Florida musicians have a talented advocate working quietly in the background at bars, festivals, and other venues. Mike Hamilton is becoming the persona grata in the world of Sunshine State music, and he’s drawing well-deserved attention for the many images he’s shot of musicians working in different genres. The first time I saw Mike, I had no idea who he was.
He was shooting photos of Rebecca and Jennifer at one of their gigs. Later he posted some pics on Facebook and it was obvious he has a good eye for composition. I saw that he was photographing different bands, and I became interested in his work.
Wednesday night Mike came out with a friend to hang with us at Brick Oven Pizzeria where Rebecca was doing a solo show. I told him I wanted to write about him and I asked him a few questions.
Mike was born and raised in Jacksonville. He got into photography by way of music. He’d done some vocals with a band and someone suggested he should also consider doing photography because he’d done such good photos of the band. One thing led to another, and he began to get serious about his work in visual art.
“I love capturing moments,” he said. “Doing band photography, trying to create that perfect image.”
Mike still does vocal work sometimes, but it’s obvious his passion for photography is right up there with his musical inclinations. He doesn’t just do band photography. He also does weddings, personal occasion shoots, and the customary work most photographers go after. He’s proving to be an excellent videographer as well.
Mike did photos for Rebecca’s wedding, and he also did the video. I didn’t know what to expect when we all sat down to watch the video for the first time weeks after the wedding. By the end of that video, I realized just how talented this young man is. He not only has a good eye for composing photos. He also has a great amount of talent in shooting and editing video.
Mike is a modest fellow. He’s not one to brag, but if you look at his work, it’s immediately obvious he can go far with this if he chooses. He has a great sense of humor too. Last night as I was about to snap a shot of Rebecca, he told me to hand him my phone. In seconds, he produced a great photo I wouldn’t have been able to come close to. He laughed when I snarked at him for doubting my own admittedly less than astounding photography skills.
Florida musicians are fortunate when a photographer, or any other creative, takes an interest in their work. I’ve often said North Florida’s music community is our best kept secret, and it is. On any night of the week, you can find quality live music here, and the community is about as diverse as you can get. Name your genre and you will find it here if you seek it.
I look forward to following Mike’s work in the future, and I’m hoping we can do some video shoots. I also plan to talk to him about a book I’m doing.
Working in the arts field can be a lonely, thankless job at times. I thought, considering all the great photos he’s done of the Crazy Daysies and other bands around here, the least I could do is formally say thanks. He certainly deserves it.
To learn more about Mike or ask about getting your own event photographed, visit his This Guy Multimedia page on Facebook.
[Note: The photo Mike shot of Joshua Knight and Rebecca Day shortly after their wedding ceremony is one of my favorites from that day. ]
(Kay B. Day/Jan. 17, 2019)