The first thing you should know about me is that my only fear is mediocrity, and my approach to life and work is the same — full of humor, spontaneity and a lot of passion.
While some people plan on being a photographer, I think I was just destined to become one.
I’m not good at sitting still, and in my life, I've been a firefighter/EMT, delivered babies, run into burning buildings, had people die in my arms, breathed life back into people, flown planes, learned SCUBA diving, sailed, driven a big rig, and taught myself photography in my spare time.
That part about people dying in my arms eventually sent me in a different career direction for my own peace of mind, and I chose to immerse myself in beauty and innocence and grace and romance and sensuality and quietness and...
So I had the big studio and shot commercial work that included photographing Grammy award winning singers, national ads for major corporations, documenting the Atlanta Ballet for 2 years, and traveling the country shooting portraits for commercial clients. I was even featured on CNN shooting images of Zang Toi’s fashion with Polaroid’s 20x24 camera in New York.
Today, I’m still I married to an incredible woman who became my business partner/producer, have an amazing daughter, have survived cancer, and still want to capture the beauty that is out in the world and in my heart.
After years of shooting what I had to, I now focus on shooting my vision. The backgrounds of my childhood were German Gothic Churches and Baltimore’s urban landscape and through this dichotomy, I find myself as inspired by the lush, romantic visions of Pino Daen, and Francoise de Felice as the pure expressions of life by Monet and Andrew Wyeth.
My work tends to run along the themes of Timeless Romance, Sensual Grace and Quiet Intimacy, and I explore these themes in a range of subjects including figure studies, romantic portraits, seascapes and still life.
I don’t want to shoot mages of people or things; I want to capture images about how they make me feel. Andrea says that when I shoot, it’s my heart connected to the camera, not my head. She may be right.
I hope I have the chance to share a bit of my heart with you.
Oh, here's the publication and exhibition stuff about my work I'm supposed to put on here:
Current, work is featured on over 75 book covers around the world.
Winter Tangerine, Volume 2, July 2014, featured artist, with work from “407 West Howard”.
Small Stories, a collection of images and words in collaboration with author Chuck Holmes. Self-published through Blurb Books, 2010.
Lynn Simonton, "Before the Curtain: Portraits of the Atlanta Ballet, an interview with Michael Nelson”, artist profile and portfolio feature on dance project, Photo Technique Magazine, July/August 2010
Bluestem Press/Emporia State University, Flint Hills Review, "Three Houses" selected for inclusion in of literary and fine art review publication, 2008 edition.
Mary E. Alderman, "Michael Nelson" artist profile and cover story, American Muse Magazine Spring 2001
Jeannie Moss, Artists using the Polaroid 20x24 Camera, CNN feature story with Michael, New York City, NY 1996
Earth, Fire, Spirit Pottery, Lexington, VA. Figure Studies and Atmospheres by Michael Nelson, featured artist, July 2021. Ongoing contributing artist.
Earth, Fire, Spirit Pottery, Lexington, VA. Figure Studies and Portraits by Michael Nelson, featured artist, August 2020.
MiamiMixer: Art Meets Nature, Eleazar Delgado Studio, Miami, Florida, June 2014, featured artist.
Border Bodies- Mixing Futures, April 2014, Bari, Italy, featured artist, video art: There is Power
Feel the Heat, 2008, Kudzu Art Zone, Norcross, Georgia. Juried group show.
Slow Exposures 2004, Strickland Building, Concord, Georgia. Juried by Corinne Adams, Lucinda Weil Bunnen and Susan Todd-Raque. Honorable Mention for "After the Rain"
Party Your Arts Off, 1996 Re:Sources for Photography studios, Atlanta, Georgia. Two person show with the sculpture of Ode Droit.
Before the Curtain 1995, Atlanta Civic Center, Atlanta, Georgia. Sponsored by the Kodak Corporation. Solo exhibition.