This maker is someone whose work I admire. Michael Taulton is a photographer with a different approach and style that speaks to me. The music that he creates is raw and personal. He’s been staying busy through the pandemic writing, producing, and releasing all of his creation. Doing all of this on his own and keeping focused on his craft. I had the chance amid all this craziness we are living through to talk with him about what he does and the rhyme and reason to it. I asked about two aspects of his creativeness, photography, and music. I am happy to share with all of you Michael Taulton.
How long have you been at your craft?
Let’s see, I’ve been an active musician- writing, recording, live shows, and all that- for just under 19 years now! When I was 15 I started learning how to play guitar, but was very interested in singing and pursuing my voice. So for my 16th birthday, my mom bought me a PA system from a local music shop in Knoxville, MD. I’m actually still really good friends with the fella that owned it! It’s not there anymore, but in October 2021 I’ll be 19 years in.
As for photography, I started shooting in, I’d say 2010? Maybe? Professionally shooting since 2015 or 2016 I think. I graduated from art school in 2017 with an associate in photography, so about 6 years professionally now.
Beyond that, I still stay creative in my free time too. I like to paint, play Warhammer 40k, and I’ll always be a gamer at heart so I get down on some PC games.
What spurred you to create?
Oh, I could write a book on this! Hey, maybe I should do that! Who knows, we’ll see!
Well in my younger years I really gravitated towards music. I loved to sing. So it wouldn’t be horribly uncommon to catch me singing along to my bedroom cd player. I really liked the emotional aspect of music, and I’ve always had a pretty wild imagination. So as a kid I would love to put in my headphones and jam, but imagine what a music video could look like for the song. And as I was growing up and into my teen years, watching music videos with friends and all, I thought “You know what, I wanna do this!” And that’s where it all started back in good ol’ Brunswick, Maryland.
Photography didn’t come until much later down the line. I was helping out my younger cousin for a school project, she was in a photography class. So I helped her with some of the ideas and it was a success! Again, another project, and she asked for my help again and we came up with this wild Dexter style scene- covered my bedroom in plastic and just poured fake blood everywhere. It was rad! From that point on I was thinking dang, that was a lot of fun, and this kinda opens a new door for me because I can take these wild imaginative ideas and turn them into something tangible. It’s like seeing your idea come to life, exactly like that. And I just thought it was so cool, and so much fun!
How has the pandemic affected your business?
Ya know, all politics aside, this whole situation was totally f***ed. But, it’s just another challenge you gotta roll with. So, did it have an impact? Yes, absolutely! Photoshoots with people outside of our household were pretty much a no-go. Live shows, also a no-go. So the whole process really changed. Instead of street marketing and face-to-face networking, it was all digital. And that comes with its own set of challenges and grinds. However, it required me to learn new strategies and new techniques so I was able to stay active in a sense.
What influence has social media had on your business?
Piggy-backing off the previous, during the pandemic everything changed, and social media became the spot for everything. Digital concerts, 24-hour music streams, I mean it was incredible. So as an artist, that is how I stayed connected to it all. I can say that I’ve had the opportunity to connect with some really talented, really great artists through social media so I’d say this day and age, it’s a huge return on investment. It’s such a great way to network and just kinda share your craft around.
About your music:
What are your main musical influences?
I’m a big Maynard Keenan fan (TOOL, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer). I’ve always found so much appreciation in his lyrical content and for a while almost studied it in a sense. To name a few others: Twiztid, 36 Crazyfists, Taproot, Not My God, American Head Charge is definitely up there, and recently I’ve been really into Grandson too. Highly recommend his jams.
Do you plan on playing live shows?
Yes, I do! My plan, currently, is to start live shows this October, so in October 2021 I’d like to start booking. Or maybe September and book for October, maybe that’s a better way of saying. I’m really excited! I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Still a few things I need to work out, being a one-man band so to speak.
Is it just you doing all of it?
Yup! Sure is! And ya know, that comes with its own set of limitations and challenges too! So doing live shows in that capacity-definitely a bit more challenging, but I’ll come up with something wild.
About your photography:
What is your favorite camera to shoot with?
Personally, I’m a Canon fan. I’m still using a Canon 60d and loving it! I’ve been rocking with that camera for the better part of 6 years. I’ll upgrade eventually!
But if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right!?
What is your creative approach?
I’m a huge horror fan, so I’m mostly shooting subjects within that realm. I like the paradox of creating something horrifying, yet beautiful at the same time. So I’m going into most shoots with the mindset of pushing the envelope. Now depending on the project that hasn’t always read super clear either. Lots of trial and error. And I would go as far as to say that analyzing and critiquing my own work is also very much part of the creative approach as well! I still look back at photographs shot close to 10 years ago to pick apart and learn from my mistakes. I’m pretty ambitious when it comes to photography so some of the ideas in the works are gonna turn some heads.
Where do you prefer to shoot?
I do enjoy natural settings, but my preference is definitely a controlled environment, indoors, studio-style setup. I’m working on transforming part of my garage into a small studio but that will take some time. It’s still completely functional at the moment! But I have a much more ambitious vision for the space so with a little time, and a little work, I’ll get it into shape.
Is this a full-time career?
That’s the goal! I’m much more focused on the music path at the moment, but I think either path for a full-time career is something I would pursue. For photo projects, I typically don’t charge anything. Still just enjoying the freedom of thought and navigating that medium without limitations. So usually, If I cast someone for an original idea, I don’t charge and I release the prints for no charge to the model. I actually can’t remember the last time I accepted payment.
What are your plans for the future of your endeavors?
Well, the rest of 2021 is gonna get wild, on July 24th I’ll be filming a music video for an unreleased track featuring a guest vocalist. More details to come on that. October 2021 looking at getting some shows booked. And some really cool music on the way! I’ve been riding the wave from a demo that was released earlier this year, but I think it’s time to get some new jams out there. Much, much more to come.
I am looking forward to seeing where this one goes. The talent, creativity, and imagination of this guy is spectacular. Go hit the subscribe button on that youtube channel and keep up to date with his journey. On his channel, you will be able to see this huge personality and new music. I am particularly interested to see what he comes up with for live shows while doing it all himself. Stay tuned and I’ll catch you at the live shows