A UK based photographer who travels widely. Recording my observations, impressions and perceptions into Black & White Reportage or Conceptual style images.

Holds workshops for small groups of people or individuals who are just starting out with photography and wish to understand how to capture what they see.

My work is predominately Black & White. Using a Leica MM with a 50 mm Summicron as my preferred lens I create images that reflect my view of a situation or place. I try to create images that are more than just a pure record, but have an element of drama, energy, humour, intrigue or raise questions with the viewer. I prefer not to label myself as a street, documentary, or travel photographer or attach any other label. I prefer to go back to the basic concept of photography.

Locke.-Michael J-3 Uomini Strada, Florence

I am a photographer, I “Draw with Light”. Without Light, Shadow, Design, Structure I have nothing. Timing, or the “Decisive Moment” as Bresson called it, is when those elements come together and allow me to create an image. By being aware of my surroundings and possibilities, and being prepared, I increase the chances of capturing a strong image. I usually have an idea or envisage how I want the final image to look, and treat the DNG files out of the camera as a start point for that final image.

My style of photography has evolved from practising different genres such as landscape, travel, and sport, as well as spending several years as a weekend wedding / portrait photographer. I have also previously spent time documenting a Master Farrier, a Master Stonemason, and a Falconer at their work.

A series of projects on people who practice dissapearing crafts is in the pipeline for the future. If you know of anyone who would be interested in being photographed, please ask them to contact me.

Today, I walk, I observe, I capture.

Clock series 2

My style has developed into basically three methods. (a) Find a scene with Light and Shadow, then wait for a subject to move into the scene. (b) Position myself so that my selected subject walks into my pre-focussed capture zone. For this method I have the camera to my eye before and after the subject walks through my capture zone. (c) The candid/snap shot, where I have the lens set on infinity so that I only need to rotate it one way to achieve focus. I know a lot of photographers use a wide angle lens and large DOF for this candid type of work, but I prefer a shallower DOF and the 50mm to help seperate my subject from the background.

I gain inspiration/influence from studying the great artists and their paintings. Also photographers such as Ralf Gibson, Don McCullin, W Eugene Smith, Elliott Erwitt, Andre Kertesz and of course Bresson.

Two books that I found extremely useful are, “On Being a Photographer” by David Hurn & Bill Jay, and Magnum “Contact Sheets”

Two people who have helped me develop are, Adam Marelli, a New York Artist Photographer, & Leica Acadamie Instructor, and Stephen Bartels of Stephen Bartels Gallery.

My style and method of working fits in very well with my travels which are based on interesting places my wife and I like to visit for short holidays. I often hear photography and holidays do not mix. For me they do, I will often take a walk for an hour or so while my wife relaxes where we stay, and I always carry my camera when out and about.


I am a non-provocative photographer, I try to respect people and their customs, and just blend in to the surroundings. I do not rush in and stick a camera in their face, but just move slowly and quietly into postion and exercise patience. I very seldom interact with the people I photograph, pehaps a nod and a smile, I seldom try to talk with them as my language skills are very poor. I am often with my very patient wife which helps as I think people view me as less of an intrusion/threat. Above all I try not to appear furtive or secretive, just a curious and inquisitive person who is interested in them. I have only had one negative reaction in Marrakech. No problem, just quietly walk on. My method of working allows me to have several projects or themes running at the same time. I currently have three main ones running at the moment which are;

“Revealing Shadows” a project around how shadows often reveal more about us than we think.

“Consumerism” a project where I am trying to convey the darker side, how people can be seduced into spending more than they can afford, and so easily slip into the despair of debt.

“Theme of 2” a more lightheated project based on two people or multiples of two. These people do not have to be a couple, but have a tenuous link that connects them in some way.

Recent awards etc,

Featured in B+W Photography Magazine.

Finalist in TPOTY “Monochromal Portfolio” 2013

Nominee in 8th annual Black & White Spider Awards.

Honourable Mention plus 3 Nominees in 9th annual Black & White Spider Awards

Reviewed by Andre Zocchi on




Twitter             @LockeMichaelJ

"Sadow Columns"