Mike MacDonald—Teacher & Artist

Photo of Mike MacDonald by CORDY MACDONALD

Mike MacDonald is a passionate, creative force. His photographs celebrate the rich biodiversity and stunning natural wonders that exist amidst the booming metropolis of the Chicago area.

Mike's teaching drives him to continually explore and discover new ideas and creative approaches, always questioning, even the simplest of observations, in a search for fundamental truths and potential breakthroughs. These questions often lead him into the areas of cognative psychology and philosophy. As an example, Mike is very interested in how people's perception of photographic images compares to their experience of the "real" 3-dimensional world. Through this avenue of study, Mike has developed new tools and insights into composition and creativity.

This level of passion has turned Mike into one of Chicago's most noted photographers, as evidenced by his many covers and full-page photos published in the award-winning Chicago Wilderness Magazine. In addition to local publications, Mike's work has also been featured internationally in magazines like Gardens Illustrated. His photographs and instructional writing been published nationally in Petersen's Photographic Magazine and, on several occasions, in Outdoor Photographer Magazine. And, Mike is the photographer and author of the nationally acclaimed coffee table book, My Journey into the Wilds of Chicago: A Celebration of Chicagoland's Startling Natural Wonders.

With degrees in mathematics and physics combined with careers as a scientific programmer, professional comedian, entrepreneur, and nature photographer, Mike's background may seem quite complex. However, complexity is exactly the opposite of a Mike MacDonald photograph or his teaching.

Simplicity and emotion are characteristics of a Mike MacDonald photograph, which are often compared to paintings. Like a painting, that illustrates a perfect moment from the imagination of the artist, Mike's photographs communicate the emotion and experience of a perfect real moment in time. It has been said that a Mike MacDonald photograph allows the viewer to enter the scene and to experience the experience.

And, just like his photographs, Mike's teaching is based on a foundation of keeping things simple and easy to understand. Mike does everything possible to simplify even the most technically difficult or abstract topics.

Mike's photographic playground includes many wild locations across the Chicago region that are featured in his book, such as Illinois Beach State Park in Zion, Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Spears Woods in Willow Springs, Orland Park's McGinnis Slough, Lockport Prairie, and Wolf Road Prairie in the town of Westchester.

Born in Chicago, Mike lives with his wife, Cordula, near Belmont Prairie in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove.

Read Mike's Artist Statement.

Photography classes, digital camera courses, nature photography workshops, and private photo lessons by Mike MacDonald Photography & Creative Eye Workshops.

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