Dreamheart Spotlight #16

In the ever evolving technological world it gets harder to and harder to find individuals with the knowledge of traditional techniques.  Many times when seeking that “classic look”, it’s much more complicated to imitate using Photoshop then with a good old fashioned roll of film. 

“I have some rolls of 100 speed, and a bunch of chemicals in my closet right now. As long as there are people out there that want to shoot it, film will endure. It's will get expensive as hell, and [In the future]we may end up having to go online to research how to make our own chemicals, but people will continue to shoot film,” said photographer Michael Sullivan.  “Digital has made it increasingly simpler for an amateur to capture an amazing image. But this is a bi-product of being able to take hundreds of photos without the hindrance of having to change out rolls and rolls of film. Talent is involved, yes.”

Michael went on to say, “…with digital you can shoot as many pictures as you want and pray that the stars align for the perfect shot. When shooting film you don't have that luxury. I learned a lot while I was in college about getting it right in the camera the first time, and with limited shots. I'll be one of the first to admit that I've been spoiled by digital, but I still try to carry those lessons I learned using film with me.” 

“My father had an old Canon 35mm in the back of a closet. I still have it, and it still works and takes good pictures,” he said.

Michael’s photography career started while he was a student at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  “I had some artistic ambitions when I was in school, but as the real world loomed larger, and larger, photography became more and more of a hobby," reflected Michael.  "I got more serious about it when I got a good job, and actually had some money to devote towards my hobby. I didn't shoot for several years.”

Michael attributes his wife with encouraging him to take the plunge from enthusiast to professional. “My wife had talked about getting a nice camera to take pictures of the kids with, and we could afford it. I caught the bug again, and the rest is history.”

Michael Sullivan is a family man residing in Dothan, Alabama and is always ready for a freelance assignment.  “People. I used to do a lot of still life, and architectural type stuff. But I did a senior portrait shoot for a friend who's daughter was graduating, and I was hooked.”
Michael believes a pro must have “an eye for the value in even the most mundane object.”

One day film photography will in the end be totally replaced by digital photography, and when that day come, our vintage craved youth population will seek out photographers like Michael Sullivan; but until that day comes, Michael is willing to stick with the technological advances for sake of gigs.  “There is a quality to film that you can't capture with digital. That being said, as a professional It is more profitable to shoot digital. So I shoot film for personal, and digital for business,” he said.

Want to Know More about this Dreamheart?
The best way to contact Michael for either more information and/or booking:

Credits: All photographs taken by MSullivan Photography.  Photo #1-Teddie J Pharris(Model); Photo #2-Ryan Flynn (Model); Photo #3-Lanay Martin (Model); and Photo #4-Katie Vadakin (Model) .


  1. It IS difficult to get a true 35mm look from digital, if for nothing else than the grain is different and so is the aspect ratio straight out of the camera.

    I used to LOVE my 35mm but I admit, I wouldn't go back to it from digital to save my life.

    Besides, the ones who "spray and pray" will never truly succeed as artists -- it's an eye for lighting and posing that will make or break a photographer, no matter what medium they choose to work in.

    Great spotlight! :)

  2. NO! Photography can't go away. I like it too much. But I'll give it to you, it is a possibility.

  3. Photography won't go away but i find digital photography much better than film photography.....great spotlight by the way!

  4. I don't think photography will go away. I mean, loads of people love it (like me). And digital photography is DEFINITELY better than film photography.

    Great spotlight!

  5. Loved this spotlight! There is something so classic about taking photos and developing them in a darkroom with chemicals that just can't replace the digital way! I hope that there will always be people out there willing to do it the "old fashioned" way!

    Suz Reads


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