Five years ago this spring I launched this site with the hope of showcasing my photography. It's a hobby, but its also one of the art forms I use to express myself. It's been five years of learning, and five years of growing, and five years of change and of presenting my work here in ever changing formats.
The 2013 Summer Series is called Five because its about the past five years, but its also about the power of place. I am primarily an architectural and landscape photographer, and the goal of any project I take on is to capture the essence of a story - with photography its more times than not about place.
Five is also about the power of the past, and how the past shapes our future. Throughout the summer, I will revisit some of my favorite locations and ideas from the past five years, adding to each, as part of a concentrated series of images that will hopefully (in turn) capture the essence of what I do as a photographer. I couldn't be more excited to share it with you, and to finally reveal it here.
Thanks for joining me on this little trip - here's to the power of place.
May 9, 2013
The Secret Garden
Welcome to 2013. The first finished project of the new year has arrived, in the form of The Secret Garden
- an expose of the ethereal natural beauty of Central Florida's Bok Tower Gardens. It is a fascinating place, and is archetypal of everything that this year will be about here at Worthington Photo.
In 2012 I was able to finally open the Worthington Photo Official Store, courtesy of Instacanvas. I was also able to publish more images than I ever have before - including The Long Road Home (The 2012 Summer Series)
- which is the biggest photo series I've ever completed.
2013, though, is going to be very special. It marks 5 years of Worthington Photo. It also marks a change in editing process from iPhoto to the more powerful Aperture, and the gear has changed, too - from the Rebel 350D to the 550D, which supplies ten more megapixels than its predecessor.
Looking forward to a great year. For now, come along with me... to
There is always an ending. As an artist, I work in "seasons". Typically, I produce new work in all my chosen formats from February - December. This year has been an incredibly busy but successful year, and the time has come for a brief hiatus from Worthington Photo.
I'll still be around, but there won't be any major new photo series between now and spring 2013, when "Five" launches. More details about that exciting project are forthcoming.
Here are some of the milestone events that took place for me this year in my photography:
All in all, 2012 was the most exciting year in four years of pursuing photography as a hobby.
I will see you all in 2013, with some brand new work.
Cheers and Happy Holidays!
Worthington Photo, Proprietor.
Worthington Photo Presents "WEST"
One must always eventually return to their heritage. For me, memories of traveling the western United States by car are as relevant today as they were when my family and I made them ten or fifteen years ago.
You see, it was out in the west that I grew up. It was here, in the stark landscapes and the magnificent, demanding canyons that I spent my childhood. I was born and raised in Colorado, and our vacations often included forays to Florida to see our family here and visit Walt Disney World, but more often they included driving excursions from the Rocky Mountains out to Utah, to spend time hiking and camping, climbing, and falling, in the various National Parks. My favorite place to visit as a kid was Disneyland, but my favorite natural wonder was and remains Zion National Park.
This new photo series intends to capture the grandeur, the importance, the spirit of the West. Aptly, that is also its name. The images I will share with you evoke for me visions of the great explorers, crossing a hostile desert and witnessing the power of nature unfold before them on the mesas, in the canyons, and along the desert highways.
The new series will feature 2 parts: the first consists of the National Parks and the wonders of the West. There will be 8 or 9 installments there, including Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Bryce National Park, Zion National Park, Route 66/Hoover Dam, The Grand Canyon Caverns, Four Corners and Bedrock City, plus an introduction.
The second part of the series will consist of 12 installments, each one the story of a different hotel in Sin City - Las Vegas, Nevada.
WEST was captured in August 2012 during a family vacation. We drove 2,000 miles, and now thanks to the wonderful marvel of modern technology, you're about to see everything we saw!
I hope you will enjoy WEST as much as I have enjoyed creating it for you. The series begins on Tuesday, August 28th.
Postcards From Mary Blair
What if I told you that I found a shoebox full of old photos that were sent to me from Mary Blair? Yes, the lead designer for "it's a small world". Would you believe me?
That's the concept, anyway, behind the new photo series Postcards From Mary Blair
... and on that note, art does not have to be perfect. This website is meant as an ever changing experiment, and anybody who doesn't like what they see here doesn't have to stay.
My goal with Worthington Photo has always been to capture the world around me in a way that is distinct, unique and exciting. I think this series, and some of the recent Instagram based series like The Fairest Of Them All
and An Aura Of Foreboding
achieve those goals.
I am not interested in feedback, especially if it isn't constructive. It's never been a goal of mine to use this website as a place to become a better photographer. Sorry if that upsets you.
The internet is a big place, and nobody said you have to stay... but if you want to ride with me, stick around, because it only gets more interesting from here on in. Enjoy it for what it is.
My only job here is to give you something pretty to look at - so hopefully you will like what you see!
