We recently connected with Neil A Miller and have shared our conversation below.
Neil A, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today What’s been the most meaningful project you’ve worked on?
The most meaningful project I have worked on continues to this day. The impetus started slowly in the 1960’s. Photography can be a very intrusive process and overcoming the fears necessary to succeed can take a long time. What I am referring to is capturing the interaction of people living their daily lives. Street Photography as some may call it. Sounds simple but there are many variables involved and options possible that need to be addressed as they come up. It is a long learning process with unexpected encounters. The technology keeps changing and the concerns about being photographed has risen to a new level over the years. These concerns may not be in the scope of a photographer’s goals while working but can be an issue. There are times when a photographer has to confirm their ambition and commitment to continue to be successful. Overall, as the world changes, a project like this offers challenges and opportunities that can lead a creative photographer on a new path.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I was fortunate to find my future avocation very early. I have to think that 60 years later I am continuing on the path doing what I found to be my original interest. The jobs and experiences I had are what gave me direction. Starting with being a darkroom printer for a school picture photographer in high school there was a progression that continued for years. High points include thoroughbred racetrack photographer, BFA in Photography, Navy photographer, Marriage and children, College Media Specialist, Photography teacher, MFA in Photography and continuing for 39 years till retirement a TV News Videographer. Now my travels have led me to being a supporter of the photographic arts through the Arizona Photography Alliance. Each of these opportunities changed me in some way and allowed my continued growth. I should include one thing I consider helped me is the willingness to take risks. In the 1960’s besides traveling by car, my outings also included travel by motorcycle, hitchhiking and freight train. Also, for over 40 years I was part of a helicopter crew. Some of these methods of travel are not recommended these days but a lot was learned during that time.
An important part of life is having passions and interests. It is relevant to know that I have never had a good memory. Because of this photography has allowed me to permanently record in detail much of my life travels. The book Morgan Exploration is one accomplishment that has documented one of my life long interests. An important thing is what you take with you after the travels. Marriage was a deciding moment. Not knowing the future made it more interesting. Luckily my wife Marilyn had an interest in photography and I think my children have gained an interest also. The photographs taken of the family are a record that includes a range of moments significant to me and I hope to my family. This type of record has been made throughout most of the other segments of my life.
Making a living financially was mostly an enjoyable vehicle during my career. I say vehicle because it is the interaction with people and exploring the environment that gave me energy and is what I choose to carry forward. So, although I consider the various opportunities I have had in my career as very important, having the photographic record is prominent and gives me a sense of calm later in life. Organizing and showing these things did happen is a current activity that will keep me busy into the future.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
I believe the most rewarding aspect of being an artist is the freedom it offers. You get up in the morning and accept the daily requirement to survive but are able to think past the present and create. This freedom allows opportunities far beyond the requirements people place on you. It is a good feeling.
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
I believe the biggest question non-creatives have is why. All forms of art face this question at times. This response is very apparent in photographing people living their daily lives on the street. Most people accept and understand the goal of photographing beautiful or even provocative subjects. As soon as you move off tracks like that, questions can arise. As a journalist the understanding is more universal. There is an apparent purpose for the photographs. But beyond that, why would someone want to photograph people they do not know. Each photographer who works in this area has their own reasons. I look to record in an artistic way the present so it can be appreciated in the future. Photographs gain a sense of importance as time goes by. Known personalities are always of interest but what of the multitudes of humanity. They should not be forgotten.
- Website: www.neilamiller.com
- Instagram: #namdotcom, namdotcom
Photo of me – Photo Credit – Alan Pitcairn Eight photos of my work – Photo Credit – Neil A Miller