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 (chrisjordan.com 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


Vacate the Shit Hole for a New Life

This is my last post to Instagram and the ‘story’ below it is my last story. When that ‘story’ expires, I’m gone.

Quoted from that last post:

This got deleted. I guarantee people will ‘like’ this post because of the image and not even read my monologue.

Think I’m gonna chunder.
Then disappear.

Shallow brainless fucken shit which is a disgrace to the profession of photography and to the discipline of art.

I want no further involvement with anyone who condones this mindless tripe.

Instagram is a scourge to me. Instagram people are addicts. Trying to have a conversation with one is impossible - they are constantly thinking about social media - checking their stories, their feed, their messages. And this picture above represents the world they are addicted to. Well you can have it. .

If you think you can have a conversation with me without needing to check your feed and you have the ability to drag yourself away from this fucked up shit hole, then find me through my website because I’m gone from here when my current story expires.

And some comments from that post follow:


It is unfortunate Mike that everything these days is related to social media and how many "likes" we can get. We have hundreds or thousands of so called "followers" of our work who are happy to see and like bastardised photographs due to puritanical social media rules, yet to see our work, unadulterated and how we planned viewers to view it, cannot get those same people to engage with our website. I also find it very frustrating.


@brad_page_photography thanks Brad. I know you find it frustrating. You’r a good mate.


You're monologue was spot on. I personally only clicked like after reading what you had to say. In fact I was taken aback by you posting the image because it is the complete opposite of who you are and what you represent. Sadly those types of images will always attract a swathe of likes simply because they appeal to the lowest form of whit.


@adam_analoguethanks Adam for knowing that this type of garbage is the opposite to my true intent. Not everyone sees that which is fine. My heart and soul with the camera lies within the work you so graciously supported when you purchased a copy of COALESCE magazine. That meant the world to me. Thank you.


Interestingly this image reminds me of a very well known “insta style” photographer :)


@turnipagenda and he’s gone.

I’m the first one to acknowledge that I’ve been part of it all and that is probably the hardest thing to accept. It just isn’t me and doesn’t represent what I do best with a camera. My true intent. So I need to now stick to that, and people know what that intent is.

And the Accompanying Story

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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

Observations From Behind the Wall

More observations from behind the wall:

Many people in this ‘industry’ turn their noses down at the concept of ‘art’. Comments like ‘how can a blurred image of an unrecognisable subject, or a photograph of a telegraph pole etc. , be called art? Or there’s also the feeling that people who call themselves artists are up their own arses.

Art is nothing more than having something to say and having the guts to say it. So whatever visual form that expression takes, doesn’t matter. If you’re only looking at the visual, you’re missing the point. Look at the idea, the concept, think about what it means to you, inside and with an open untethered mind.

One of the great benefits, in a social sense, of art is that it has the power to potentially change the way some people will think about a certain subject because the subject matter has been presented in a new way, a way that hasn’t been seen before. The viewer can then see that thing in a new way - and maybe, their opinion of the concept will change slightly. So if you feel strongly about something, anything, then say it, and say it loud.

In regards to the model photography network, there are very few people who seem to be challenging the beliefs and motives of, well, anything. If you’re happy doing that, then all power to you, but please don’t exhibit reverse snobbery against those who feel the need to challenge, and to express.
Model: @mona_gene_
Amsterdam, 2018

Like? Or Like?

New years resolution. Don’t hit ‘like’ unless I have some comment to make about what I’m ‘liking’. I don’t mind if you do the same to me 😀

I’m not preaching or dictating. Every person is free. Almost anyway. Free to do whatever they want. This is just my take, which is that if I’m not moved enough to articulate why, then my ‘like’ is misleading and not worth it to the receiver. Do as you feel too.

#nonmillenialbrain #seekingmeaningfulcommunication #pipedreams?

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Elements - Sarah

Members only content: http://mikestacey.com/members-area/elements - 44 high resolution image with photographic notes including workflow explaining how shots were achieved.

Featuring touring art model Sarah.

This shoot was down at my favourite coastal Sydney location. I know the light here well and it’s varied from soft reflective through to strong backlight and low angled sunset lighting. Sarah had expressed a desire to concentrate on her portrait modelling and these images show her versatility and skill with expressive portraiture. We only shot from 3pm to 5pm and that included half an hour or more of walking so I’m amazed at how many great images there are. Always a sign of a great model…

Read and see more in the members area: http://mikestacey.com/members-area/elements

Photography - The Difficult Art

The full article can be found in the member’s area:

A photograph is technically a literal interpretation of what's in front of the lens. With all other art forms, there is a large component of the artist in the final work, due to the nature of the medium. Think about sculpture for instance. With photography this is much, much harder to do, simply because of the realist nature of the medium.

If I'm a painter, I can make a ton of choices in terms of how I portray my chosen subject matter. Brush type, paint type, specific colour palette, abstraction or not, etc. All these choices, and the way that I paint, become a rich part of the final work which is heavily imbued with my own artistic skill and vision. 

With a camera, when I press the shutter, the image that was in front of the lens is transferred without any intervention on my behalf, through to the film (let's stick with film, not sensors). That's what I end up with, a literal interpretation of reality. It's much harder for me to insert some of myself, and my own vision, into that image, than if I were a painter or sculptor. 

So this is the challenge and this is the one big area that separates photographers out. For good or bad, whatever, it is one of the the things that creates categories inside photography. 

Many photographers find it hard to realise what their own style is. Their efforts often go into the visual side of things - how the picture will look in terms of colour or a particular editing style. But everyone else has already done that. Pretty much every different type of look you can think of  has already been done. So how do you create work that has artistic value and also reflects who you are as an individual and an artist?