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Who We Are

Fiercely Curious is an online art & design collective based in Brooklyn.

We believe in connecting directly with the artists and designers.

erin@fiercelycurious.com

Micaela Walker
About Micaela
Born and raised in Manhattan, Micaela left briefly to pursue photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. She studied abroad at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, which would spark the first of many return trips collecting vibrant imagery of the terrain and the people who inhabit it.

While capturing the world around her, Micaela Walker served as a freelance editorial photo editor for Hearst, Condé Nast and American Express and as a producer for photographers at Art + Commerce.

Micaela’s work has been exhibited at the Blue Leaf Gallery in Dublin, Stricola Gallery, CBGB's Gallery 313, The Griffin Gallery, Hope and Anchor, 718 Gallery in NYC and at Stream in Andes, NY. Most recently her prints were auctioned off for a benefit in Savannah, GA to Aid the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

Having traveled to Alaska, Liberia, the Dominican Republic, Paris, Vietnam, Japan, the Czech Republic, Northern Michigan and Mississippi, Micaela is relentless in her search for subjects to inspire and fuel her passion for photography.
Micaela 's Process
Discovering the subject that I want to photograph is, in many ways, the crux of being a photographer for me. I rarely set out with a specific image or subject in mind; it's the process of discovering the subject that is so magical to me. Rather than looking for a person or object or place, I am always looking for light. I am often waiting for it, I rarely make my own light except perhaps to tweak something small. To choose a subject and set up lights and decide exactly how everything should look feels to me a bit like wrapping your own birthday present; It takes away the collaboration with the universe that really drew me to photography in the first place.

There also has to be something transient about the moment. If I can go back and take the exact same photo at the same time the next day I'm not really so interested. I am ecstatic when a certain light reveals to me a certain sliver of a person, or some dirty dishes stacked just so. To me photography is an investigation, a discovery of something briefly revealed through light. Creating an image is a surrender of control. I have to have faith that my eyes will see it when I am ready.

Art by Micaela


In conversation with Micaela

Erin: What are you curious about?

Micaela: Mostly about how things relate to each other - photographer to subject, familiar subjects vs. new subjects, subjects to light, light to shadow, shadow to texture, etc. I always seem to be drawn to dueling elements.
Erin: Describe your art and describe your process.

Micaela: I make images from color and light and people, mostly. My process has changed so much over time, but honestly now I am working much the same as I did when I first started taking pictures at 12 years old. For a long time I struggled to have a structured process with a goal - i.e. an end user, a magazine or a show- before I started shooting, like an assignment photographer, and I found that what I really love most is discovering a subject organically. The more scripted the goal, the less I enjoy it and the more I feel like a trained monkey. Now I photograph anything I see that I am interested in and I take a lot of pictures. I try not to think about what the end result of the photograph will be, but just be very much in the experience of seeing at the time (although I am not always so good at that). I am an editor by trade so a lot of my process comes in seeing the images later. I often love the new relationships that come from putting different images next to each other.

Erin: What inspires you about Brooklyn?

Micaela: It’s a cliché, but Brooklyn is the whole world in one borough. Everything and everyone is so randomly crammed together. Also the light here between 4 -7 pm depending on the time of year is the best.

Erin: Do you have a fantasy alter life?

Micaela: I used to spend a lot of time in my twenties banging my head against a wall because the fantasy life I imagined for myself wasn’t working out the way I wanted it to. Since then I have been through a lot. I had twins, a healthy boy and a very sick little girl who died after 18 months. It was the hardest 18 months of my life but one thing I really learned is that your life and work can be so magical and wonderful if you let go of fantasies and live in the life you already have.

Erin: Name something you love, and why.

Micaela: It’s an obvious answer, but my husband Sam. We met at the Glasgow School of Art when I was 20. You know how they say “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well, it’s sort of the same with artists, especially in the US where art is seen as a frivolous hobby, unless you are at the top end in which it’s seen as a tradable commodity. There is a real lack of understanding of why you would spend so much time and energy on something that can’t be instantly monetized. You really have to have a supportive partner if you are going to devote your time to something that you need for your soul regardless of recognition.

Erin: How did you get into photography?

Micaela: I grew up in Manhattan. A family friend who was an avid amateur photographer gave me an old Zeiss 35mm when I was 12 and I was hooked. I shot constantly throughout junior high and high school and then went to Rhode Island School of Design for photography and to the Glasgow School of Art.

Erin: Does your work reflect your pleasure or pain?

