Photo District News (PDN), a monthly magazine for professional photographers, has named Washington and Lee alumnus Michael Hanson, of the Class of 2003, one of the world's top 30 new and emerging photographers.
He was selected from among more than 300 photographers who submitted portfolios of their images last fall.
As we noted in a blog about Michael in November, when Outside magazine featured his photographs of Caribbean baseball, he was an all-American shortstop at W&L and spent two years in the Atlanta Braves baseball organization. While he was playing in the minors, Michael was also using his camera to document the lifestyle of the minor leagues.
He tells PDN that a National Geographic photographer and good friend, Joel Sartore, tried to talk him out of becoming a professional photographer. That, Michael said, was just the motivation that he needed.
Among his recent projects is the book that he and his brother, David, of the Class of 2000, did on urban farms, which was featured in W&L: The Washington and Lee University Alumni Magazine. The Hanson brothers are now beginning a film and photo documentary about the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and Florida.
Asked to name his greatest challenge, Michael told PDN: “Trying to carve out time away from photography and travel to maintain a somewhat normal life … Early in my career, the rollercoaster ride of work was a challenge. Some months were great and some were terrible and that wave can be difficult to manage … Luckily, work has been steady for the past few years which has allowed me to really love the days off or fill those days with personal work.”