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Intimate photographic adventures with powerful cultural experiences

Brian Steege

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I have always thought of our world as a place of incredible beauty. Many of my earliest memories are built around that foundational view. I remember as a kid in grade school noticing wonderfully compelling images, in even their simplest form. They’re everywhere. Take a look out your window if you don’t believe me. (What? You don’t see it? Well, ok, that’s fine, if you don’t see it, I’m going to show it to you.) Using Instamatic cameras -- remember them? -- I photographed whatever interested me, and by the time I reached junior high, I had saved enough money to purchase an all black Canon AE-1 with a 50mm 1.4 lens. I was in heaven. Shortly thereafter I built a darkroom with my Dad, and learned everything I could about photography in the basement of 504 South Second Street, in Effingham, Illinois. Somewhere in the dark, I decided that I wanted to capture light. I decided I wanted to be a professional photographer.

25 years later, I’m still going strong. Combining photography with my love of adventure, I see the opportunity to share the beauty of the world with others who might want to understand how photography can tell personal stories, wherever and whenever they find them. Much as I found mine.  Really, my job is to share the incredible beauty that’s available to us in even the most unexpected places. And I love my job. But that’s enough about me. Let’s go take some photos.

 
 

Michael Leal 

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It all started when…

I love to go places!  Ever since my first adventure to Mexico City where I spent the summer as a high school exchange student to my grownup adventures to points around the world.  Many of these adventures have included my students whom I have had the the greatest honor of teaching over the past 32 years.  1991 was my first trip with high schoolers -- six, to be exact -- and that trip rocked my world and theirs, too.  It opened our eyes and hearts to new and unusual experiences.  Through the people we met, the languages we practiced and the foods we ate, travel and adventure came alive to us.  Over the next two decades this repeated itself over and over again with both students and adults.  The gift of sharing these adventures with them has been exhilarating. 

As a retired educator it has always been my desire to bring the world alive for the students who have passed through my Spanish classes and the brave adults who dared to travel with me.  Today, I continue to dream, plan and execute adventures.  Whether it's a trip to the wine regions of Spain or a sailing trip to the US and British Virgin Islands, or exploring the amazing richness of Mexico, the land of my ancestors, I'm always going places.  Now it's time to rock your world with adventure, culture and the excitement of what our world has to offer.  I can't wait to share that with you.