#InfiniteEssence: Sam

#InfiniteEssence: “Sam”

Mikael [Photographer]: “Even when you said that you wanted to look masculine, I asked myself, “What does that mean?” Because I actually, for me, I want … I see particularly black masculinity as being a hypermasculinity, kind of puts us in a box. A really small box, and so what I actually wanted to do was also to push you, as a cis man, to be comfortable with tenderness with yourself. So if you’re tender with yourself, that will actually improve all the relationships around you in your life.”

Sam: “Do you think I accomplished that in any of those?”

Mikael: “I do think so! Yes, I think you did, a lot. I think you did a lot.”


#InfiniteEssence: Self-portrait

#InfiniteEssence: “Self portrait” - It’s been almost a year since I last did a self-portrait and so much has happened since then! I have struggled, dealt with self-doubt, huge changes in life course and finding myself through it all. In a song I was listening to today, the speaker said that there is a reason that the “present” is called “present” - it is a gift to us all. Learning to sit in the moment and my incredible discomfort has been a constant facet of the last 12 months, and I can’t believe it’s almost 2019!

This self-portrait took me about 6 hours to do, between location set-up, painting my own body, and technical challenges shooting with ultraviolet light in total darkness and getting focus as well. But it feels very emblematic of how this year has been. #InfiniteEssence
:) 11.12.2018

#InfiniteEssence: Sam

#InfiniteEssence: “Sam” 

For the past year I felt completely creatively stuck. I had fallen ill while shooting LimitlessAfricans in Europe last fall, had to cancel $3,000 worth of airline tickets and come home. Things weren’t “going as planned”. After that incredibly difficult period, I was totally spent. I couldn’t even look at my camera again for the next several months. 

During this time, my best friend Ok Oso​ told me “there is so much motion in stillness”. As we stand, dozens of muscles in our body contract to keep us standing. We are moving. So even as I fell “still” I was still moving. After months of looking at the stars this summer at Middlebury in Vermont, I came back to Infinite Essence with a new voice and perspective. 

My shoot 2 weeks ago with Samuel Victoria​ outside of Boston, really has pushed my work to the next level. I am - after a year of feeling that I was doing “nothing” - now able to photograph a complete dreamscape for the black body. To the point that people congratulate me on my “graphic design” and then look awe-struck when I tell them that all of the paint is real - as I hand paint the bodies of all of the individuals with fluorescent paints prior to the shoot, and then shoot them with specialized ultraviolet photographic equipment that I built myself (engineering background yay!). I’ve now added some behind the scenes videos to help people “believe” to my site (at the end of these pages): https://www.mikaelowunna.com/infinite-essence 

But to now be able to see my dreams become reality in my photography is life-changing. Sam and I just refer to this piece between ourselves as “Floating” and my file name was “float_SUPREME” - it really speaks to me, to us, in discovering the possibilities for the black body on a plane that transcends the physical. Who knows what will happen with elections tomorrow, but on the spiritual plane we are transcendent, beautiful, glorious and free. I’m so excited to be sharing these new images and to be continuing to create more again. While remembering that I was creating all along in my stillness and illness of the last few months. <3

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