look at conceptual photo illustrations by michael maersch examples of retouching services provided by michael maersch experimentation examples at the skunkworks gallery of images by michael maersch a gallery of michael maersch's personal (fine art) work how michael maersch can collaborate with clients and colleagues
personal narrative as an animation

I had a wonderfully care-free childhood in a suburb of Milwaukee (imagine “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best”); no drama – except for the time I almost got kicked outta the Boy Scouts because one of the guys in my "Patrol" told his folks I had drawn a picture of a naked woman(! oh my). I can still remember that night our 'Scout Pack' leader came over to visit with Mom and Dad telling them I was "some sorta 'prevert' or some-tin; parents are upset..."

Thank God they sent him packing – "He's an artist".

Though my father became an avid "photo buff" when my twin, Steve, and I were born he never-once forced his hobby down our throats (though we both did indeed get our own “Brownie Hawkeye" cameras to ‘discover’ the world through a lens when we turned nine. Those 'Brownies' sat in their gift boxes for the most part – truth be told.)

In Art School I first took-up printmaking – classical press printmaking: stone and plate lithography, ‘dry point’ (intaglio) and silk screen printing as well. (I was SO into the work of Robert Rauschenberg – still am – and he was experimenting with every conceivable method of pulling editions from stone, plate or screen.) At this time an opportunity arose for a student to run the massive “copy camera” our University Art Department had set up for making photo images on sheets of film cut from 36” wide by 50’ long rolls of ‘litho’ film. I landed that job.

This provided me the good fortune to begin experimenting with “photo images”, enlarging tiny segments of photos from “feature essays” in girlie magazines – a series that resulted (as large silkscreen prints) looking more like Rorschach tests than what they actually were – zoomed-in views of ‘love goddesses’ bodies.

Later, purchasing an inexpensive 35mm film camera I progressed from using others’ photographs (magazines and newspapers for my abstractions and Rauschenberg-esque ‘transfers’ as prints); though I was somehow obsessed with a “flat”, 2-dimensional representation of what I saw through the lens – influenced by my "Rorschach" screen-prints? (I nearly always “stopped-down” to the smallest aperture available making everything in-focus, compressing foreground and background together.)

Then I discovered f/8: selective focus and depth of field – directing the viewer’s eye through space. I was drawn to reflections in shop-front windows (only later discovering kindred spirit in works by Eugene Atget and Saul Leiter) using the camera to make ‘abstract art’…

I spent over two and a half decades working as a ‘Location Scout’ for both filmmakers and 'assignment photographers' shooting for ad campaigns. (I won’t bore you with the details here – pages-worth of anecdotes – BUT suffice to say, by some wild mix of my enthusiasm, dead-set determination and a touch of serendipity I experienced 2 decades of madcap adventure plus the good fortune to meet and work with some remarkable people. Certifiably an ‘E-Ticket ride’.)

At the tail-end of my time spent in 'Production' I was introduced to a brand new tool helping me organize, edit and present galleries of images I shot with my digital cameras, Adobe’s LIGHTROOM application, a spinoff of Photoshop. (I/we Location Scouts had recently segued from using 35mm cameras with rolls of film processed by 1-hour print kiosks then taping-up our presentations for the Director that night or the next day to doing it all ourselves – camera to computer to web gallery and “I want it NOW, not tomorow”.)

While writing a book I could bring into play helping others learn the fundamentals of working with Lightroom I became intrigued by “photographs” (photo illustrations) I was seeing more often and featured on sites like AdsOfTheWorld and online directories like the Workbook, made by combining a variety of photo-graphic elements, spun into a new ‘conceptual’ reality bent and interpreted, finessed and repurposed most successfully by those intent on fooling the mind’s eye with their visions – flirting with the world as we know it and an equally-believable realm some experience only through dreams.

So, while I’m still turned on by collaboration (forging “genius” through partnership) I focus most now on fabricating ‘dreams’ of my own.


Influences On My Work

- Robert Rauschenberg

- Andrzej Dragan

- Christophe Gilbert

- Erwin Olaf

- Horst P. Horst

- John William Waterhouse

- John Everett Millias

- Vermeer (Johannes Vermeer)

- Julie Blackmon

- Terry Gilliam

- The Brothers Quay

- Phillip Glass

- Jean-Pierre Jeunet

- J.R.R. Tolkien (most especially The Silmarillion)


tetragram for on the verge


Conceptual Photo Illustrations | Photo Retouching & Restoration

My Personal [Art]Work | Collaboration | the Skunkworks

Location Scouting | the Phoenix Lightroom Enterprise