How to Photograph a Photographer…

This is Michael Garlington, a fellow Petaluman and photographer, who is known for his creatively dark and imaginative 4×5 portraits.

I needed to photograph him for the Artist and Farmer project that we are doing in Petaluma. But how do you photograph someone who has photographed and been photographed countless different ways?

First I did some research. I looked at all the photos I could find of Michael, and from what I found it seemed that he was always posing… hiding behind faces, fictional characters and props. So I wanted to try and photograph him without the props or the characters. Just Michael and a white background.

But how do you photograph someone who is so used to acting for the camera?

After some brainstorming, I decided photographing him nude would be the best way to go, because there is no way to hide when you are naked.

But that idea made me nervous. I love the human figure and I am excited every time someone asks me to photograph them nude, but I have never asked anyone to pose nude for me, because I would most likely never pose naked for anyone, so how could I ask that of someone else. But because Michael often photographs nude females, I thought it would only be fair if he posed nude for once. So, I asked him.

And his response, “I will. I have to say yes, because I ask other people to do it for me. So I will do it… but not today.”


I was off the hook. And we got to work… talking, setting up cameras and backgrounds, getting to know each other, and taking photos… with our clothes on.

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