the von complex
Photos by Mike Von
meet l.a. based photographer; mike von.
his work ranges from editorial, architecture, cars and he is easily one of our favourite international photographers
Where are you from?
I'm originally from Baltimore, MD. It was a tough city to grow up in. I feel like in many ways it gave me thick skin and prepared me to live and work in Los Angeles.
What led you to photography?
I purchased a small Sony camera in 2012 to shoot friends and also capture life moments. The more friends I shot the more they told others about me. Shortly after word spread and new clients started to reach out. Most of my early paid work came purely from word of mouth.
Where is your favourite place to photograph?
I don't have a specific place in mind because I try to constantly tell a new story. I would say my favorite place is any recent destination I travel to. Last year I went to Switzerland and France. End of 2022 I plan on visiting a new country. Excited for the photographs I haven't taken yet.
What kind of work in photography do you do?
Mostly editorial work, products, streetwear fashion, and architecture. Having a range of things I shoot keeps me busy.
What is your biggest inspiration as a photographer?
I would say learning from a mistake. I still make mistakes while shooting to this day. You never stop learning and that inspires me.
What is the most rewarding experience you've had as a photographer?
Getting featured by Hypebae and interviewed by Unsplash for covering the racial protests in Downtown Los Angeles.
What was the most difficult or awkward experience you endured as a photographer?
Shooting the racial protests was tough. The emotion I felt, the crowds, and the police surrounding us. It was a combination of difficulties but very rewarding in the end.
What is something you wish people knew about you as a photographer or about photography in general?
I select the locations and style the shoots myself. Also many of the car photographs were not easy to achieve. It required standing in the streets and avoiding traffic driving by.
Aside from your camera what is other crucial or essential equipment you use to create your work?
Your creativity and keeping an open mind. Sometimes my subjects want to try a pose and I say go for it, let's give it a shot. Turned out to be some of my best images.
Do you have any words of advice for aspiring or up & coming photographers?
Don't get so wrapped up in having the latest and best equipment. I don't believe capturing great images is about that. Do the best you can with the gear you have. It will grow with time but for now enjoy capturing moments, making mistakes and learning from them.