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December - Michael Graf.

As a successful entrepreneur and artist, Michael founded Graf Studios and heads a team of specialists in the areas of film, digital imaging, style, design and production. His body of personal work ranges from whimsical surreal images to poignant reportage.

The digital possibilities within photography today offer many opportunities for enhanced imagery. Mastery of these possibilities though lies not only in operational skills but the understanding of why, when and how much. Michael Graf and his team work in such an environment, producing a variety of finely honed images.

He was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Photography has taken him all over the world to such locations as Togo, Benin, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Japan, throughout Europe and the U.S.A. but his home base is still Toronto.

He opened his studio right after college on the premise that art and commerce could work together.  And for more than a decade, it has proven to be a recipe for success.

 Graf's photographic inspiration has been drawn from the experiences of his life. Although he spent a very brief time enrolled in college, his craft and technical expertise are entirely self-taught.  Some would say that the key to his success has been his drive.  He believes in working as hard as possible, and then working harder than that.  His quest for excellence means that he is never complacent and is always in search of his next challenge.  When asked about his accomplishments, Graf is reluctant to comment.  Rather, he still sees himself in the infancy of his career where it is too premature to cast any verdict on whether he is satisfied with what he has achieved.  Graf's motivation comes from creating and observing his personal worlds. Exploring alternate perspectives is a consistent theme throughout his body of work.  He admits to being compelled in the pursuit of creating his own world of "What if…?".

Graf´s tool of choice when creating his alternate realities is the Hasselblad H1.
It represents stability and reliability. In his eyes, Hasselblad is the most effectively thought out and reliable system available.  It also offers the most stable platform.
He relies on auto-focus in his work. As the photographer, he needs equipment that can keep up with him.  The ability to track his characters is critical to his work and the camera needs to do that for him so he can concentrate on his subjects.

Graf is inspired by photographers like Erwin Blumenfeld, Albert Watson and his clients include Nike, Burberry, Acura, Adidas, Nissan, Budweiser, Coors, Nintendo, Coke, Toyota, McDonalds, Vespa, Pepsi to name a few. Planning is essential to him and each assignment is done with the help of his crew and producers through extensive research, meetings, and more meetings.
Graf has already received several awards such as 2005 & 2006 Archive's 200 Best Photographers worldwide, 2005 & 2006 New York Art Directors Awards, 2005 American Photography, 2003 - 2006 ADCC Awards, 2004 - 2006 Communication Arts 2006 Hasselblad Master, 2000 - 2006 Applied Arts & Archive Magazine.

To quote Michael Graf: "Digital photography is just another tool in the trade. It's part of the evolution of the craft." And mastery of the craft is obvious in the results. Take a look at his website for some inspiration: