Michael Hillman didn’t always know that photography would be his passion. Since he was young, Hillman would flip through the pages of surfing magazines to look at the photographs. The vivid colors and exotic locations captured his attention. Since he was young, Hillman has been engrossed in visuals.
Hillman first became interested in photography during his freshman year at the University of Arizona in 2007 after a friend’s photograph inspired him to pick up a camera. Hillman new of such prolific photographers such as Ansel Adams, but seeing his friend’s photograph made him realize that a great photograph can be taken by anyone.
“It was such a simple picture. It was a picture of a water fountain,” said Hillman. “Just seeing that picture in person, and knowing my friend, who I had known my entire life, could capture something like that, just made me realize that I want to do that exact same thing.”
Hillman started by taking photographs on the UA campus early in the morning, but it wasn’t until a summer internship at Surf Magazine that Hillman became serious about pursuing a career in photography.
“It completely changed my life,” said Hillman. “It changed my perspective on what learning is, how I treat other people, how I treat myself, how I saw myself and how important my photography was in my life.”
Hillman attributes his photographic style as “minimalist” and “surrealist.” His photographs range from commentaries on social issues, artistic and commercial. His “Pan America” photo series is a stylistic interpretation of the relationship between his now-divorced mother and father.
“All those horrible memories I kind of drowned them out with this romanticized idea, almost like a movie or commercial, of what they were to me,” said Hillman. “This project to me is kind of like this unconscious recovery,” said Hillman.
Hillman is currently a staff photographer for the UA College of Fine Arts and for the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He also freelances commercial photography and has contributed to the Tucson Weekly. You can expect to see more work from Hillman in the future here on The Range.