Petey of Strange Fruit sat down with the lovely emerging photographer and long time friend Michael D. Yates to get the scoop on what he's up to now.
Through my company, Strange Fruit, I invite people to experience creative and eclectic events that are conducive to them just being themselves. I call it Strange Fruit because we are all beautifully unique/strange and all bearing gifts/fruits from the creator. What would you say makes you ‘uniquely gifted’ or strange fruit?
Having the courage to design my own lifestyle and giving up on the packaged one.
A Memphis transplant pursuing your high-fashion photography dreams in Los Angeles, what have you learned from the change of scenery 2 years in?
When I left Memphis I knew that I wanted to live the lifestyle of a photographer, that I wanted to be surrounded by beauty and I wanted to have my hand in the creation of beautiful images. What I didn't know is that there was is an entire world that was dedicated to the industry. Many high profile fashion campaigns that are seen in magazines, advertising, etc... are produced the same way you would produce a movie, only on a smaller scale. At any given time there could be 15 or more people around the photographer just to get that one perfect shot.
Everybody wants to be a photographer, model or deejay. What makes you the real thing and not one of these lame kids with a new hobby?
Every since my mother pushed me out I wanted to capture light. I didn't know what that meant or how to make that happen until I discovered photography. I've always been a creative but in my early years I followed a life path that was not designed for me. Once we give up everything we are free to accomplish anything. I don't believe in part time, 50% or multi-tasking. If you are passionate about something you have to give it 100%, 100% of the time. If you don't give it 100%, you're just another person that's trying to multitask their dream.
What or who inspires you?
I get inspiration from people: the thing’s people do, the things people have done and the things people are going to do. One thing I do for inspiration is look at biography’s and documentaries about the people who have made impacts on society and overcome the obstacles. I also look at a lot of art and photography. Currently, two of my favorite fashion photographers are Steven Klein and Miles Aldridge. Getting stuck in L.A. traffic on interstate 10 can also be inspirational. It gives my mind time to wonder and develop ideas that stem form inspirational situations I’d previously forgotten.
You recently launched MY Red Queen Blogazine at www.michaelyatesphotography.com. What can we expect from the Blogazine?
An impact on society.
I’ve racked my brain, kinda thought I knew you pretty well, but I still can’t figure out the inspiration for the name, MY Red Queen, do tell?
That’s simple, MY stands for Michael Yates and The Red Queen theory is about evolution and human nature. I created the Blogazine to document my evolution as a photographer. This is part of what will not let my history be a mystery.
As one of your best friends, long time supporter and first model, I’ve got one more question…Who has your favorite model been thus far…..(there’s only one right answer)
There is one girl I know that can make film think it’s digital. She goes by the name of Shalishah "Petey" Franklin.
Michael is currently looking for more fashion forward and dedicated contributors to MY Red Queen. If that's you email email@example.com. Look for Strange Fruit's contributions to the very first "blogazine" and the future of fashion.