Photographer. Writer. People lover 💁♀️🏳️🌈 // @natgeotravel contributor 🌍
Photographer. Writer. People lover 💁♀️🏳️🌈 // @natgeotravel contributor 🌍
Scenes from Man Sagar Lake, October 2019. A boy with his younger brother waiting for sunrise. An abandoned cart. Silhouettes of birds in front of the Water Palace. And a little plant sprouting from an old building.
Sunrise over Man Sagar Lake (swipe for jumping monkey detail !! ) - October 2019
A few more details from my time in the City Palace in Jaipur: 1 ) Nepal, Narendor, & Parthviraj Singh (three staff members ) take a break in the Sarvato Bhadra courtyard 2 ) The mirrored ceiling and walls of the Rang Mandir 3 ) A small portrait by the palace painter 4 ) A peacock walks along the decorative walls of the main courtyard – All images from October, 2019
We started our days in the palace before sunrise, bringing in lights, sketching our setups, and watching the various guards and staff slowly trickle in. On the day we photographed the king (Padmanabh Singh ), we knew our schedule would be extremely tight. Our photo team was photographing alongside a massive video team that was shooting a commercial of the same subjects. We only had 3 - 4 hours and had to shoot three outfits in three locations with video taking the priority slots. My stills team was often jumping in, reworking or adding to the video lighting, and shooting in bursts of ~10 minutes. Despite these limitations, the king was extremely generous, kind, and easy to work with. Some quick background: The Maharaja of Jaipur, @pachojaipur is an accomplished polo player and was crowned at the early age of 13. He is now 21, and the host for the City Palace’s campaign with ‘Only on AirBnB.’ He is seen here in the living room of the palace, in the traditional Royal Finery, and posed on one of his polo horses. A note on this campaign: All proceeds made from those who rent a room in the palace go to the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation which supports the rural women of Rajasthan. By mobilizing and training local communities, the foundation sows the seeds for sustainable entrepreneurship.
Exciting news! I shot the January cover story for @hemispheresmag on the enchanting island of Curaçao. Head over to their page and follow along, as I’ll be posting outtakes from the story throughout the week. Not sure where to begin with the love I found for this place in the Caribbean. Growing up in south Florida, the beach is in my blood, but Curaçao has a friendliness in the air that made me immediately want to go back. In this image, three young boys practice back flips from an elevated platform.
Hello lovelies! Every year I post an introduction so you can get to know the photographer behind all of these images and stories. My name is Michael George (not George Michael ) and I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have only ever lived in Florida and New York City, two places that are equally weird for completely different reasons. I am lactose intolerant and miss ice cream every day. I am LGBT and my partner is a farmer (in the city, I know, confusing!! ). When I am not taking photos or writing stories you can find me at a theater, in Prospect Park, riding rides and wandering my favorite place in the city: Coney Island, at a drag show, or tucked in my rocking chair trying and failing to reach my goal of reading twenty books in a year. Last year’s highlights included: I posted a video of a rescued baby manatee getting bottle-fed that went super viral, had the humbling opportunity to spend the day with an Auschwitz survivor, photographed sea turtles in Curaçao, as well as beautiful chickens on Amish farms in Kentucky, and experienced the joy of India. I also paid off my student loans so I am finally a free b*tch!!! This year I am brewing up some personal projects and plan to finally get my scuba certification. I use Instagram as a way to share a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a travel & portrait photographer, I also like to share experiments and outtakes here. If there’s anything you’d like to see more of, please let me know! Also, who are you!? I’d love to see your intro down below. Can’t wait to share more wonders over the next 12 months 💖. PS: The images & videos in this slideshow are from the past year, except for the last two which are from a decade ago!!! 😱👦🏻📷
Happy New Year to each and every one of you 💖. Starting this 2020 visual journey with additional scenes from the City Palace of Jaipur: 1 ) Local women walk through the Chhavi Nivas, a ‘monsoon retreat’ where the royal family can watch the storms pass by. The fixtures on the ceiling are there to attach a floating daybed to lay on that swings along with the wind and the rain. 2 ) A flock of birds erupts around the palace. This view is from the cricket field. 3 ) A guard adjusts his turban in the main courtyard. 4 ) Two guards stand on the sixth floor of the palace, looking out at the city. 5 ) The Shobha Nivas prayer room, richly decorated with gold and glass work.
