Sunday, 23 January 2011

Photography Interview with Mike Roemer (& Picture Prompt Challenge)

One Shoot Photography Sunday!

Well it's Sunday here at One Stop, and that means another edition of One Shoot for your viewing pleasure. This week I, Chris Galford, will be swinging you up to the Midwest and a state close to my own, Wisconsin. Our guest today is Mike Roemer, a photographer based out of the Green Bay area.

Mike is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he studied photography and communications. Roemer is a commercial photographer today, but he wasn't always. In fact, he kicked things off in much the same way I hope to utilize my college degree- Photojournalism. His background is immersed in the deadline intensive world of daily newspapers and editorial photography; he traveled west to the state of South Dakota for that opportunity.

Today, Roemer runs his own business. That doesn't mean he doesn't travel though. In fact, according to his website, he not only travels nationally, but internationally on a regular basis to help his clients get what they need. The end result is a diverse portfolio, with a wide range of visually-stimulating creations. On behalf of One Stop Poetry, we hope you enjoy a sample of his work as he shares his insights with us today.  —Chris Galford


What originally sparked your interest in photography? How long have you been working with photography? 
Mike: My dad was a newspaper photographer when I was growing up.  I used to tag along with him on assignments.  Watching the image come up in the darkroom was a very magical moment.  My dad let my brother and I shoot the occasional roll of black and white film in his twin lens reflex Mamiya camera and then he bought us our own camera, a Canon TX, in junior high.  I really didn't get serious about photography 'til my freshman year of high school.  I was playing freshman football and my dad would come and shoot the games and give me contact sheets of the action.  I would take the contact sheets,that I would print in our darkroom at home, to school and sell black and white prints for a $1.00 .  It didn't take long for me to trade in my helmet for a camera for Friday night football.  I never did play Varsity.

What is it about photography that appeals to you?
: I love turning a shot into something the client and the subject doesn't expect.  I shoot with very shallow depth of field and as wide or as long of a lens as possible.  I also use a great deal of gels to add a little extra punch to my images.  I love the look on a client's face when I show them the image on the back of the camera or on my laptop and they can't believe I created that from what they see in front of them.

Do you maintain a personal philosophy about photography?

Mike: Shoot every picture like it's going to be a portfolio image. Give every picture your all.

On your site you note you travel pretty regularly & extensively for your photo-work. In all that roaming around, have you found any favorite spots/locations you've taken photos in?
Mike:  I love variety.  I've loved shooting transportation photography in the deserts of Arizona, I love the challenge of gaming and casino photography in casinos from Wisconsin to Mississippi, I love shooting healthcare photography in Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.  For me to be happy, I need to have a variety of subjects and locations.  A perfect week of shooting for me would be a couple of days of annual report photography for a healthcare client, a couple of days of casino photography, and then finish the week off shooting the Packers at Lambeau Field.  The shoot that I really want to do this winter is in the ice caves of the Apostle Island near Bayfield, Wisconsin on Lake Superior.  My wife and I have kayaked and snowshoed into the caves and I've done some photography up there, but this winter I want to head up there with a fleet of small strobes and do some cool unexpected shots.  The ice caves that form in the winter are controlled by the National Park Service.  Some years the caves are open for a month, and some years they aren't open at all; it all depends on the quality of the ice.

What has been your experience with the internet as a medium for sharing your art and photography?
Mike: I love to blog.  I really like showing off images that I wouldn't have had an audience for before.  I think it keeps me more creative and always looking for images beyond what the client expects.

Do you find common ground between photography and other creative pursuits like writing or poetry?
:  They are all forms of expressing one's creativity, but with some aspects of photography like news and sports if you miss that magical moment you can't recreate it.

What sort of education/experiences have you gone through to get where you are today?
Mike: I studied photography in college and graduated with a degree in communications.  While I was in college, I interned at three different daily newspapers during the summers, and I also was a freelancer for the Associated Press shooting Packers games in Green Bay.

How much of your work/photography in general would you say is pure shot vs. post-processing/digital editing?
Mike: I really try to do as much as I can in camera.  I do some photomerge and HDR work in Photoshop along with minor touch-ups and such, but my in-camera philosophy comes from my editorial roots.
What kind of camera, lenses, filters, and/or editing programs do you typically use?
Mike: I shoot with Canon cameras and have their rapid fire cameras for sports and their full frame big capture cameras for the rest.  I have lenses from a 15 mm fisheye to a long and fast 400 mm F 2.8 for sports and some commercial work and the occasional portrait.  I use Photomechanics and Photoshop for my editing.  For lighting I use mostly Elinchrom and Chimera products.

