Michael McAuliffe Creative Photography
Home base cities: New York City, Las Vegas
Photography is without a doubt one of the defining passions of my life. I began my photographic explorations in high school, shooting sports, yearbook work and various locales around my native Staten Island. I began doing small jobs for local clients and realized the joy inherent in getting paid to do something which you love.
I attended the world renowned School of Visual Arts in Midtown Manhattan which gave me the opportunity to use New York City as my canvas every day on my way to and from school. In my freshman year at SVA, I began to work with the Barbizon school of modeling after meeting their talent director, Annie Watt. It was the start of a friendship that has lasted almost 40 years and now that she is a very successful society photographer, we still work together every chance we get. Once I got my feet wet with Barbizon, I began testing with the leading model agencies of the day including Wilhelmina, the Eileen Ford agency, Zoli and Elite Model Management and began to develop fashion clientele.
Both during my time at SVA and afterwards, I apprenticed and assisted photographers such as Larry Silver, Frank Maresca, Irv Bahrt, Ken Korsh, Jerry Yulsman and Eva Sereny.
Over the course of the next 18 years, I operated a commercial photography studio in Midtown Manhattan and produced a wide variety of work for both editorial and advertising clients. The breadth of my experience was very wide-ranging: fashion, beauty, product photography and still life, pharmaceutical, food, jewelry, travel and lifestyle.
Being an early adopter of digital technologies, I began working with Adobe Photoshop with version 2.0 and Aldus PageMaker version 3.0. Two decades later, Photoshop is the industry standard and PageMaker, after being purchased by Adobe was folded into InDesign. I began expanding my photographic efforts into digital design in order to offer more comprehensive services to retail clients, given that the advertising agencies I worked with had their own layout departments. Ultimately this led to the opening of my own publishing house which designed and produced various trade show publications. We started with small local retail shows and within three years or producing magazines for Comdex and CES which at the time with the two largest trade shows in Las Vegas.
Beginning in 1991, for six years I returned to my alma mater, the School of Visual Arts as an instructor, initially teaching a fourth-year portfolio thesis class and ultimately expanding into the computer arts department as well. It was a little odd at first to be working under the supervision of my department chair Alice Beck-Odette as she was in that same position when I had been a student there years earlier, yet the opportunity gave me the experience of seeing both sides of the educational coin.
At about the same time that I started teaching at SVA, my friend Annie invited me to a technology demonstration presented by Kodak. The scientists from Rochester had managed to mate a digital CCD sensor to the back of a Nikon camera. The camera featured a 256 x 256 pixel sensor and cost $100,000. My, how times have changed
In 1998, I decided it was time for another change of perspective. Having attended and photographed many trade shows and conventions in Las Vegas in prior years, I was fascinated by the stark beauty of the Southwest and the visual elements of the neon city. Upon moving to Nevada I continued my photographic and design work in a new market while at the same time being fortunate enough to maintain some of my prior New York clients. I continued my love of sharing knowledge by continuing to teach photography for five more years at UNLV and CCSN.
Over the past few years, the focus of my work has shifted more to event-based work with an emphasis on working with not-for-profit corporations. There are so many organizations out there which are doing wonderful work for a variety of causes. I consider it an honor and an obligation to help continue the work of these very worthy concerns.