Everything counts when creating the best working environment
SURF'S UP: Joshua's work on display at our
City Factory office in the North West
When we choose to hang a picture on our walls at home, we do so with a great deal of thought. Whether it's a movie poster of Casablanca, a photograph of the family or a print of The Sunflowers, pictures are there to be enjoyed.
With so much of our time spent at work, our office walls should be treated no differently. Motivational posters of geese flying in a V to illustrate teamwork are, for the majority, a thing of the past. After all, the patterns in which birds fly offers little in the way of motivation. Pictures are there to be looked at, to inspire us and motivate us in much more subtle ways. In our recently refurbished City Factory office we wanted to bring something inspirational to our walls, something that reflected the island of Ireland and something that we could happily take in every day, something that would literally become part of the furniture.
In her quest to find the right pictures for our walls, FinTrU’s Head of Staff Katrien Roppe discovered the photography of Joshua McMichael - a freelance photographer based on the north coast of Ireland with over ten years' experience in commercial and editorial photography. Joshua's work had everything we were looking for and so now two of his pieces hang proudly on FinTrU's walls. We caught up with Joshua to find out more about his work.
What got you into photography?
My dad always had cameras and I loved being in charge of one and taking pictures during holiday occasions. He was very trusting of me at a young age, so I had the freedom to photograph the people and landscapes that I loved as a child.
Do you have a preference of what you shoot?
I love shooting landscapes, but I always try to get people in the shots to give them a bit of context. I feel that it helps the viewer connect with a photograph more when there is a person within the frame to anchor the picture. In my eyes, it is often people’s relationships with, and uses of, landscapes that give them their intrigue.
What is your favourite picture you’ve taken?
FinTrU actually purchased one of the photos from my favourite series so far. My particular favourite from this set focuses on the person jumping into the spray. It looks like they have just jumped into oblivion. It’s chaotic and yet oddly calming.
What influences you?
I’m influenced by the dedication of big wave surfers; watching how closely they monitor swell charts, waiting for the right time to strike all the while keeping a high level of fitness and skill in the water so they can survive whatever the sea has to throw at them. In the same way, I’m driven by fleeting moments in photography. For example, getting up at 4am for the sunrise, waiting up to catch a glimpse of the northern lights or chasing a big swell. It is conditions of the landscape that inspires me to get out and do what I do.
Why are you drawn to the sea?
No matter what mood I’m in the sea has something for me. You can throw yourself off a cliff to get your heart pumping or go for a mediative dip, the cold piercing your skin to the bones until you can only focus on your breath. As a surfer, I find myself constantly around the ocean and since I always have my camera it becomes my most captured subject. I have lived away from the sea for years while at Winchester School of Art. Although beautiful, the lack of change in the landscape bored me a little in comparison to the raw and rugged beauty of the north coast of Ireland. Here, the conditions are often harsh and unforgiving but always interesting.
How important is it to you where your work is displayed?
I hope that my images can inspire the people working around them to assess their own relationship with the local environment. I want people to be aware of the beauty and ferocity which we should all be working hard to preserve. It is important to me that FinTrU has eco-friendly values as a part of its office culture and I’m pleased to be a part of that.
What do you think your displayed work at FinTrU will bring to the office area?
My work is full of excitement with a sense of exploration and I hope that it inspires everyone who sees it to get outside and explore the amazing landscape of the Island of Ireland.
What, if any, emotion do you hope your work creates for its audience?
I hope my work ignites a desire to embrace the elements and the landscape. Inspiring people to look past the discomfort of Irish weather to seek the reward that is the beautiful empty wilderness of our coast. I hope that it allows each person to take a moment of meditation in the day, alike to plunging into cold water.
To see more of Josh's work, visit: Joshua McMichael
INTO OBLIVION: Josh's favourite piece of his own work