What would you suggest to people just beginning with photography?
Mike: There are an endless amount of places to learn on the web.  Look at other photographers' web sites and blogs for inspiration, but still come up with your own style.  I would also suggest to any young photographer to learn by assisting an established photographer.  Assisting is a great way to learn the business.  I learned by shooting 4 or 5 assignments a day early on in my career at a daily newspaper, but I also wish I would have assisted more in my younger days.

To learn more about Mike & his work, check out the following links:
Twitter: @RoemerPhoto
Official website:

And now for the Picture Prompt Challenge!

  • Write a poem (or Flash Fiction 55) based on the prompt.
  • Post it on your site.
  • Sign up using Mr. Linky so people can find your work.
  • Let us know what you are sharing by leaving a comment below.
  • Finally, visit other participants, comment, and give credit to Mike Roemer in your post. 

Thank you,

Accept the picture prompt challenge! :)

image by Mike Roemer


dustus said...

What a great way to kick off Sunday with Mike Roemer and his stellar photography. I'm amazed by how sharp his images are, displaying such an amazing tonal range of color. Thanks to Mike, and to Chris G. for another great interview!

For today's prompt, I decided to change it up a bit. I'm curious to see what kind of poetry and flash 55 fiction the chosen image inspires. Remember, there is no correct way to approach the prompt——only creative possibilities. So give it your best shot. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

A difficult photograph for me to write about ~ I can't wait to see what everyone else does. Thanks for the opportunity to participate. dani

Shewriting said...

I agree with adam... Mike's photography is impressive in its color and clarity (it's like HD for photography :)

I had fun with this challenge, as I do with all of the One Shoot Sunday photo prompts.

Alegria Imperial said...

Stunning picture! Another challenge as well. Thanks, Adam, for unfailingly choosing unexpected images! It helps keep creative gears churning. And the interviews of Chris open up a much needed sense of the artist's work. Thanks again.

Theodore Daniel Richards said...

The Subalterns

Anonymous said...

Great photography, Adam did I tell you how much I love subdays feature?

jen revved said...

i agree that there are things about the photo that are a little difficult, simply because le belle dames sans merci there is puttin' on airs. But...xxxj thanks, Adam!

info said...

I don't usually write from an image - but gave it a go!

me_duress said...

Beautiful photography - such detailing!

Difficult but I still gave it a shot :)

Jerry said...

Come on guys... this isn't so tough...I did a two hours!
Great interview and although I am not a photographer I am learning how to interpret photos a lettle more each week. This has become one of my favorite prompts of the week.

Thoughts Not Lost said...

My first One Shoot just submitted, hope everyone will enjoy, Mike's photography is awesome!

Gigi Ann said...

The only thing I can think about for this picture is the Kenny Rodgers old song, "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille." It's stuck in my head, so I'm passing this week's challenge. Will be by later to read everyones poetry.

Fireblossom said...

The link for Mattison's excellent entry isn't working. It has an extra "l" on the end.

dustus said...

Okay, fixed Mattison's link. Thanks, Shay.

Some excellent, thought-provoking takes on the image thus far! Glad you're all enjoying the Sunday Post and prompt. A good way to spend part of Sunday creatively. Cheers!

Chris G. said...

Such responses! Glad to see the image is stirring everyone's poetic notes...and happy to see everyone's enjoying another great photographer. As you say Dustus, his images are so crisp and sharp - he's honed them pleasantly.

Keep up the great writing everyone! And don't forget to thank Mr. Roemer for taking the time for this wonderful interview.

Greyscale Territory said...

Quite a confronting photo that tends to offer worlds most of us know little about or maybe don't even want to know! What a challenge for writing!

Misty Lazar said...

I really enjoyed the works of photography.

The challenge just reminds me of one thing....the epitome of ego's play!

dustus said...

Excellent posts today! Enjoyed reading each one. Like these Sunday challenges very much. They're interesting and a lot of fun to see what you all come up with when we all start with the same image. Thanks for taking the challenge!

Zouxzoux said...

I believe this is my first time here. The photo prompt really took me to a place I thought I'd hidden from myself. Ah,introspection.

Bryce said...

Thx for the challenge. Nice photos.

RegCPA5963 said...

My 1st time trying to write fiction (flash 55 1st time period!)from an image. Lucky, the image is so crisp and sharp. Hope you like the post.

wurdz said...

the crisp imagery behind the art of mike roemer was a pleasant surprise.

Anonymous said...

I was a bit late to submit this poetry, but still sharing the same through comment here. Below is the perma link to the post: