A Good Eye: Mike Palmer’s Roaming Focus

Mike Palmer’s a photographer. And these days, that’s a hard commitment to make. In a world where nearly everyone you meet has a camera with them at all times, it can be hard to be taken seriously. But then you see his work and you know. You know that what he’s producing is art. This isn’t your collection of selfies and food pics and filtered sunsets; it’s unique and challenging and focused. And also something Mike has committed himself to doing everyday of the year – literally. 

On November 1st, 2013, Mike kicked off his 365 Project on Instagram. The idea behind it is that everyone is always posting photos. Point, shoot, share. Despite all the filtering we put our photos through we often don’t take the time to filter our selection. Mike’s goal is to post one original photo every single day (not take a bunch of great shots and bank them). Sometimes it’s an intimate portrait of someone he encounters that day, while for others it’s all about finding the beauty in urbanity. While he does travel often (“it gives you fresh eyes”), Mike is based out of Toronto, and for us that’s the most intriguing part. It doesn’t surprise us that with his talent, a recent trip to California led to shots like these two. But what is so refreshing is to witness Mike’s ability to turn our everyday Toronto experiences on their head. A cold day suddenly looks like this. A subway ride is transformed. And, you know, sometimes this guy shows up. If you’re like us, you’re always looking for new ways to see Toronto in a special light, from a different angle, or just discover a part of it you never even knew was there. And the 365 Project gives you just that. 

Mike doesn’t just limit himself to a photo a day, however. Instead he spends most of his time working on Roaming Focus, “a photography-based adventure.” Together with a pair of producers and a rotating crew of cinematographers, Mike heads out to places both familiar and foreign to capture what it’s like to live a life behind the lens. The brief episodes that come out of these adventures are more than worth the watch. They seamlessly blend still life with video experiences and Mike serves as both educator and explorer throughout. Whether it’s wandering through an abandoned jail in the wilderness 50km south of Sudbury, delving into the Toronto graffiti scene, or, you know, just hanging out with Hey Ocean! to capture everything that happens on a typical tour day, Mike takes the time to let you know what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. It’s not only entertaining and beautiful, you can actually learn something too.

There’s a world of work that goes into every good photograph. There’s skill and luck and talent. Luckily, Mike has all three. Also, he got a dog. And it’s cuter than yours. Sorry, but it’s true. We know this because nearly 150,000 people have watched this. So even if you’re not into witnessing one of Toronto’s most creative set of eyes capture this city one day at a time, you can at least watch one hell of a cute puppy having the time of his life.     

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)


All images by: Mike Palmer

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