothfuss, where students can learn from masters in their field. I was one of the first chosen to learn under Karen Hutton and worked with her and others. I now am being mentored by Ollie Dale, a great photographer in Australia. The Arcanum hosts videos, workshops, contests and the like, as well as the mentoring.
I see that social networks can truly enable this kind of fostering of talent and building of skills, helping us all to achieve our creative goals and hope to see more of these kinds of communities develop.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Graphic Design?
I’m convinced that within a few years Photoshop will be able to stitch images taken from slightly different locations and provide a seamless perspective, allowing a photographer to choose, in post-production, the exact angle, lighting etc. they wanted. Along with technologies like the Lytro camera, there are endless possibilities for creative expression. I see a merging of Lightroom and Photoshop at some point as a possibility,
I’m thrilled with the recent introduction of truly powerful tablets like the Surface Pro 3 enabling creative work nearly anywhere. Eventually I believe powerful professional cameras will be as small as the ones in cell phones, and we’ll be able to “post-process” in the field, and even apply changes live to a photographic scene while it’s being imaged.