Mike Sinclair.

“The star of the pictures is our cat Saffron. She is a heat-seeking device and when the computer is on – and there’s no sun shinning in through a window someplace else in the house – she’s my desk mate. The scratches on the wall, to the right of the monitor, are from her frequent stretching sessions.”

Mike Sinclair is an architectural and fine art photographer based in Kansas City Missouri.  His work has appeared in The New Your Times, Time Magazine, Metropolis and Dwell.  His fine art work is part of several public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.

FROM YOUR DESKS: How do you work?

MIKE SINCLAIR: My office is upstairs in our house. The window by my desk overlooks our backyard garden. It’s a perfect place for me – I like it o much that I sometimes have to remind myself that I’m a photographer and to get any real work done I need to leave the office.

FYD: Is your office ladder functional? 

MS: The ladder is both functional and sentimental, it was an anniversary gift from my wife, Gayl. It precisely holds a couple of fluorescent lights so they don’t shine onto my computer monitor.

FYD: Glancing at your bulletin board; it seems the Iowa State Fair has gone up in price ($5.00 and $8.00 respectively). Should we blame inflation? 

MS: I think it’s due to the increasing price of oil – deep fat oil.

I just went to my first school board meeting, in some respects it was not unlike Saturday night at a county fair. 

FYD: Just above your amp; where is the miniature collection piece from?

MS: That was a gift made by Patricia O’Brien. It’s a mini-diorama showing opening night at my first ever solo show back in 2006 at the Dolphin Gallery gallery, here in Kansas City. For about twenty years I didn’t show my photographs so that night, and Pat’s record of it is very special.

FYD: As a native Kansas Citian; it’s only fair to mention the architecture boom leading with El Dorado and Hufft Projects. In your location shooting, how do you capture the modern structure?

MS: The city is lucky to have them and I’m lucky to have them as clients. I try to shoot for architects the same way I do my own work: be straight forward and try to clearly describe the project. I’m always thinking about were to put the camera and when will the light make things look best. Ezra Stoller said that an architectural photographer’s most important tool is a pair of sturdy shoes.

FYD: Could we categorize Kansas City as a modern western town with great local beer?

MS: Yes, Boulevard beer has definitely made this city better! My friend, Hesse McGraw calls it “the western-most Eastern city, the northern-most Southern city, the eastern-most Western city and the southern-most Northern city.” I like thinking about it that way.

Ezra Stoller said that an architectural photographer’s most important tool is a pair of sturdy shoes.

FYD: You were a 2009 First Edition Hot Shot. Did this prize help segue your work with 20×200?

MS: It’s been amazing. So many people have seen my work because of the efforts of everyone at Jen Bekman Projects. Just a couple of weeks ago I got an email from a woman in Toronto telling me how much a photo(see below) of mine meant to her. How it made her new house feel more like home by reminding her of visiting her grandparents in Las Vegas.

FYD: Your Fourth of July #2 and Rodeo Stars remind me of the “spirit” of the Midwest. Perhaps because watching fireworks in folding chairs and going to a fair or rodeo are distinctly Midwestern. What’s your take? 

MS: I don’t know… I’ve found those moments all over, New York, California – it’s just that on the coasts the people are dressed better.

Be straight forward and try to clearly describe the project. 

FYD: What are you doing this summer? 

MS: My summers are pretty routine, I’m busy shooting architecture and, in my free time, going to as many fairs and events as I can. This spring I’ve gotten interested in attending public meetings. I went to several of the mayoral candidate debates here in Kansas City. I admire that people make such efforts to be good citizens. I just went to my first school board meeting, in some respects it was not unlike Saturday night at a county fair. But the stakes are much higher, you see that in the photograph (below) I think.

Follow Mike’s blog here and Twitter sinclair_photo and his 20×200 prints are here.

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