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A Moment With . . . Michael A. Muller

  • We’ve often admired photographer Michael A. Muller‘s work on his blog, Threading in the Choirs, and in some of our favorite publications (Cereal, Kinfolk, Freunde von Freunden, Sight Unseen, and Remodelista, to name just a few).  We were recently put in touch by our mutual friend, Julie Pointer, and had the opportunity to talk with him about his work. When he told us he was departing his hometown of Austin to move to Philadelphia, we knew we had to get his best-of-ATX list as well. Highlights from our conversation, accompanied by Michael’s shots of some of his favorite haunts, below:

    Barton-Springs-by-Michael-A.-Muller
    Barton Springs

    What will you miss about Austin, and what are you looking forward to about moving to Philadelphia?
    Austin has been my home for the better part of the last decade. It’s tough to leave a place where you know a lot of people and are fully comfortable. In moving from Austin to Philadelphia, I will literally leave everyone I know to go to a city I know very little about and where I only have a handful of acquaintances at best. I’ll miss the mild winters and rugged Texas Hill Country landscape but will look forward to new adventures and being proximate to so many good things and opportunities in the Northeast.

    Clark's-Oyster-Bar-by-Michael-A.-Muller
    Clark’s Oyster Bar, originally featured on Remodelista

    Your work can be seen regularly in both print and online publications, and you’ve also worked on campaigns for brands. Do you have an all-time favorite project? What would be your dream photography gig?
    My favorite projects are always the ones where I am personally interested in the space or subject of the shoot. My dream job would definitely be one where I could travel and explore someplace completely unknown. The adventure in the unexpected is something that’s highly attractive to me. In that spirit, I have a trip planned in the fall where a friend and I will drive from Texas to California and back with the only mission being to take photos, skateboard at spots along the way, and explore natural areas in the Southwest. I’d love to turn that idea into something we can expand on and replicate in different parts of the country and make a series out of – the end result being an exhibit and publication of the work from the travels.

    Contigo-by-Michael-A.-Muller
    At Contigo with owner Ben Edgerton

    You photograph a variety of subjects, from products to portraits, fashion to interiors. Is there a particular subject that you find yourself especially drawn to?
    I love photographing a space or person in existing light. I like the challenge of seeking out the intricate details and the optimal light in any given situation. There’s something about a naturally lit space or a portrait of a person when the light is just right. Nothing can replicate that look. I think of photographs as a memory of a time of day or a mood.

    Elizabeth-Street-Cafe-by-Michael-A.-Muller
    Elizabeth St. Cafe, a favorite for Vietnamese food

    What are some of your favorite online sources of inspiration at the moment?
    I’ve really been enjoying lookbooks lately. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for a photographer (and/or director, stylist, etc.) whose images portray something completely unique (especially in the color stories, textures and juxtapositions of unnaturally paired objects). Currently, the photography of Jeremy Liebman and Patrick Desbrosses have been fascinating me. Additionally, there’s always a good amount of blogs and sites that I frequent. Any stand-out imagery I come across I post to my Pinterest page and I also make a bi-monthly post entitled “Recents” on my blog where I list links to what I’ve been into lately. I’m not sure if anyone looks at this stuff but it’s fun for me to share nonetheless.

    Flattrack-Coffee-by-Michael-A.-Muller
    Flat Track Coffee co-founder Matthew Bolick at work

    In addition to your photography work, you also post playlists on your blog. What are you listening to these days?
    I’ve played and been interested in music since I was a kid so it’s something I hold dear and spend a lot of time thinking about, researching and listening to. I draw mainly from recommendations from friends but it’s so nice to haphazardly stumble on an artist that really turns your head. I recently saw the documentary “Breadcrumb Trail” about the band Slint (highly recommended) and have since been listening to a lot of 90′s Louisville and Chicago-based acts like Shipping News, Papa M and David Grubbs. In new-ish music, the LP “Love” by Amen Dunes has been on heavy repeat with one track from that record being included on my most-recent playlist.

    Hotel-San-Jose-by-Michael-A.-Muller
    A pair of Garza chairs at the Hotel San Jose

    We’re interested in hearing your thoughts on the role of social media in a photographer’s career. Blogs and image-sharing platforms like Instagram have helped a lot of emerging photographers reach a larger audience and connect with other artists, but users are also repinning and reblogging images without permission or attribution, which must be frustrating. Do you see image sharing as a positive thing, or has it been a bit of a nuisance?
    If it’s a singular person posting something that’s one thing but it’s very annoying if it’s a business or a brand posting work without permission or even a credit. Social media most definitely helps exposing the art and artist to new audiences and for me, I think sharing is mostly a positive thing. I can see how things not being credited properly (or at all) could be annoying but I feel that any new eyes that might find my work I can only be grateful for.

    Hotel-St.-Cecilia-by-Michael-A.-Muller
    Room key at the Hotel Saint Cecilia, originally featured on Remodelista

    Jeffreys-Austin-Texas-Michael-Muller-Remodelista
    Jeffrey’s, an Austin institution. Originally featured on Remodelista.

    Sam-Hill-by-Michael-A.-Muller
    Michael’s brother Kyle Muller at his vintage menswear shop, Sam Hill

    Spartan-Shop-by-Michael-A.-Muller
    A mobile at home goods shop, Spartan

    Many thanks to Michael! Find more on his website and blog, or follow him on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter at @inthechoirs.

    - All photos by Michael A. Muller

    This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 7:14 pm and is filed under A Moment With . . .. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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