We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Tricca and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I believe the following four habits have helped me succeed: AUTHENTICITY – I have to feel it in my gut. If there’s a hint of conflict w my core values as a human or artist, the project is not for me. THINKING OUTSIDE THE PROVERBIAL BOX – Just bc something hasn’t happened before or no one’s done it before does not mean you can’t be the one to do it. RISK TAKING – All accomplishments have a story … their own narrative of grit, overcoming, actualizing, raising your standards and ultimately succeeding. I’ve learned you have to take risks to move forward. And you have to be willing to fail to move forward. When you understand failure isn’t permanent, the stakes change and you can move on from there. I am no longer afraid to embrace failure as an opportunity. Instead of being afraid of risk & subsequent possibility of it not working out, you embrace it as a way to learn & progress, a means of bringing you closer to where you want to go. Learn, grow and carry on. NOT QUITTING – Listening to that fire in my gut & following signs from the universe when doors open, collaborators present themselves & opportunities emerge to see a project thru to fruition. People at times assume & say to me “photography is hard, it must be hard to make a living as artist.” Truth is, I’ve made many of my own opportunities. I have no advantage over anybody. The only advantage I have is that I don’t quit. I’ve been asked “why did you pursue an artistic and creative career?” Truth is, it pursued me. The universe is constantly plaguing me with creative ideas and I innately act on most of them.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
During quarantine, I was super productive. I began with taking the time to define + refine my core values, what I stand + strive for as an artist and in my work. It feels empowering to see it in writing! Then I got to work on a few projects. My thought process and latest works are outlined below… I want to use my platform to help & champion others by creating visual sentiment, thru thought provoking imagery. I strive to bring intelligent and compelling stories into the public realm. My work has a humanistic sensibility and I believe in the power of portraits to strengthen a community. I want my photographs to be empowering, embrace creativity, celebrate diversity and bring people together. I want to continue collaborating with people and artists of various backgrounds & disciplines. I want to remain optimistic & open minded with bettering my life & people around me. Never do I want my work to discriminate in subject matter. There are many different ways of looking at the world. A photojournalist’s nature is that of an open mind & yearning to explore a diversity of perspectives. There’s a recognition of the importance of having many ways of seeing the world, that an outsider view gives a refreshing take on things. Imagine how limiting world perspectives would be if only white women photographed white women, people of color photographed people of color, Italians photographed Italians, surfers photographed beach culture … Robert Frank was an outsider & made the series on Americans bc he had such an intriguing outsider view. As a human and as a photojournalist, I value outsider views and I value being an outsider having the opportunity to photograph things to get to know them.
I am a print advocate. I want my photographs to live in print as much as possible. Print is an important medium to me as I appreciate the tangible photograph to incite feeling. Although taking & looking at photographs has become second nature at this point in history, the impact of images has become ephemeral & easily forgotten with the next scroll. A momentary view on a news feed is one thing, but when viewed in print, a photograph has more power to captivate. I believe the medium of print brings photographs to life. The bigger, the more impactful. With all that said, here’s what I’ve been working on…
It’s been artistically fulfilling pursuing projects from the soul. I just designed 2 books with the intention of eventual publication: FLORIDA COWBOYS – photographs of a working cattle ranch in Immokalee where I documented days of adventure and visual poetry of a group of cowboys wrangling, marking & branding the herd (fun fact – Florida was the 1st cowboy + cattle state, long before Texas and the Wild West)! SLAVE TO VANITY – conceptual photographic collaboration about the human condition of becoming slaves to our own vanity. THE FACE OF IMMOKALEE – a portrait installation celebrating the soul of Immokalee. This art mural will bring a compelling visual story into the public realm. For the project’s canvas, one of Immokalee’s agricultural companies offered the use of their semi-trucks + building walls. The Community Redevelopment Agency offered the wall in Immokalee’s main park to boldly exhibit the photographs. As a portrait photographer it is my core value to portray all of human kind. The beauty of this project and what will make it anomalous is that the trucks will act as a mobile exhibit – viewable to not only Immokalee but to the entire county of Collier. Immokalee is its own entity 40 miles away from the bustle of Naples. It’s time art connecting the entire community is accessible to all and I’m committed to making this happen. Public art brings so much good energy to an environment. Due to Covid 19, production is temporarily on hold. Photography and fund raising will resume as soon as possible. Another project I began during quarantine is one I’ve been planning a long time – an independent print publication, a Zine titled BAD VIBE – Visual Musings on life in the Bayshore Arts District. BAD VIBE’s intention is to showcase the vibe of our arts district thru photographs, championing the independent business, artists and entities making this Naples, Florida’s new up & coming hot spot. The zine will expand perspectives, illicit interest and promote enthusiasm for my fellow entrepreneurs & things that comprise the allure of this region. A portion of the proceeds will fund an Art Mural for the local elementary school. I’m excited and the 1st issue is aimed for publication by Fall 2020.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
My ‘Must See + Do’ itinerary for my friends visiting Naples includes: Food+Drink, mostly in the Bayshore Arts District – enjoying coffee & conversation under swaying palm trees at the independent Bean to Cup Coffee Lounge. Sipping cocktails waterside, marveling at the art murals, people watching & listening to live music at Celebration Food Truck Park. Sampling delicious beer at the stylish Ankrolab Brewing Co. Enjoying scrumptious pizza at LowBrow and Black Sheep Pizza & Brew. Lunching on the best tacos in town at the quaint Taqueria San Julian. Indulging in authentic Italian food from Mino’s in downtown Naples, who import their delicious ingredients from the Mother Land. Naples offers awesome off the beaten path adventures – Rent Stand Up Paddleboards from Naples Kayak Company to frolic on the Gulf of Mexico. Take long walks & go sea shelling on our powdery white sand beaches, stopping for photo opps on the historic pilings. Buy fresh produce direct from the farm stands in Immokalee & eat a fabulous homemade meal at Lozano’s Mexican Restaurant. Visit Everglades City to scout gators and channel Hemingway while sipping Bloody Mary’s & nibbling on Stone Crab at the historic Rod & Gun Club. Walk the trails of the Gordon River Greenway and Baker Park. Relax on the swaying hammocks at Naples Botanical Garden.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
“It takes a village” they say. As an artist I am alone. However, I attribute my tenacity and confidence to my friends, collaborators and artist community who support and even challenge my ideas and projects. I’m always bouncing creative ideas off of people familiar with my work and sometimes strangers who may not know me. Diversity of opinion and feedback helps me excel in my vision. Voyage MIA, it is really independent media outlets like you who deserve a shoutout for your relentless support of artists, small business and creatives! Shoutout to My BluePrinter, the awesome Naples industrial print company with whom I’ve been collaborating to make large prints allowing me to present my projects and work. My Zine’s cover art director Roberto Díaz Gonzalez from Mexico City with his awesome 30 years of experience. ASMP, my professional organization American Society of Media Photographers whose mission it is to have the backs of professional photographers making a living from their work.
Image 1 – Self portrait in collaboration w Cape Nights Gallery