We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Thurk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
In the beginning, there was only imbalance. I was unaccustomed to the Peaks and Valleys that come with freelancing. For months you can be completely swamped with work, and it seems never ending, until you come down from the Peak into the Valley, and it feels like there will never be another contract. Understanding that these Valleys will always be there allows me to actually enjoy that time and to spend it thinking of new concepts that can be applied to the next project. Work hard when it’s time to work. Rest hard when it’s time to rest.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What I love about photographers, much like authors or chefs, is that we are all unique in our approach to the craft in some way. While there are always influences, there is also always something different to each individuals approach. My eye is what sets me apart from others, and as it is constantly changing, it always will. The biggest source of pride I feel is when a client is truly happy with the product. You can always tell when you’ve done something unique for that individual and they didn’t see it coming. Getting where I am today has been challenging, not as challenging as some, but more challenging than others. But this statement is reflective of the biggest lesson I am still learning today – do not compare yourself to others. This is a trap that you’ll only become more entangled in the more you do it. If there’s something I want others to know about my brand, its that it will always be authentic. While it’s an overused term in the industry, remaining authentic to oneself is harder to do than it is to assign to a project.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Exploring the city has become something very different in 2020. The days of long hangs in the coffee shops or strenuous sessions in the climbing gym seem far way. But adaptation is everything, so if I were touring Boulder, it would have to start with a coffee at Boxcar, socially distanced and on a bench outside. The business is south facing, so on a sunny day there’s nothing better. Once appropriately caffeinated, the trails around Boulder are so easy to access, it would be criminal to skip them.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are those that believed in me when I first started out that really had no reason to, and I am forever indebted to them. They took a chance and allowed me to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow. I also owe a huge debt of thanks to every person who encouraged me to pursue photography and believed in me, when I didn’t believe in myself.
My portrait was taken by Kelly Halpin.