Micaela: I hope both in every image because there is always a little bit of both in every subject. If you capture just the pleasure it looks like advertising. If you capture just the pain it looks clinical.

Erin: What is your dream project?
Micaela: Send me any place new with an unlimited budget and no specific goal other than to make a book and a website of images. I would love to go to Wyoming, Montana. I also always wanted to do a book of portraits of people who all think they are the messiah/Jesus/etc but working with schizophrenics involves lots of red tape.

Erin: We spotted a photo of you and our other artist, Cecelia together as children. Can we show it and can you describe it?

Micaela: Ha Ha! That photo is of us when we are 8 years old! We met in the third grade when she moved from North Carolina to New York and we clicked instantly. In a lot of ways we are very different people but we both lived in our own heads perhaps more than other kids our age. We spent a lot of time as kids making up elaborate fantasy worlds and drawing and making stuff. When we were teenagers she took a darkroom class at the old ICP on the upper east side and I used to sneak in using her ID. She taught me everything she learned in her class and then I would go in and try to develop and print. Also, I was in love with Madonna, hence the neon hair ties.
Two of the Fiercely Curious artists, Cecelia & Micaela circa 1984
Erin: Tell us about your accident with a horse driven carriage in the Amish Country.

Micaela: Sam and I were in Pennsylvania camping. We were staying in a campground right next to a newly fertilized field which was unbearably rancid so we went for a drive. On the way back we were stopped at a T junction when a teenage girl in a horse and buggy careened right into our car. She was dragged over the windshield and the buggy ripped the bumper right off our car. I jumped out and chased after the girl who was still holding on to the reigns and being dragged through the weeds. She finally let go and got up and she was all scraped up but otherwise OK. The horse and buggy kept going down the road. I felt a little like Dorothy in Munchkin Land. Suddenly all these little Amish kids appeared from the shrubbery. An Amish ambulance appeared (which is just a normal ambulance, FYI) The girls mom and dad came to give us their insurance (yes, they have auto insurance). It was strangely like any other teenager getting into an accident with their parents’ vehicle. They couldn’t believe that we weren’t angry about the car. I had been so relieved that the girl wasn’t seriously injured I really hadn’t thought about the car! We drove home with the bumper strapped to the top of the car. The woman at Geico said it was the best accident story she had ever heard.

Erin: We hear you like to make Halloween costumes- what’s your favorite creation?

Micaela: I have tortured the dog with many an elaborate costume. Oscar the Grouch. Queen Elizabeth. Carol Burnett as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, complete with curtain rod. But, I think probably the cleverest was when my son Roan was about 16 months old and I dressed him in all white and then gave him a bowl of beets to eat before we went trick or treating. It was so freaky. He looked like a little tiny Hannibal Lecter. I even made a video of him inspired by “Sleep No More”.

Erin: What’s your greatest skill that no one knows about?

Micaela: Singing - mostly in the shower.

Erin: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Micaela: Doing stuff and having a life are not the same thing - from my mom.

Erin: How many cameras do you own and what do you use them for?

Micaela: I am very much not a “techie” photographer. I still make horribly stupid mistakes while shooting because I am not paying attention to my camera. I will use whatever camera I have at hand - my iPhone, for example. I used to shoot with a Pentax 6x7 but when digital photography came out I never looked back at film. I shoot portraits with my 5D, but since having kids I rarely have 2 free hands to shoot with so I mostly grabbed my Canon D10. I just bought a Fujifilm X20 and I love the images but to be honest I’m having a hard time getting used to using both hands again! I think the less stuff between me and the subject the better.
When I used to shoot events there was always some guy who would want to talk shop with me - what lens was I using? Did I like the new Canon XFTXCKY6000? Blah blah. But they never talked about, say, approaching a complete stranger on the street and asking to take their picture. For me that is the best. It feels like you are asking someone out on a date every time. You are a little crushed if they say no, but a little in love if they say yes. Or shooting something that a thousand people have shot before but you find a way to see it in a new and personal way. For me it’s all about those experiences and not the equipment.
Erin: What’s the most incredible place you’ve visited outside of the U.S.?

Micaela: I can’t pick - The place I want to revisit most is Japan. The most intense were Liberia and Vietnam. The most beautiful, though part of the US, is Alaska. Probably my favorite place on earth is Sutherland on the North Coast of Scotland.

Erin: What’s your favorite bar in Brooklyn?

Micaela: My back yard in front of the fire.

See all of Micaela 's work

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