Photographer Michael Childers is being recognized in the Duff Gallery at Cal State Fullerton from Sept. 1 to 17. The exhibition is a celebration of Childers’ stunning pictorial collection.
Childers’ career spans across 40 years and has been acclaimed by publications, organizations and individuals alike. Carrie Fisher, who famously portrayed Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” films, has been a subject of his photography.
“Michael Childers captures something noble even when there’s nothing noble there,” Fisher said. “He is visually who I aspire to be verbally. He finds the best in every person and makes it look always effortlessly there.”
Both color and black and white photographs are elegantly displayed in the exhibit for gallery browsers to enjoy. The majority of his photos are portraits, including headshots of fellow photographers. In many of the photos, subjects are consciously posing for the camera. “I have always been obsessed with the human face, and especially black and white portraiture,” Childers said.
Among Childers’ subjects are influential photographers such as Julius Shulman, David Hockney and George Hurrell. Also photographed is Andy Warhol, an iconic figure in the pop art movement. “An example of this success is working with Andy Warhol, whose name and influence allowed me to photograph some really important people,” Childers said.
Childers attributes his success to some vital qualities, including tenacity, interest, focus and a bit of obsession with the subject being photographed. “Portrait photography is a game of seduction,” Childers said. “80 percent psychology and 20 percent technique.” Although he credits talent, discipline and hard work for his success, he also acknowledges the importance of a bit of luck.
Childers studied photography at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. He was awarded the opportunity to work for the renowned National Theatre in London. He is the only American photographer ever invited to photograph productions at the historic theater.
Childers has photographed over 200 magazine covers, including New York Magazine, TV Guide, Elle, Paris Match and GQ. Childers has also received awards for his work such as the Lifetime Achievement Award for Hollywood Photography from the Temecula Film Festival, the Crystal Lens Award from Palm Springs’ Modernism Week and the Distinguished Photographer Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival. In 2006, he was named Photographer of the Year by Clickers and Flickers, an organization of photographers and filmmakers based on the West Coast.
Childers has always been fascinated by the art world. While referencing famous artists such as David Hockney and Andy Warhol, Childers said, “Their lives were so unlike mine, and I have always been captivated by that world.” His exhibition can be viewed in the Duff Gallery in room VA107A, until Sept. 17. The opening reception is Saturday, Sept. 12 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.