Repeatedly hitting the road for half of the year to capture exotic fashion shows or to shoot images for national music magazines is just a glimpse into Michael Black’s demanding schedule.
Black, an advertising and editorial photographer, is set to make a visit to Penn State’s AdClub today to discuss his work and methods.
Though photography has been his full-time profession for about 20 years, Black started out on a much different path.
“When I was working on my dissertation, I decided that I wanted to do something different,” he said. “I just wanted to do something a little bit more artistic.”
Black, who is married with a son, attended Penn State for a Ph.D. in educational research, he said.
Though based out of State College, Black is constantly on the go, traveling to New York — where he lived for a number of years — every other week, he said.
Owner of Black Sun studio, he noted that advertising photography encompasses promotional shots of business products and services, such as food, cars, banking or health services. He has further done a number of cookbooks, packaging design and ads for food.
Black, who recently completed a fashion show shoot in Lima, Peru, also conducts editorial work, shooting for a number of magazines, like DownBeat Magazine. Other work he regularly produces includes studio portraits that are “very deliberate, designed, thought about, planned out,” in addition to images of an industrial and architectural nature.
President of AdClub Julianna Esposito said the photographer has an extensive portfolio separated into topics that he has shot, one of which is called “Edible” featuring food.
“This guy can make food look glamorous, and I think that he treats each item that he shoots as if it were a living, breathing thing,” Esposito (senior-advertising) said.
Other work his portfolio features includes a set of images shot with an iPhone, images centered around the theme of jazz, as well as black and white work, Esposito said. She added that his work is further marked by clarity in terms of revolution and colors.
“When he shoots people, you can tell that he really understands his focal point, and he has a focal point for each photo. He really makes the person stand out,” she said. “He also has a really profound sense of place and environment, so he sort of blends the spirit of the person he is shooting with the environment that they are in, and I think that is what makes such a good photographer.”
Black said he intends to show a range of work, but mostly images aimed for advertising in an effort to spark dialogue on how advertisers can best work side by side with photographers.
AdClub’s Publicity Chair Andrea Tinkoff (senior-advertising) said the event will take place in Carnegie Cinema (Carnegie 113) at 6 p.m. today.