[This is my friend Jared Mell surfing at the 3rd annual summer solstice surf contest put on by Ross Sinclair. Each year we get together to celebrate the coming of summer. The is a one wave surfing heat where everyone enters the water at the same time. This year we had about 50 participants. The best part about the contest is there are no leashes and if you loose your board someone else can take it and start riding it. It makes for one of the most epic and fun surfing sessions ever.]
We first heard of Michael through newport lifeguard and Urban Barrels Ambassador, Ross Sinclair. After a click to his instagram feed and one scroll, we were mind-barreled. The Unstuck Man! His gallery and captions are immediately inspiring to get outside and tap into something creative. We were lucky to get a moment to point the spotlight on his life, his perspectives and his photography. Enjoy this Purveyor of RAD Interview with @TheUnstuckMan
Where are your right now?
Newport Beach, CAWhat was your most recent mode of transportation?
I went a nice run this morning. Would my legs count?
How many years have you been on planet earth?
Favorite childhood memory?
Fishing with my grandfather on the dock in front of his house.
Who has had a big impact on your life and perspective? (Any Why)
Wow. There are quite a few who have massively impacted my life but the one person who really shifted my perspective was my friend Zach, He passed away when I was 15. I think it helped me to understand how precious this human life is. I started taking photos just after his passing which helped me to slow and process many of my most important moments.
You mentioned Joshua Tree. Why do you dig the area?
Joshua Tree is incredible. There is a stillness in the air that bring such peaceful feelings. I do a meditation retreat out there once a year where I spend 10 days in silence.
What is your favorite place to shoot photos?
I really like to take photos around the beach and have found myself drawn to documenting California culture. I also seem to take lots of images while traveling. Its my way of exploring new things.
What inspires you as a photographer?
I am inspired often by movement and nature. Early in my career I was really inspired by the great portrait photographers who came before me. Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Annie Liebovitz and Daine Arbus.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Meditation. It's the first thing I do.
Alta, Newport Beach or Torch Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne.
[My younger brother and I spent three months backpacking around New Zealand. A month of that time was spent working at a farm selling fruit on the side of the road. This image was taken on our day off, We hiked to a local river about 2 miles from the farm. Those Three months spent there in New Zealand were some of the best moments I have ever lived.]
If you got on a plane tomorrow and as you boarded the plane the pilot stopped you and said, "Hey guy, you seem like you have good ideas...pick anywhere in the world, I'll fly us there right now!" Where would you tell that pilot to go?
Morocco. I have been wanting to go there for a bit and think I could make some nice pictures there.
When did photography turn from a hobby to a profession?
In 2007 right when I finished college. I came out of school shooting advertising and never really looked back.
What do you love about your career?
I love that my camera gives me and excuse to explore all the things I am curious about. I have wandered through the mountains of northern India and also watched a lakers playoff game with Snoop Dogg's family. The polarity in my life has been a wild ride.
What can't you stand about your career?
Recently I have been struggling to sell without selling out. I am at the point in my life where I want to start working with brands and people who I really believe in and like to be around. Having the patience to do this has been quite the challenge.
Favorite mode of transporation?
Motorcycle. It's like a horse but faster and every time I am on one I feel like I am going to die.
I have been real into Gung Fu Tea from Taiwan. It's great.
Favorite surfing vessel?
Probably something retro and strange. The last couple of years I have been standing up on a kneeboard that I bought from a Vietnamese thrift store in Australia but I busted it this summer.
[We went to Raglan in search of waves. We didn't find any waves but I did spot this cool car.]
Least favorite saying?
"Do as I say, not as I do"
Least favorite surf spot?
Don't have one. I love the ocean, it's my happy place.
2017 is going to be a massive year for you I heard. Why? What are you working on? I am really excited for some of the collaborations I am working on with a few different companies. I put out a yearly magazine called The Unstuck Man and this is the 4th year I have done it. I think this years will be the best so far. I am also really happy to be working with my girlfriend on projects. She is also a photographer and our minds are starting to sync-up and create some coolness.