My first photographs were in my early teens, I was in awe of shooting photos of the moon, trying to stop motion in sports and and "hunting" wildlife with my first camera, a Nikon FM.

In my early 20's I joined the staff of a small newspaper, mostly to help them computerize their operation. But due to staffing issues I ended up being the only one on staff with any interest in photography, so I started doing the day-to-day photography work (totally clueless!) and learning to work with black & white in the darkroom.

After a couple years of that and increasing my skill level I decided to attend Brook's Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. While there I thrived on and learned much about the technical side of photography. Returning home I shot and made a living for nearly 10 years as a photographer and graphic designer. I continued to work at that weekly newspaper and did some corporate work.

Admittedly while my photography was technically sound, it lacked creativity, passion and vision.

In 2000 I ended up closing my business and going to work in the automotive industry, not to pick up a camera and actually completely avoiding cameras for 10 years. Through that period I experienced many personal struggles and much personal growth.

At the end of that period of my life I purchased a used Nikon DSLR, but still had no vision and no idea what I really wanted to/enjoyed shooting. Then late one night I put together a little challenge for myself and sent it out to my friends and family as a way of holding myself to my challenge. The challenge was to shoot my neighborhood daily.

A fairly benign challenge to myself in an extremely plain neighborhood in Medford, Oregon led me to learn something very important... to look for small things. To look for things that people don't generally look at.

That has led me to the primary focus of my art (at least for now!).

For myself, the world is crazy and random and not always the prettiest place. It's so easy to get caught up in watching the insanity of the world as a whole that I miss the "small picture".

As part of my meditation which focuses mainly on staying "in the present" I started using my walks with my 7-year old Shih Tzu, Mackie as an opportunity to simply look. To see the small picture, to see what is laying on the blade of grass or what a drop of water actually looks like or the colors on an almost-dead plant.

When I started looking at those things it was not only calming but I found a world of subject matter appear.

I hope you enjoy my work as much as I hope it reminds people to look not so much at the big picture, but at the small one.

Feel free to contact me at michael@ml-photography.com.

Michael Leonard