Thanks as always,
The Long Road Home
It's time again for The Summer Series, and I couldn't be more excited about this year's project!
The Long Road Home is a tribute to one of the most vital American ideas, the highway. So much of the culture of this country is built around the road, and so much of what we know comes to us as a result of the great mythology of the American Highway.
The thematic concept of this project came, primarily, from listening to rock and roll in unhealthy amounts. Nowhere does the spirit of the road come through more than from the touring acts that travel these highways every year, and I wanted to do something unique, so this theme seemed to fit.
Speaking of unique, I am very excited to announce that this project is a first for me: Small Format Digital. Instagram is changing the way our generation takes and shares photos, and their filters are out of this world. I wanted to utilize their fantastic artistic system.
Later, a friend introduced to me the fun and free spirited iPhone editing suite called Snapseed, and the look and feel provided by the effects therein provide another layer of look and feel to the images you will be seeing in The Long Road Home.
There will be 2 installments a week in May, 4 total in June, 4 in July and 8 more in August. The series will run here from May 9 (today) until September 1, and after its over I'll be trying a first for Worthington Photo with its contents, so stay tuned for more information about that!
Thank you all for your continued support. I hope you enjoy seeing this series as much as I have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, creating it.
Fulton Street Blues
A new series is live today, Fulton Street Blues. This one, like most of the series that get published here, is special. The area where this series is shot is technically a free standing movie set, like an old fashioned Hollywood backlot, but far more structurally sound and with a much higher attention to detail.
Fulton Street is part of the New York City set at Universal Studios Florida. A long time ago, when I was in college, myself and a few friends spent a good deal of time in this area of the park with our cameras, capturing images of the fantastic architecture for our beginners photography class.
Though my thesis was actually a series of photos taken up the road in the now defunct Amity Island (see here
for more), Fulton, New York, Water and Delancy Streets were all a major part of my coming of age as a photographer. It was on these streets that I first fell in love with architectural photography. It was here that I took my first photos that I'd really consider "art", as opposed to just the capturing of moments and memories.
While on this shoot, I told my very close friend who was accompanying me about staying in the park until the late hours of the night, two or three hours after day guests had left, photographing the empty streets in the middle of the freezing Floridian winter. Those are experiences I wouldn't trade for the world, because they taught me about the value of images like these.
Everything I do here at Worthington Photo is part of a journey - a spiritually enlightening experience that has spanned almost 8 years (though this incarnation of my home on the web has only existed for 3), and this series is no exception - except in the sense that its even more special, because it takes me back to the place where, in a sense, it all started.
Fulton Street Blues is also some of the last work that will be published before the new Summer Series rolls around. Look for more news soon, and a tentative (and traditional) launch date of May 10, just like with Worlds
Thank you all (if any of you are out there!) for continuing to view my art. I hope you enjoy it!
On January 2nd, JAWS: The Ride at Universal Studios Florida took its final voyage through Amity Harbor. This iconic attraction was a benchmark in the way that themed shows were designed, and it featured some of the best animatronics and the finest story pacing seen in theme parks up to that time.
As is the inevitable path of progress and due to the advancements of technology, JAWS will no longer be attacking visitors, and its a sad thing in many ways since this is one of the final opening day attractions (sort of) and the last of Universal's "Big Three" - the ones that were designed and built to "Out Disney Disney".
Along with Earthquake: The Big One and King Kong, Jaws signified a departure from the traditional, family friendly world of theme park design, and was one of the first shows to actually put park guests INTO the movies - to make them part of the action, rather than to simply recount a story.
This show paved the way for everything that was to come after, and as themed entertainment gets bigger and broader, perhaps the only appropriate thing (at least here at Worthington Photo) is to send along a massive new photo series devoted to the attraction and the "land" it appeared in.
Although JAWS will never be the scourge of Amity Island again, I'd like to think the almost 300 photos shared between JAWS - The Ride and JAWS - Amity Island will be something of a record of an iconic attraction, now lost in the name of progress.
Worlds has ended, but it is unfortunately not complete. There are many more parts of the series yet to come. Why did I get so far behind?
This year, Falling Pear
, a creative film company at which I am co-owner, and for which my responsibilities include writing and producing, had a very productive run.
We made a short film called Simple Lives, which you can see here
. We wrote the pilot episode and went through full story development for a TV show (more on that at a later date), and then we made a commercial for Doritos' Crash the Superbowl contest, which you can see here
. (Just make sure to hit skip on the intro video, and it doesn't work on mobile devices).
Add to that 8 feature length screenplays, and you'll understand why this website has been so quiet.
There is new work afoot, though. No promises on a time frame, but its coming. Some of it will even be up today!
Happy Holidays to you all!
