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Who is Mike Mitchell?


Mike Mitchell was born in 1945 and has lived all his live in Washington, DC.  At the age of 13, despite being very naive and unconscious about practically everything, he had a “knowing” that he would be a photographer.  His early career as a magazine photographer began before he was out of high school.  He became very successful doing covers and “photo stories” on many subjects including the Beatles. 

In 1969, at the age of twenty four, in the throes of a crisis of emptiness and depression he experienced a mystical awakening facilitated by a novel by British author Charles Williams and consummated when he shined a flashlight on a rock in the moonlight. An amazing photograph was produced as a result and his entire life was reordered around a new center.  “You cannot have such a direct experience of the Divine and not realize how desperately the world needs more of it.”   As he continued to photograph light, the magazine photographer became an art photographer.  His photographs were soon shown at a photographic art gallery in New York.  This was followed by a museum exhibition of a second body of work, “Other Lights,” at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1977.  Despite very positive reviews which acknowledged the deep mysticism in his work, he had another “knowing:”  it just wasn‘t his time yet.

So in order to make a living, he went into the alien world of corporate and advertising photography.  After 26 years, a stretch of very lucrative assignments in 2004 told him he had “graduated” from what actually turned out to be a necessary part of his higher spiritual education.   Shortly thereafter when he read a poem by Rumi entitled “The Real Work,” it seemed as if another Sufi poet, Hafiz, was singing in his head:

“You know what your work is. 
You are a language in which Light can speak.
You are a tree on which Light can grow flowers.
You are a house in which Light can dwell and host wonderful parties.
You are a parchment on which Light can draw maps for the soul.
You are a bow with which Light can shoot arrows at the heart.
You are a donkey on which Light can ride into Jerusalem.”

Energized by such a clear mandate, he knew the time had come to return to art.  He began to learn how to invite light itself to author the forms in his photographs.

Mike has appeared on Integral Naked:


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