The Spaces & Places of Max Steele

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The Hobbies & Vision
of a Design Man

Max said, “Following my retirement, I obviously looked into what could I do, what do I love doing? And it became very clear, I love the camera. I love working with the camera. I just couldn’t put it away. And it’s always with me. Everywhere I go, I capture the items that are not real clear; simple, ordinary objects. The more mundane an object is, the better. A leaf on the ground, a little bit of water that piles up in the rainstorm. Lots of simple items become really important, and you capture those, and you develop photography as a way of seeing this way, of capturing those, and way of presenting them to other people so they can see something in a different way. Something that looks like it’s not very much, it’s not very interesting, but yet becomes very exciting and other-worldly.

“What do I do when I transition out of architecture, and I’m looking for the next thing to do because I can’t stop my creative process? Everything. Everything for me is being interesting, creative, and creating new, different approaches, new ideas, new ways of looking at the world. And I find I’m able to do that with the camera a lot. I use a camera to see things, to observe things. And I think as a teacher, I always would talk about the process of seeing and how really, that is important.

And one way to really see, I mean really see, is to get down deep into things, by using a camera to capture these moments, capture the happening. But also how to find that thing, how to find that place where the light hits something or where the colors are just right, where the themes are right. Whether you find the light hitting something in the right way, you close in, you crop in, and you get close into it. You start to see even more things and you start to see a story that’s there, and you don’t see it if you just kind of walk by. That’s really important to give it an opportunity. And these are very mundane, very simple and also very complex.”

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