Mike MacDonald

Mike MacDonald—Artist & Teacher

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

His teaching also drives Mike to continually explore and discover new ideas and creative approaches. Mike is always questioning, even the simplest of observations, in a Photo by Cordy MacDonaldsearch for fundamental truths and potential breathtroughs. 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 have have been published nationally in Petersen’s Photographic Magazine and, on several occasions, in Outdoor Photographer Magazine.

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 wildlocations across the Chicago region 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.