Michael Buescher’s Journey with Camera And Photography
Michael Buescher Shares His Journey With Camera And Photography
Russia and Ukraine are still at war. Life is hard for people living in these impoverished conditions. Everyone is watching these unfortunate times of the two nations through the lens of photographers. But have you ever thought about what a photographer goes through? Or what state of mind they are in during their shoots? It can be a pure bliss or a complete chaos. Today our guest is Michael Buescher. He is a model, a professional dancer, a photographer, and an activist. Let’s hear from Michael Buescher about his journey to the Palestine through his lens!
Michael Buescher have been a photographer for over 20 years. The passion of picture making and collaborating with wonderful people has been the fuel for all this time and the journey ahead.
Michael is a proud member of NPS (Nikon Professional Services) and IATSE (International Cinematographers Union). Shooting in film and television production has been an incredible asset in developing my relationships with his business clients.
Michael tell us about yourself a bit….
I am Michael Buescher. I have been a model, professional dancer, photographer, and activist. I like to think my work has been inspired by goodness, education, inclusivity, justice, and a passion to grow and protect those who are most vulnerable. I love art and creativity and hearing about the stories of others. I can often be heard to say, ‘People are my entertainment” because I am fascinated by what we do and say and how they make their way in this world. I hope whoever reads this finds a way to connect with me so I can get to know you also.
When did you decide to be a photographer?
I think I fell in love with photography over a period of many years.
I can’t say when the penny dropped but there were so many good experiences along the way. One photograph that always stayed in my mind was a black and white print of Miles Davis playing the trumpet. His forearm was flexing so much it looked like his arm was just fused with the instrument. It was quite incredible. It didn’t occur to me in that moment how such an image could be made or that I could also become a photographer and create such shots. But years later time and circumstance conspired to create an opportunity and I jumped right in. I didn’t know how things were going to play out. Photography still seemed confusing, daunting, and expensive. But 20 years later I have a successful career and I have had a lot fun along the way.
Before all of that, I started ‘playing’ with photography as a teenager. I bought my first camera, a Pentax ME Super. Unique to the model it had shutter speed control buttons on the top near the shutter release and that seemed really sophisticated and cool for a beginner.
How was the photography during those times? Please share your experience.
I didn’t use the camera too much till I went on a cross-Europe bicycle trip from England to Israel a couple of years later. This was a time when the world looked very different.
In 1989 there was no internet, there were no cell phones, or small electronic devices to aid a world traveler. Every day is an adventure because you don’t know what you are going to find, where you are going to sleep or eat, or who you are going to meet. And that is very exciting. I loved bringing my camera out to point it at things, but the film was expensive to buy and develop. In some cases, I held onto it for months before I could get it to a lab for processing. From that wonderful travel experience, some incredible images were created.
Please give us an insight into your traveling journey and your photography.
Visiting Beersheba, Jerusalem, and Dehaisha a Palestinian refugee camp I compiled a little story about life in this small area of the Middle East. At this time it was the period of the first ‘Intifada’, the armed uprising of Palestinians to reclaim the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. For several years international news outlets showed guns being fired rocks being thrown, and people suffering and dying. Particularly young Palestinian children were becoming involved in the conflicts getting caught in the gunfire and getting killed. The world was outraged at the image of young children being killed by soldiers with guns for doing no more than throwing stones.
It was against this backdrop that I visited Dehaisha. The settlement which was next to the main highway had a very high fence to protect passing vehicles from rocks. Access points to the settlement were guarded by Israeli soldiers. They did not want to allow us access to Dehaisha, nevertheless, we had done our research and we knew they could not prevent us from entering a public place. The rest of the story is largely told in pictures. We met very friendly Palestinian adults who were eager to show foreigners their homes and share tea. We also met screaming mobs of children who wanted to touch us because we wore Western clothes and looked so different. Although the language barrier was significant, we walked peacefully through Dehaisha camp under the protection of our new Palestinian friends. It was a simple journey but with a profound meaning for me. I was not a hired professional but I found something I was willing to put myself at some risk to accomplish and I believed in greatly. Although only still in its infancy the photographer in me was born this Day in Dehaisha.
Share a life-altering event that helped you in some way.
Well some eventful years passed, and I had decided after doing some modeling for a local photographer and being really intrigued by the photographic process that I would take my own photography a little more seriously. It was quite a big mental step because it would take a lot of money, which I didn’t have, just to get started. But the day when I woke up and my heart and mind were utterly set to make the leap I received a pre-approved loan for 10,500.00 in the mail from the local Credit Union I had never received a preapproved loan in my life. There was no other way to see this as anything but a message from the universe.
So away I went! I shot a lot of things over the next while and then months later another fortuitous opportunity. I was tipped off by the same colleague who I had modeled for years earlier and she mentioned that a local director needed a photographer for their short film which was going to play at that year’s Vancouver International Film Festival.
I didn’t know too much about movie sets at that time, but I got some good shots, and the experience of set life really changed me on that day. I was so impressed by the ingenuity, creativity passion, and hard work of this crew and cast. I kind of fell in love with the whole process of filmmaking. Over the next several years I worked for over 75 local directors on independent film projects, and I worked for every single film organization in this city multiple times over and always on a volunteer basis gaining valuable experience and connections. The rest you can kind of say is history. I got my first big break on a TV series out of town and things sort of flowed from there. I have now worked for every major Studio including Warner Brothers, Universal, Disney, Netflix, and Apple TV. It’s been quite a journey and a life-transforming process! Set life for a still photographer is somewhat like being an ancient Japanese Bunraku puppet theatre artist.
Few words for the readers. And I won’t say too much more about that. Go to the NFB of Canada and find out for yourself and look up the earliest recorded works of this wonderful puppet theatre – it’s much more interesting and powerful to tell this kind of story through the poetic metaphor. I think you would be delighted!!
Check out more about him here — Michael Buescher