Photographer of the Month: Dare'l McMillian

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Feb 23, 2019 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

We first met our Photographer of the Month, Dare'l McMillian, at a Western Michigan University press event for Phantom of the Opera. He is a Multi Media Arts Student at Western Michigan, and works as a Video Editor at the Western Herald Newspaper.We got to discussing photography, and I was STUNNED by his gorgeous photos of Kalamazoo's Asylum Lake Natural Area. His eye is keen, and he finds and frames the small details in a scene that brings it to life, even from far away, and on a screen. I couldn't wait to share his work with our Wandering Educators.

Photographer Dare'l McMillian

Without further ado, the words and art of Dare'l McMillian...

Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian
Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian

How did you get interested in photography?
I first was interested in photography after attending a one off video club meeting with a friend in college. Up until that point, I didn’t really take any pictures, let alone ever hold a camera. I loved it so much, I stayed with it all the way up until today.

Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian
Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian

How long have you been a photographer?
I’ve been a photographer for about 3 years now.

Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian
Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian

What is your favorite place or thing to photograph?
My favorite thing to photograph is nature trails and scenic environments. I try to angle my shots in a way that guides the eye to portray a sense of a discovery within the scene.

Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian
Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian

How can photographers be a part of change in the world?
Photographers play a crucial role in todays society, providing the “eyes” to any story. They are needed to bring the reality of the situation, no matter how tragic or fortunate it may be, straight to the viewer. They allow the viewer to sympathize with the situation in a way that words on print rarely can.

I believe so long as photographers (and videographers) understand this, they will continue to help create a more just and fair world.

Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian
Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian

Do you have any trips planned for the future, and if so what are you looking forward to?
A couple of friends and I are planning a road trip throughout Michigan during the summer, with the goal to visit as many small towns and cities along the way. I always love visiting little towns “in the woods” if you will; experiencing their own home-grown culture.

I’m hoping to be able to document some of their best characteristics, creating a collage of locations.

Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian

Any photography tips you want to share?
Any time you are out walking, always have an eye on the look of your environment. Sometimes when I’m walking, I’ll whip out my phone and try to get a shot of a waning sunset or a horde of birds flying overhead that I just so happen to pass by. I like to look for things like foreground-background contrast, lighting, movement, other things that made this moment stand out to me.

Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian
Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
If you ever get stuck trying to figure out what to photograph or how to exactly line up a shot, just shoot the first thing you see. It gets you out of a rut of over thinking your shot and possibly missing the moment when it passes. It will get you into the habit of just going with your instinct of what looks good.

Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photographer Dare'l McMillian
 

Follow Dare'l on Twitter: 
@DarelMcmillian

All photos courtesy and copyright Dare'l McMillian

 

 

 

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