This week, we’re introducing our next artist: Mike Glatzer! Glatzer picked up a camera at 15 years old, but older Glatzer not only wanted to pursue photography but engineering. The awesome ending to this story is that he now gets to do both. That’s hustle.
How did you start doing what you’re doing?
Which thing?! I’m a full-time product development engineer for novel medical devices and freaking love it! That came from working on cars with my dad when I was a kid. Same guy had an old Pentax film camera in the house that I picked up at around 14 years old.
A year later I went to Orient Point in Long Island, NY with my Uncle, a professional wildlife photographer. We were shooting osprey hanging out on a nest, and as I was taking a turn behind my Uncle’s massive 400mm lens, he taps me on the shoulder and says, “Mike—there’s one flying by with a fish in its talons. MIKEY!” I’m trying to find the bird in the viewfinder. It’s my first time handling a massive lens, and my Uncle is chanting, “he’s getting away, he’s getting away!”
Next thing I know, I’m knocked into the sand with my Uncle behind the camera, firing off a burst of 20 images before saying, “Alright, he’s gone. You can try again.” That dance repeated 3 more times before I finally said, “Damn it, I’m gonna nail that shot!”
I’ve been shooting ever since.
Name one or two struggles of doing the craft you do. How did you overcome them?
Finding my voice as a photographer has been a tremendous struggle. Realizing that appreciating different styles, compositions, niches, etc. didn’t mean that I wanted to shoot in those ways. Finding my own style and voice, respecting it, and asking others to respect it as well took a lot of effort and confidence which was a result of time, perseverance, and a lot of experimenting.
How do you deal with creative block? What would you advise others?
Take a break! Find another outlet for inspiration. Go for a walk, read a book, go see a show, play a game of catch. Go do something that singularly distracts your mind and introduces an element of joy and fun. “Play” and taking a step back allows my mind to decompress, find new avenues, and refocus. I like reading, seeing a musical, or working with my hands.
Do you feel like you have support for your craft, and how important is that support to you?
Unequivocally. I wouldn’t have stuck with photography through all the past and continued hardships. It means everything to me.
Any regrets on doing art for a living? Why?
I’m very calculated and risk-averse. It’s how I was raised and why I’m a good engineer. Having a full-time career as an engineer allows me tremendous latitude as a photographer. I’m incredibly grateful to have two careers that I can pursue and love simultaneously. I don’t see myself ever living without both in my life.
What’s one thing you would’ve done differently back then, since you know more now?
Charged more! Seriously though, I would have pushed networking and providing stellar customer experiences harder. Those two things are what make businesses successful and more fulfilling.
How do you plan on expanding? Where do you see yourself with your business?
My goal is to branch into more editorial portrait work, specifically with tech startups and creatives. I understand their struggles and stories, and I don’t know if their modern day adventures are being appropriately shared. It’s a major shift from weddings, but one I feel comfortable with. It’ll take time to re-establish myself and develop new communities and networks, but it’s exciting and that’s the fun part!
More about Mike and his work:
The Artist Roundup Series was created to highlight the hidden gems of Atlanta’s art community, regardless of the medium of art. If you know of an Atlanta creative, or you are one, we’d like to feature you—nominate here!
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