Mikey Kay is a foreign correspondent, multi-media journalist and TV presenter. He has filmed across the U.S, South America, Middle East, Africa and Asia for news organizations including Dow Jones, MSNBC and ITV. And has presented a number of documentary/ Entertainment shows for Travel Channel,History, Red Bull TV and the American Heroes Channel. Prior to working in broadcast media, Mikey spent 20 years flying assault helicopters and strategic planning in the British military. He has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Africa, India and Indonesia. Mikey is passionate about capturing his travels via the lens, and is currently making a film for Sundance submission, capturing the life of his severely autistic brother Spence, in North Wales.
How did you get into photography?
When I left the military I decided to follow my love for photography, that I had put on ice since leaving high school back in 1992. I purchased a Canon Rebel XTi and really got back into the love of capturing moments. This was way before Instagram or Snapseed, so it wasn’t long before I was curious about how the magazines created those beautiful images. Understanding Photoshop and lighting were objectives that were quick to follow.
What attracts you to travel and adventure?
Throughout my military career I travelled, not to holiday destinations, but places where you saw people and locations at their most desperate. The looks in young children’s eyes, the ruins of villages and towns obliterated by conflict or natural disaster. Sadly I didn’t have a camera with me for many of my travels. An iPhone or GoPro to capture the intense and unforgettable moments I experienced would have been quite something. Now, I am lucky to be paid to travel to incredible locations for work, whether it be as a Foreign Correspondent, or hosting shows. My passion is to tell stories from all around the globe, about the wonderful and resilient people we have inhabiting it.
Give us some insight into your world as an adventure photographer?
I feel like there is a renaissance occurring in a good image. With the advent of video and the myriad of platforms such as Instagram where you apply a filter, the market has become saturated. But occasionally you come across an inspirational image – that cannot be created by a filter or a platform, but through the eyes and creative genius the person that took it.
How did you turn this passion into a career?
I quickly outgrew my Rebel XTi and decided to spend much of my retirement money on an EOS 1DMk4 along with a 50MM 1.2 Prime Lens. I would then hang outside fashion shows during New York Fashion week with the gang of street-style photographers. I’m six foot five inches tall so I could get a shot that other couldn’t – I was also British, so a lot of the big Fashion Editors looked at me when I called their name. I snapped a shot of the Fashion Director for Vogue Mexico and tweeted it at her. Sarah replied and said ‘I wish this guy follow me around all fashion week’. So I replied: ‘be careful what you wish for’. Sarah invited for coffee and the next week I was on a Vogue set filming and taking photos behind the scenes.
What are your favorite destinations – stories?
The Middle East and Africa – stories about the plight, resilience and resourcefulness of people. Although I did meet a hermit in Nicaragua (see photo) who had decided to give up everything and lived in the mountains dedicating his life to sculpting the side of a rock face. I ended up giving him my boots.
What do you hope to bring to your viewer?
My hope is, in this busy world where competition is ferocious for people’s attention, is to make my viewer stop, if only for a second, and contemplate what they are looking at.
What are your biggest challenges?
Most of the time it is access and threat.
What’s your biggest reward?
My biggest reward is always a smile.
How do you choose what’s next?
The stories are usually selected by the editor with creative inputs and pitches from myself.
Few words about Capture Mania Magazine?
I’ve been following the work of Capture Mania since its genesis and love the stories that the editor selects to publish. To be honest, I was honored and surprised to be asked to show my work in the publication. Thank you.
What’s your next adventure?
Next adventure – likely somewhere hot and dusty