Another series of details from the City Palace Jaipur. This group includes my first share of the exterior of the palace, the gold and mirrored prayer room, a carriage in the main courtyard, one of many ornate gates, a view from the rooftop, and a guard silhouetted within the Sarvato Bhadra. Next week, I’ll be sharing my portraits of the king @pachojaipur and some of the ornate interior rooms. Let me know if you have any questions about the palace!
Details of the City Palace in Jaipur, India. Shot for @airbnb in October 2019. 💖
On our last day in India, @kyle_rm_johnson and I woke up for a sunrise walk along the Man Sagar Lake. We were in a flurry of morning activity as people setup small shops, took engagement photos, and fed the various animals that live around this beautiful area. In the distance you can see the Jal Mahal, or “water palace.” It is funny to me how you can go months without finding a great picture, and sometimes you get 20 great pictures in a single morning. I’ll be sharing quite a few images from this walk, a short break from the scenes in the palace.
In this image, a man sweeps the Sarvato Bhadra in the early morning light at the City Palace Jaipur (swipe for detail ). There are areas of the palace that are open to the public and the staff meticulously clean these locations before opening. As the sun rises, there are monkeys, small birds, and peacocks walking along the palace walls making noise. Eventually they’re scared off and the palace opens to a rush of visitors. // Shot for @airbnb in October 2019.
Hello lovelies! I promise I did not disappear! For the past two months I have been traveling and shooting almost nonstop, but I am back in New York and rifling through my images to find some gems to share. First up, these portraits are from a shoot with @AirBnB in Jaipur, India. For the first time in hundreds of years, the royal family of Jaipur is opening up their palace for the public to stay in. As part of this ‘Only on AirBnB’ campaign, the Maharaja Padmanabh Singh is using the proceeds to raise money for the family charity, the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, which supports rural women and artisans in Rajasthan. I spent five days in and around the Palace documenting the king, the palace guards (seen here ), the palace itself, and life in the surrounding grounds. These images would not be near what they are without the aid of the kindest genius @kyle_rm_johnson . Many more images and stories to come!
Two views of the same thing. Water on my lens, water on the windshield
I documented the warehouse, packaging, and cyclist delivery of @urbanstems flowers for @incmagazine earlier this summer. What a shoot! The cyclists who deliver these bouquets are rockstars and such kind people. I loved learning the process from flower farm to warehouse to delivery. Did you know flowers have the smell bred out of them because the smell is also a gas that kills the flower? One of many things I learned as I spent my day with these beauties. Thanks to @erniemonteiro for always calling on me for bucolic wonder, and @langstonpalmer for the assist! Also ... I walked away from this shoot with more flowers than I knew what to do with so all of my friends were very lucky that day 💐🌷🌺🌸🌼🌻🌼🌸🌺🌹🌷💐
The logistics of travel assignments are such a puzzle. I am staring at a list of restaurants, hotels, hikes, interesting places, people, and trying to judge both how much time I’ll need with each subject and when the light will be best. On this particular day we started at a National Monument, moved on to this hike, and ended at the Grand Canyon for a sunset shot. The drive to the Lockett Meadow Trail (seen here ) was treacherous and I sunk below the window in my seat as my assistant drove on what felt like the teetering edge of a cliff. When most people think of Arizona they picture red rocks and desert. Many don’t realize how green it can be. This particular hike has an extremely dense forest of aspens halfway up the trail. Absolute magic as they sway in the wind. Our goal was to photograph the basin at the top of the hike. Between the winding drive, steep climb, and a small bit of jet lag it was a day to push my limits at the start of what would be eleven 16-hour(ish ) days of shooting. PS: I threw in part of a panorama from Sedona at the end here because I wanted to share, but the full panorama is too wide for Instagram !!! We visited Sedona a few days after the Lockett Meadow Trail ✨
Near Payson, Arizona you can find the Tonto Natural Bridge, thought to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. For an idea of its size, look for the people at the bottom of this frame. This image was shot on assignment for @natgeotravel in September 2018. Our assignments can sometimes be a bit hectic schedule-wise, and this shot almost didn't happen. My assistant and I arrived at the Park and were guided in by a ranger. Up until our arrival, we weren't sure when or for how long the light was shining on the waterfall at the entrance of the bridge. Once we finally saw the falls (from above ) I realized the sun was creeping towards the Canyon wall and in 5 - 10 minutes the backlit water would be cast in shadows. My assistant and I literally ran down the sidewinding steps (which I DO NOT advise ) balancing our cameras and tripods, slipped around the extremely slick rock to get into position, and were able to get a few images approximately two minutes before the sun disappeared from the falls and they faded into the background. It is one of many times in my life I've found myself literally "chasing the light."
A few months ago I was asked to photograph Emma’s Torch ( @emmastorchfood ), a spectacular enterprise in Carroll Gardens, for @amtraknational . Kerry Brodie, the owner, had “this crazy idea: to open a restaurant that would also teach professional culinary skills and job readiness to refugees and victims of human trafficking.” The Culinary director “encourages students to cook the food of their homeland as a way to help them feel comfortable in the kitchen.” After their three month bootcamp in the kitchen, Kerry “has developed a network of chef supporters, who help place graduates as line cooks in leading New York restaurants.” If you find yourself in the area, check it out and have a meal! You can also support them via donations on their website. As Kerry says, “We hope we’re changing the conversation. We hope refugees are seen in restaurants not as this amorphous other but as an amazing solution to the labor gap with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. They’re people you want on your team.” // In this opening image, Nafisseta Kinda, a trainee from Burkina Faso is prepping the kitchen. // Special thanks to @jessieadler for thinking of me for this assignment! // #emmastorch #carrollgardens #brooklyn #restaurants #refugees
A few more Icelandic Details (Sept. 2018 ) ... PS! Check out @tpj this week as I am doing a takeover 🙃💖 sharing some favorite images and behind the scenes tidbits ✨
“Can you hold my leg?” I asked a stranger who was walking by me on these extremely slippery rocks. I wanted this angle of the falls, but it required me to lean out a few inches further over the cliff than I was comfortable. I’d already almost lost my tripod into the water below. This kind traveler awkwardly held onto my right shin as I took this image. Thank you to that person whose name I now forget! (Iceland, Sept. 2018 )
What are you reading this summer? I recently finished ‘The Great Believers’ by @rebeccamakkai and it was one of those books that opened up a new part of me, sharpening my emotions and my ability to be present. As soon as I finished, I texted WAY too many people to recommend it, and put it cleanly in my top five of all time. I’ve been jumping back and forth between modern stories and classics and fantasy these past few months. Currently I am reading ‘Ender’s Game’ and am v disturbed at the prescience of certain forces the author imagined for the future. Particularly the purposeful inflammatory political writers on the Internet. I’d love to know what you’re reading and why you love it. Forever looking to add books to my wish list even though I already have a full shelf of “to read” books 😬😬😬. Thank youuuuu!
Some incredible and humbling professional news for all of you lovely followers! I am ✨officially✨ a @natgeotravel contributor, meaning I am now able to share my work on their Instagram, one of the top 100 accounts in the world. Having access to such a robust and diverse audience is an opportunity I do not take lightly. Over the next few months I’ll be diving back into my archives to share work I’ve always loved, and to discover gems like this image above. I’ve always hoped my images would inspire people to discover, care about, and understand the world. I can’t wait to continue that journey with this new platform. 💖
There are certain places you travel that feel like they sit on the teetering edge of the planet. Húsavik is one of those places. In an incredible moment of “Wow, it’s a small photography world” my wonderful friend @hellopoe ended up standing in this EXACT same spot only a few days after I was there while on an assignment of her own. I can’t possibly imagine the chances of that. 👀
Hey y’all! Here’s something ~professional~ and fun. The Nature Conservancy interviewed me about my work and my process. This is the lil video they made from our time together. I don’t often put myself in front of the camera, and I hope y’all enjoy getting a better sense of who I am 🙃 Also! The video is helping to promote their 2019 Photo Contest which is ✨free✨ to enter and has some wonderful prizes. Check their profile @nature_org for a link and more info!
Icelandic Details (Sept. 2018 )