“Alpha” has many meanings. It is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, indicates the beginning of a series, and signifies dominance within a particular group. It is typically the brightest star in a constellation, yet it is also the early testing stage of software development. The fluid meaning of the term, Alpha, is an appropriately symbolic representation of a multifaceted artist and designer like Michael Paul Young.
No stranger to innovation, Michael has enjoyed an incredible amount of success over the course of his career working as a programmer, an artist, a designer, a director, a producer, and a photographer. He carries a camera with him wherever he goes, finding inspiration through the simple act of breathing fresh air, free from the constraints of his office. “The camera is the way for me to stay creative while not in the studio,” he said.
While Michael has always taken an interest in photography, it became a much more significant undertaking as his first child grew in age. “I wanted to take family photos that didn’t suck,” he admitted, choosing to approach the process of family photography as he would his personal artworks. “I hate group photos,” he said, adding “I like candid shots and not asking my friends or family what to do, those are my best shots.”
When he’s out capturing the world through his lens, it’s not uncommon for him to enter what he calls “creative weirdo land,” photographing plants, signs, LED displays, lights and light fixtures, surfaces, and anything that sparks his interest. In fact, much of the photography shared through Alpha are outtakes from family outings or his travels. Michael enjoys the process, always seeking to try something new even if he’s in a location that’s already familiar. “If I was to visit the same shopping mall in the city,” he explained, “I think to myself, ‘This place is the most uninspiring place, what could I shoot here?’ That can be challenging, but that’s when I look at the closer details, look at things from a more macro eye than the overall picture or setting.”
The macro photography included in his Beach Botanicals collection is a testament to his methodology. The series offers a fresh, imaginative view of our planet, one that most of us would certainly miss if we focused only on the larger setting around us. Delicate flora, still life moments immaculately preserved in suspended animation, immerse the viewer in a world that is as familiar to them as it is foreign.
Beach Botanicals offers 14 high-resolution TIFF files of tropical beach vegetation, shot on location in Southeast Asia. These stock photos are well-suited for use in countless mediums, including website designs, book cover layouts, motion graphics, backgrounds, and presentations. Beach Botanicals is on sale right now for 43% off of its regular price through January 31, 2017.
Cactus Garden invites the viewer on a grand tour of succulents grown in a temperature-controlled greenhouse atmosphere. Many of the images included in this stunning collection take on a rather architectural appearance, almost as if nature itself tried its own hand at mimicking man-made structures. The contrast between intricately-patterned spines and soft, verdant flesh serves as an eloquent reminder that life will always find a way to not only flourish, but thrive wherever it is planted.
The 40 high-resolution images in the Cactus Garden collection are ideal for a variety of projects that include book cover design, websites, motivational imagery, backgrounds, presentations, and botanical or desert science concepts. Through January 31, 2017, Cactus Garden is on sale for 36% off of its regular price.
Taking a turn toward the abstract while further exploring nature as a theme, Michael’s Dark Waves collection presents 24 high-resolution black and white photographs of ocean waves. An ominous undercurrent permeates this series of images, a dramatic juxtaposition of grace and menace that is pulled to the surface through their monochromic expression.
The Dark Waves collection is useful for displacement and texture maps in 3-D, book covers, presentations, backgrounds, website designs, videos, posters, and variety of other applications. This collection is on sale for 36% off through January 31, 2017.
Abstract Botanicals offers an assortment of 44 high-resolution images that explore a darker and more subdued expression of plant life. Taken at a botanical garden in Asia, these breathtaking photographs illuminate shapes through the use of shadow, creating a dramatic and spellbinding atmosphere.
Images from the Abstract Botanicals series are excellent for presentations, botanical science projects, book covers, website design, motion graphics, and backgrounds. Through February 15, 2017, this collection is on sale for 36% off of its regular price.
To see more of Michael’s photography, visit Alpha’s portfolio on YouWorkForThem and keep an eye out for future additions. Much of Michael’s photography presented through Alpha are driven by specific themes or ideas. These days, he’s focused on cropping his subjects more tightly during the actual shooting process. “I found once I started shooting full frame, I started cropping my images for the best compositions,” Michael told us. Now that he’s discovered his favorite focal lengths and compositions, he intends to get it right from the initial shot. “I love getting right in on things and people,” he said.
It’s a talent of his, to be sure. You’d never guess that the photographs in Alpha’s 50 Ice Images were taken during a leisurely dinner of sushi and sashimi, served on a bed of the very same ice that forms the subject of the entire series. Clearly, there is beauty to be found in the mundane – if, like Michael, you know where to look for it.