Who is TakenPictures?
TakenPictures is Mike Hows. I am just a normal guy with a love for photography. I studied photography in high school and in collage. Photography has been a passion of mine for half my life. For many years, film based black and white was my preferred medium. Then the day came when I just could not afford it anymore. The constant expense of film, paper and dark room supplies was killing me. It was time to go digital only.
Why do you take pictures at night & what's with the lights?
There are many reasons why I shoot at night. The main reason is so I can get more personal with my work. That is the same thing that I loved about working in the darkroom. A combination of night photography and light painting allow me to create a image that could not normally be seen by the human eye. The final product may look surreal and out of this world, but it is as real as a photograph can get. Shooting at night requires a lot of persistence, patience and consistency. It is not easy, but that is what I like about it.
I try to keep focused in three areas. Junk yards, the Mojave Desert and closed Military Installations. I will mix it up and shoot other subjects from time to time, but I try and stay focused. No matter where the locations is my goal is the same, to make use of the unused. The saying 'one mans trash is another mans treasure' would apply here. I like to bring these disregarded and forgotten places back to life. I love history and this is just my way of documenting it.
Junkyards are where I spend the most of my time. Cars are my favorite subject to photograph. The automobile has been a big part of 20th century. IMO, the classic automobile is Americana at its finest. If abandoned cars could talk, they would have just as many stories to tell as an abandoned motel on route 66.
My love for the Mojave dates back to my childhood. I have always been fascinated by its landscape and rich history. As a child I spent a lot of time in the Mojave. My parents split up when I was young. I spent a good part of my childhood bouncing between SoCal and the Bay Area. My dad loved to drive back then so he used to drive down and pick me up. On our way back to the Bay we would always drive through the desert. I used to stare out the window in awe. As I got older I started to notice more and more in the Mojave. The Mojave desert is filled with history, from the mining days of the 1800's to the great westward expansion. The Mojave is also a major focus of mine because it has lots of amazing junk yards and Military history. I hope to live in the Mojave one day.
Documenting closed Military Installations has to be the most personal subject for me. All my childhood I was surrounded by various military bases, mostly Air Force and Navy. Not a day would pass without seeing a military jet flying thru the sky. This really had an impact on me and was a motivating factor for me to serve. During my time in service most of the bases that once inspired me were being closed. When I got out and returned to the bay I was saddened by the sight of these closed bases. Not only was I considered prior service, so were they. It was almost like seeing my childhood hero murdered.
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