We had the good fortune of connecting with Michal Kar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michal, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I always knew that I wanted to be some sort of a visual artist. When I was in high school, I’ve had an extreme flair for photo cameras. I found them as these beautiful mysterious devices. All the controls, rings, knobs, how the shutter opens and closes, etc. I liked to play with it when I was a child, even without loaded film, seemed like a ton of fun, just admiring the way it looked. I didn’t have even the basic notion of what an aperture was or shutter. I promised myself one day I’d have a camera “with all those rings”. As soon as I got my first Nikon I started taking pictures; playing with clothes, makeup, and models, props, I loved experimenting with creating my own worlds, stories, and visuals. I loved the idea of creating a fantasy world, shooting reality never appealed to me; if it did I would have become a photojournalist. I was always creative and at some point, I decided to study photography, after completing my Masters’s degree in fine arts I tried to chase my photography dream. After some time I’ve joined one of the agencies representing artists and that’s when everything kicked in. Despite my reservations about joining an agency and having my workflow change for the first time, I felt like this could be the start of something new. And that’s how it happened.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an editorial/commercial photographer working with various brands and designers to craft strong visual stories that people can resonate with. I try to take photographs that, make you look past the image itself. I’d describe my photography as a mix of raw yet aesthetically pleasing pictures, sometimes cinematic, and sometimes a little sinister. The consistent element is an interpretive narrative, a nice aesthetic, at first sight, can easily turn ugly when you look twice. The beautiful part about it is that no one takes away the exact same story.
A lot of my style is based on lighting and the fact that I shoot more and more on film now; The grainy raw look adds way more than the clean, digital interpretation of reality – there’s something unique to it. My style has definitely emerged over time. It’s something that I have consciously worked on, it’s very important to find your voice, and your visual style is a big part of that. It’s not a case of forcing something that doesn’t come naturally, more tuning into what you really like and what feels right for you, and it can take some time. I’m interested in shapes but I take most of my inspiration by observing the light. I think that’s all I’m mostly looking for. When scouting for locations I’ll literally go past all these different places and not see it until there’s a bit of light on it. There is something to light that adds an atmosphere and dynamics to the final picture. Something that is there that is fleeting as well, not everyone can get that moment. It can be details like that and things become really interesting.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When coming to LA people usually follow the most common beaten down paths like visiting : Broad Museum, Getty Center and so on. Don’t get me wrong these are still amazing places to visit but I feel like L.A has so much more to offer. It has become one of the world’s most important art cities, and I think the true uniqueness of it lies in all these lesser known places.
One of my favorites is definitely Larchmont, a true hidden gem famous for it’s unique atmosphere but virtually unknown outside of it – filled with great galleries like and The Loop, Artspace Warehouse; and probably the best newsstand in whole L.A where you can buy pretty much any niche fashion magazine from around the world. It is a truly unique small town within a large city. The Norton Simon’s Frank Gehry-museum’s with it’s impressive collection of Old Masters of French impressionists as well as as parts of Los Feliz with it’s unique residential home architectural buildings like Ennis House are definitely among my other top favorites.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The collaboration is what I really love. I can’t get enough of being around other innovative minds, it is so inspiring. You feel like you’re getting away with something when you click with your team. Like it’s illegal and nobody is there to say no. There are so many elements of my work that I just couldn’t execute without the skill and passion of the people I work with. All you need is a shared vision and your hearts and labor will fill the gaps. With that said I have to dedicate my shoutout to Andre Jaramillo – super talented director of photography and a great painter. It is an artist like him, that inspires you, we complement each other well and I thank him for creatively evolving our projects.