JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
MICHAEL GEORGE: A veterinarian. Hands down. There was an animal clinic not too far from my house growing up and whenever we had to take my dog in for a checkup I would peek into the back room and watch the vets use all of the nonsensical scientific instruments with wide little eyes. I have a slightly absurd love for all animals and I know I will inevitably be that guy who treats his dog like a child.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
MG: I want to live in the color tones from the show Looking on HBO. The novel TransAtlantic by Colum McCann is helping me escape from my time on the subway. Visually I have recently been falling for Jamie Hawkesworth's portraits.
JC: What are you up to right now?
MG: Right now? Answering emails in my underwear. In a broader sense I am looking forward to translating my multimedia project Portrait of a Pilgrim into a printed book. My big goal for this year is to tackle my student loans and find work that is more in line with my personal photography.
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
MG: Jake Stangel and Ryan Pfluger are both good friends and longtime idols. Without them I don’t think I would be anywhere near where I am today. Their talent shows no bounds and they’re so generous when it comes to keeping me from feeling lost in the industry.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
MG: Brooklyn, New York and it is kicking my ass, but that’s why I live here. New York is the most beautiful mess and I find myself smothered with inspiration from theater, comedy, art shows, and fellow freelancers on a daily basis. However I live right next to Prospect Park and I make it a point to find a balance between retreating upstate for a hike, running in the park, and diving into the city. People don’t think it’s possible to live here as a creative and have a life that isn’t completely manic. I like to think I break that mold.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
MG: Lock every camera you have in a fire safe for a week. Travel for a few days, spend time with people you love, and try to find the most beautiful sunset in your city. If you spend half that time feeling tortured and in pain like you might explode if you experience anymore splendor without a camera, then go to that fire safe, take everything out, and proceed as normal. If you feel relieved and rather nonchalant then you should probably give up now because there are plenty of people who need to take photographs that will leave you in the dust.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B?
MG: I thrive on community, positivity, and activism. If I were to give up now it is likely I would head straight for a career working at a non-profit fighting for LGBT rights or arts education funding.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
MG: It isn’t just important it is necessary. Being a freelancer is like living in a circle of people who are all pushing each other forward.
I did this interview what feels like years ago. Fun to rediscover where my brain was back then. Check it out!