When speaking with Mike V. Murphy, it doesn’t take long to notice his adventurous spirit and bold style. Mike is able to take us back to the times when life was about feeling the music and taking in the beauty of the outdoors – all in good company. A supporter of charitable causes and a travel enthusiast, Mike’s grungy and abstract artistry properly blends old school edge with modern concepts.
The Mike V. Murphy Interview
Hi, Mike. Could you share more about yourself and some of your travels?
My name is Mike V. Murphy and I was born in Rhode Island. I started my career working in film back in New England shooting indie films, music videos, and shooting both video and photos in Boston nightclubs. I moved to Idaho in 2014 to travel and live with a group of backcountry rock climbers and adventurers. While in Idaho, I was a featured artist in Boise’s First Thursday Art Show multiple times. Then I moved to Portland and started working with Mercedes-Benz. Over the last 5 years, I have lived in 5 different states.
From the busy nightlife and music scene to peaceful landscapes, which would you say you prefer most?
Both are very enjoyable and rewarding for different reasons. Shooting in clubs was an amazing experience. Being able to capture moments of true bliss and happiness of the people in attendance was an amazing feeling. Those photos will bring back memories of an awesome experience they had, and to be able to provide that service was something very special. Yet, shooting landscapes and abstract landscapes is something I couldn’t live without – being able to capture and share the beautiful aspects of nature. The biggest thrill for me is going out and discovering new places to shoot and finding the right angles and composition.
What is it about a landscape that catches your eye and makes you want to photograph it?
It is honestly more of an in-the-moment feeling. I’ll see something that sparks a feeling of awe; I’ll set up and capture that feeling. I travel to places where I think I’ll be able to capture such a feeling, plan out my trips, and keep my eyes open.
What camera and lens do you usually shoot with? And when you digitally alter photos, how do you find that sense of balance to keep viewers guessing about what’s real and what’s manipulated?
I enjoy shooting on film and developing in a darkroom, but my go-to camera is a Canon 5D Mark III. As far as lenses, I’m torn between my workhorse lens (a Canon 24-105 lens) and my Zeiss 35 mm Distagon.
I manipulate photos in two different ways. I try to do as much as I can in camera. Photos like ‘Sky on Fire’ and ‘Edge of the World’ were all done in camera. But, I have photos like ‘Forest of the Warp’ where I work on it and have a test period. I’ll work on the photo, sit on it for a few days, and come back to it to see if I can fool myself.
I love the edgy feel of “The Selfie,” and many people featured in your photos have a similar energy. Are you inspired by fashion and a certain genre of music for these shoots?
The music changes depending on the feel of the shoot, but the majority of it is trance, deep house, or 90’s era rap. On the fashion side of things, I’m inspired by two sources; Vogue: The Editor’s Eye and National Geographic.
The Pedal for the People event looked like a lot of fun. What was it for? What do you like about shooting at these types of events?
Pedal for the People is an event that takes place all over the country. New Belgium Brewing hosts it and they team up with local non-profits (at least in Boise). In short, it’s a biking and beer festival. I was working with The Boise Bicycle Project, New Belgium Brewing and two other bicycle based non-profits. This touring festival is their biggest fundraising event for all the partnering non-profits. Being able to shoot these events to help these important non-profits is all the reason I need.
See more of Mike V. Murphy’s work and try to keep up with him at www.mvmurphy.com