On the tenth of May, 1996, fifteen years ago, world class mountaineers high on the world's highest peak were caught in a fight for their lives. Jon Krakauer's chronicle of these events in his best seller Into Thin Air
tell the tale of a mountain unwilling to give mercy. A violent stormed slammed into the flanks of the mountain during the night. All told, it took the lives of 12 climbers, and changed the lives of the others physically, mentally and forever. Forbidden Chomolungma's [the Tibetan name for Mount Everest] refused to yield to the efforts of man to stand atop her, and to control her slopes.
That is what "Worlds" is really about, and the reason I chose the tenth of May as the launch date. It will be the story of man's conquest against the planet, and the planet's profound abilities to overtake those attempting to control her spirit. It is the story of Mother Nature, and the story of our attempts to destroy it with Wood, Steel, Fire and Conquest.
I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed putting it together, and will continue to enjoy putting it together. At this writing, only the first two "movements" are truly completed. The rest will come along as the summer progresses.
Thanks for your continuing support!
Storyteller, Worthington Photo
"Worlds" Official Launch Date
The 2011 Summer Series is almost upon us, and while its not yet time to announce the specifics, suffice it to say this one is going to be rather different from the past few years.
The history of the Summer Series is pretty straightforward. I wanted to do a "Special Engagements" section - photos with a specific purpose, apart from the normal cadre of work that flows into the Galleries pages, which are fairly rigid in structure - photos of theme parks, travel, locations, architecture, etc.
The first Summer Series, in 2009, was simply titled "The Summer Series". It consisted of sets of photos designed to tell a story. In 2010, the theme was "Cityscapes". This collection of images featured "tours" of various locations, most of them in theme parks, designed to look like and make the guests/audience members feel as if they were in a real location. Cityscapes concentrated somewhat on the attention to detail in these locations, and it was a very rewarding project for me personally to look at these locations and the architecture within them in a new light.
This year, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to take the idea of detail in these environments, and in any environment, including the natural one, a step further. "Worlds" is intended to fulfill this. It will be a very strange trip, I think, more abstract and farther out than any of the previous work I've posted on Worthington Photo.
I hope we both find it as out of this world as I expect. Come back on May 10 to find out for yourself.
On August 31, 2010, I made a leap into the dark and started the process of creating Foundationsofmagic.com - a website devoted to theme park photography, with a focus on architectural and scenic captures of existing locales and ones that have since given way to the endless progress of time.
While Foundations is still very much alive, it will require significantly more planning and production than was previously envisioned in order to create the best possible vision for the idea. As myself and the Foundations team continue to work towards making that vision a reality, I have elected to move the collection of images back to their original home, here on Worthington Photo.
The initial build out of Foundations taught me a great deal about experiential design. I believe now that websites should offer an experience, and thanks to the tools that Shutterfly has put at my disposal, Worthington Photo's design was much easier to achieve than designing and then constructing an entire experience from scratch.
While Foundations is being redesigned, I would like to invite you to enjoy the collection of images I've spent the last seven years capturing of various themed attractions around the United States. Still included here at Worthington Photo will be images in the Travels series, featuring photos taken in other exciting locations, and the Special Engagement series including Graphically Speaking and Cityscapes.
In other news, look forward to an announcement in the near future regarding the 3rd Annual 2011 Summer Series.
Thanks for dropping by!
Beginning today, Worthington Photo's collection of theme park photography will no longer be housed here. I will continue to use this space for travel photos and other projects, but the majority of the work will be taking up residence on FoundationsOfMagic.com, a new web experience devoted to preserving theme park storytelling around the world.
For the time being, any theme park photography can be found at foundationsofmagic.shutterfly.com. This is the temporary space, until we have built the new site.
Thank you all for your continued support during this transition. Please continue to watch this site and Foundations Of Magic for updates in the near future!
The Summer Series has arrived again, with a load of special content (and more on the way)! As part of this exciting seasonal gallery, Worthington Photo invites you on a world tour of sorts - we will be visiting a variety of cities, both fictional (Hogsmeade, Serka Zong & EPCOT's World Showcase) and real.
Visit the Special Engagements section today for a peek at this, the latest in the Summer Series.
In celebration of a year on this website, I've added two series that sum up what Worthington Photo is all about - tell a great story, using color, composition and sometimes graphic design.
Towers of Tomorrow - This, my first series highlighting Disney's Contemporary Resort, tells two stories - the story of artist Mary Blair, whose (colorblind) eye towards tomorrow created classic attractions like "it's a small world" and films like Peter Pan, but her visionary art at other Disney Destinations is often overlooked, so I've showcased some of it here. The other story is one about the new face of the Contemporary - Bay Lake Tower. It takes the idea of post-modern design and gives it a Disney spin, while remaining true to the idea of a resort soaked in its own modernity.
