Travelling Model Project

The Travelling Model Project documents the life of an international travelling model. The model is Aurora Sprengel or @poetic.minx ( The images and videos show an intimate and behind the scenes view of what this life entails.

A selection of images and the full version of the video above available in the $10 PHOTOSETS, CANDIDS AND PROJECTS tier

Featuring Aurora Sprengel (@poetic.minx) Video & Edit: Mike Stacey Music: Gary Clark - 'Bright Lights'

See it in full on Patreon:

Burn Brighter

I was walking in the wrong direction
I was walking like a man on a wire
Couldn't keep it for my own protection
Couldn't keep it from the fire
Stayed dead though my heart can't be dead
Stayed dead 'cause my head won't lie
Just waiting for the one salvation
The same one to make it alright…

…Break me from the chains
To keep us burning brighter…

-The Heavy

Model: Kat - one of many wonderful human beings I’ve worked with.

An Organic and Spontaneous Workflow

A short preview from a video we made for the NO HANDS exhibition. Full video on my website or Lauren’s under the NO HANDS link.

The video was made for the exhibition to illustrate how we made the pictures that were in the show. The workflow of photographer and model, and very much a process that evolved organically over a long period of time. Mainly me having to find ways to shoot a model who was continuously moving, never still but also an exhibit of Lauren’s expressive capabilities. She was clothed for this demo but of course hardly ever clothed for the rest of the work.

To do this video I had to find a way to obtain the same light as at her place, where we shot all the exhibition stills. Pretty simple flagging of light on both sides to suck light from the shadows on the side and a reflector inside out used as scrim (to simulate frosted glass) pegged to the window. Choice of window was important. Sun was direct but low angle winter sun (and it was changing which made it tricky). I was shooting this on Lauren’s fairly cheap camera and lens as mine was recording the video; but the results are just as good as using a more expensive camera.

Lauren’s website:

Music on this video was the track we listened to as the video was done: ‘Ride it On’ by Mazzy Star.

Both she and I have a whole page dedicated to the NO HANDS exhibit including videos, bios, text, BTS and more. Plus all the prints from the show are available for purchase, see catalogue at bottom of NO HANDS page. Hope you find it interesting.

Much much more new work coming from continuing projects.


As a photographer I can do no more than set up a ‘situation’. How each photographer goes about setting up ‘situations’ is more important than absolutely everything else. Not talking technical rubbish, rather an environment for the model to *freely* express themselves within. 

The expressive movement and charged facial expressions that @poetic.minx dragged from that ‘situation’ and context did blow me away.

Thank you to Bianca Wolff for this custom vintage wedding dress.

Don't be Anaethetised

I’ve received a number of messages recently from dear followers about what I do but this one from from @mara_paints has brought me back to life, breathing inspiration back into tired photographic bones. It gives me faith to #saysomething and #sayitloud if I think it matters, because there are people who follow me that are on the same page and care about the same issues. I’m not alone. Don’t be anaesthetised! I you can’t find something you want to speak about, your photography will never progress beyond pretty pictures which satisfy rather than challenge. This from Chris Jordan: “There's this kind of anesthesia in America at the moment. We've lost our sense of outrage, our anger and our grief about what's going on in our culture right now”.

I can identify with this post as an aging woman in these times! I hate getting older and I hate getting wrinkles and age spots... fuck! But artists like you help push back and shine the light on our humanity and what is important! As an artist, I don’t yet have the guts to paint what is not the society norm of beauty... but I think about it every day... and your photography reminds me that the beauty is in the soul and not the surface presentation of appearances... I will continue to try to embrace my age ... but I am not giving up the beauty products to try to reverse it!

This means so much that someone can see the essence of what I do through my pictures. It gives me the strength to continue now with projects that are deeply important to me - ones that challenge and explore social norms and consciousness. These explorations are far from model photography - in the same way that recent work has been, for example the NO HANDS exhibition with @lauren_michelle_artist

The last week I’ve been reading a lot, mainly about photographers who inspire me who are driving change in a social sense. People like James Nachtwey (@jamesnachtwey) and Chris Jordan ( and @albatrossthefilm). The next few posts will include some profound (to me anyway) quotes from TED talks that those guys have done.

Photo: my dear friend and long time artistic collaborator @biancawolff.com_ just after her beautiful new haircut. Many more images from this shoot.

Trashed Art - Project Updates

Please check here form now on for updates of my work. Project status reports for my subscribers are important so that you know how I’m using your money. The latest one is available in the following link and I will update it monthly.

My usual Instagram account will disappear tonight midnight. My commercial presence will remain as @mikestaceycommercial and there is also my arts account: @avisuallife

Am I a Puppet or Not?

It’s healthy to ask yourself this question every day, I do. Regarding the following:

Social norms say male and female body hair is unattractive, wrinkles are unattractive (ageist western culture which is now an industry), bitten fingernails are no good, neither are sun spots. So here, look at them. 
But my heart you cannot see.

Photography or Model Photography?

“I think a good portrait says a lot more about the photographer than about the person portrayed. The subject or person
you choose to photograph, the place where you position someone, the moment you capture, the selection, the editing, the use of light—all of these elements are the choices of the photographer. I think we are all (unconsciously) searching for recognition, for something we know, something about ourselves. I think that is having your ‘own style’ within the medium; the reflection of the photographer can be seen in the work.” - Robin De Puy.

This is why general model photography will never be the domain of serious and respected portraiture. Recognition for your work is based on factors extraneous to the above. ‘Likes’ and appreciation are based on socially acceptable norms for beauty (nothing to do with what makes a good portrait)

Also, as photographers we wrongly feel a need to gain appreciation from the model in the photograph. If they do appreciate it, they’ll post it on social media and you will gain more ‘recognition’ for your portrait. Again, nothing to do with a good portrait.

Viewers of model photographs, in my experience, find it almost impossible to see past the above, and truly look at the photograph to identify aspects such as those mentioned by Robin above.

With regard to all this, I feel a huge freedom from the skewed photographic views of the model photography world with my self portraiture. It’s me physically in the pictures of course, but there’s more of me in there than that.

Only one person from the model photography world has ever said they see me in my model work. Thank you Kat @poetic_minx .

Model: @anoushanou who never ceases to inspire my portraiture

The Road Less Travelled

Self Portraiture Project

My self portraiture is something I’m working almost exclusively on at the moment. It is nearly all nude, sometimes distressing, but this is me expressing myself. If you find it distressing, please just don’t look. The more expressive work, or more explicit work, will only be available in the member’s area. This is one of the things that you are supporting if you sign up to the member’s area.