Michael Prince is a television producer, director, filmmaker and photographer. He is based in Stirlingshire, on the edge of Scotland’s beautiful Trossachs National Park.
Preferring to work with medium and large format film cameras, Michael strives to truly reflect the stunning natural beauty and solitude experienced at inspirational locations around the British Isles, particularly places such as Northumberland, North Yorkshire, the Scottish Highlands, the Outer Hebrides and rural Wales.
Though Yorkshire born, in 1965, he was actually raised in Chester, Cheshire, from where he loved to explore the north Wales environment during extensive cycling expeditions. It was here that he became inspired by the power and beauty of landscape. Who wouldn’t, with ruined castles, the mountains of Snowdonia, plus the faded grandeur of the Victorian coastal seaside towns so close to hand.
A passion for photography began in earnest in 1983 via access to the humble Pentax K1000 and an ME Super during time at Chester College of Art. These 80s workhorses weaved their magic through a photography A level, the local Art Foundation course, and ultimately a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design from Leicester Polytechnic in 1987.
A career in television beckoned, initially in London, as a graphic designer, followed by a move to Glasgow from 1990, as Michael established himself, firstly as a designer, at Scottish Television, though progressing quickly into producing and directing. Later, in freelance capacity, he went on to produce exciting work – some BAFTA nominated - for numerous broadcasters, both in the UK and further afield, particularly the BBC.
‘The Surreal Lives of Brian Griffin’ is a major personal film project that was five years in the making. Michael’s 90 minute documentary explores the career of this acclaimed British music and portrait photographer from his Black Country roots, through his 80s creative emergence, through to the present day. Completed and first shown at Derby’s FORMAT International Photography Festival, in spring 2015, the epic feature is a culmination of a true labour of love. Filmed at locations across the globe, it will imminently be made available to European broadcasters and for DVD sales.
Despite the immediacy and convenience of the digital file format Michael remains dedicated to shooting on classic film stock: “I find the slower, more contemplative process of working with larger format film cameras is a joy, with the aesthetic, atmosphere and anticipation that the follow-up chemical process creates - particularly when processing my own black and white negatives - is an additional thrill. Current equipment favourites are a Hasselblad 503CX, and an Ebony 4x5 with a Horseman 6x9 back, though I’m continually expanding my collection and trying new film cameras.”
Modern digital technology does have an important role to play, for scanning to create the high quality files required by modern web and print publishing for example. However, Michael restricts digital adjustments to the bare minimum, preferring to compose and record an image through the viewfinder, as seen, not as later adapted in Photoshop: “The idea of digitally compositing and layering at a later time, in order to create something that never really existed - whilst undeniably a form of magic – isn’t a reflection of reality, and holds little appeal to me.”
Michael acknowledges the vision and technical ability of a number of landscape and portrait photographers as his inspiration over the years, including Fay Godwin, Craig MacKay, Albert Watson, Chris Tancock, Craig McMaster, Bill Schwab, Joe Cornish and Dave Ward.
With the nearby Scottish Highlands a continual inspiration, it’s actually a step back that he sees as the next big step for his personal development - a return to print!
Michael: “It’s true, I’ve acquired a very decent De Vere enlarger, which I’m informed was previously employed to print for David Bailey! Admittedly it’s currently covered in bubble wrap, but only whilst awaiting a suitably impressive darkened environment to envelop it. I’m really looking forward to revisiting, then honing, my printing skills. I’ll then be seeking to offer this traditional darkroom space to fellow enthusiasts of like-mind. Heavenly!”
Contact Michael Prince via the website, should you wish to discuss any potential project, or print sales.