History Lesson: Central City - As a tribute to one of the many special and important people in my life who sent me careening down this road towards a career as an artist, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive a tour of Central City, Colorado, the place where she spent much of her adolescence. Mary Mattivi taught me to read and write (along with Mom, of course), and was the first person to introduce me to this wonderful little place, nestled high in the Rocky mountains. Much of the city remains intact as it was constructed in the 1860s and 70s, and its more than a little reminiscent of Walt's Main Street, down to the mishmash of architecture, which would someday inspire World Showcase.
One of Walt Disney's chief designers on Disneyland's Main Street was Imagineer and Art Director Harper Goff, who was born and raised in nearby Ft. Collins, Colorado. Harper also designed Captain Nemo's Nautilus submarine for Disney's version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. His influence is still seen in Disney cinema and design today, but its in small towns like Central City where he grew his artistic legs, and the style of these towns would inform everything he did thereafter.
Don Mattivi (Mary's husband) and I toured Central City this past January, where I had the wonderful opportunity to hear stories about each of the structures I photographed, from someone who was there. Its a wonderful piece of history, and I couldn't be more thrilled to share it with all of you on the one-year anniversary of this little adventure.
Thank you for all your support.
Spring Flings & Thoughts on Summer
It's almost time for the one year anniversary of Worthington Photo!
Yes, dear readers, nearly a year ago I started this journey to provide a safe haven for my photography to live on the web. Look for some new work in celebration of the one year next week!
I'm also excited to announce not quite one year after launch that the wonderful editors of Screamscape (http://www.screamscape.com) will be linking to the site in the near future! I strongly encourage you to check out and use Screamscape as an excellent and very reliable source of themed entertainment news.
Also, I have a little something brewing for the second annual Summer Series - see the "Special Engagements" page banner for a clue. I think you'll quite enjoy it.
Thank you all for your continued patronage!
Island Air Starter Kit
Check out "Your Island Air Starter Kit" on the "New" page!
This series will highlight the graphic design of Universal's Islands of Adventure.
Festival of the Masters Update
January 31 -
The Festival of the Masters 2009 galleries have been moved from the "new" page to the Travels: Central Florida section, in the main gallery.
At Hiatus' End
With the promise of a new graphic series now over three months old, I first must publicly apologize for the delay. Its been an interesting time, full of change and obligation. I am nearly ready to move forward with the new content for the Special Engagements section, but have some copyright issues to clear before I can do so.
Soon, I will be making a change to my principle capture system, from Olympus to the Canon Rebel XT 350D. I am completely excited to get my hands on a real DSLR camera again, and I know it will bring many opportunities for new content here.
((Please pardon our dust while we build the future))
Thoughts on The Summer Series
As we enter the final phase of the first annual summer series, I'd like to share a few thoughts on the work so far.
It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to showcase images with even greater attention to detail and story. Everything in the summer series is designed to tell a story. Most of the photo sets are, but I tried to pay even greater attention here to the details, and I think it has paid off in that I've now been able to concentrate to an even greater extent on those details in all my work.
Once the Summer Series is officially over on September 1, 2009, the Special Engagements space will give way to an exhibition of my work in graphics and effects design. The sets from the Summer Series will continue to be available here, but they may become part of their respective areas in the main gallery.
I hope you've enjoyed the first Special Engagements series at Worthington Photo, and I hope anyone with a love of storytelling (particularly as it relates to Theme Parks) will continue to visit and be inspired by the images!
Thank you all,
Michael K. Worthington
Contained in Water
After a long and difficult hiatus, I have finally completed the pro series from our visit to The Florida Aquarium.
This is not my first venture into using iPhoto's new editing tools - the results of those early tests of the new iPhoto can be seen in the Vertigo series - but this series required a tremendous amount of work to achieve the balance in color and design that you'll see in the finished product, and iPhoto delivered.
It took two months to move this one, but I could not be more thrilled with the results. I think this series could contain a few of my favorites and the shots I would consider among my best work.
You can see the finished results under Travels: Central Florida, in the album called (Under The Sea).
"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water."
I don't consider myself my a great photographer. I have only a rudimentary understanding of the technical aspects of light and lens, despite a degree in film. The subject is so vast, and the concepts so complex, that understanding the physics and relationships of light with the world it passes through is a subject beyond the reach of many.
I am blessed to be only minutes from some of the finest canvases in the world for photographers. Walt Disney World is a light painter's playground, with so many rich and diverse structures and environments, the likes of which are not found anywhere else on Earth.
I am very proud of the work I've done here. If nothing else, I like to think that there will be one surviving document should any of these story places and works of art vanish. For me, photographing a subject, be that a building, person or natural feature, is understanding it's essence.
This site is dedicated to its subjects: I hope at the very least that seeing the worlds depicted here, you will gain a new understanding of their essence, and of what they truly mean.