Photography is a responsibility. It starts as a sentiment – a flash of inspiration, and somewhere along the way extends past the operation of a camera. Photography becomes, for the truly passionate, an impression of the spirit of life. It turns the mundane into the exceptional, and reforms the extraordinary into humbling reflections of ourselves. In many ways, the subjects employ the photographer to expose them to the world – creating visual anecdotes for people to invite into their conversations. Local photographer, Mike Pach, is an example of an artist who uses his photography to stimulate these conversations.
Mike Pach’s photographic inspiration flourished the moment he visited Colorado for the first time during High School. Borrowing his brother’s camera, Mike Pach was fully equipped to explore the creative landscape of the Rocky Mountains. Colorado’s dynamic environment encouraged Pach to learn and thrive in the world of photography and eventually became his home base for him and his business, 3 Peaks Photography and Design.
Developing as a photographer is a constant learning experience between self and medium. For Mike Pach, the relationship he has with his work expands past creator and subject.
He knows, as do many photographers, that photographic opportunities can occur at any moment. For Pach, that moment was a compelling itch to photograph a tree behind his residence after a snow storm. Unknowingly, “Same Tree, Different Day” was conceived – a project with a name as honest as the intention behind the work. His goal with this project was to take a picture of the same tree every day for a year. Mike Pach embraced this undertaking, explaining that there were points in the process that tested his commitment, but never broke it.
He retained focus through the everyday goals he set for himself by marking off each successful day the tree was captured. He documented this from a wall calendar that presented an overview of the entire year, which allowed Pach to see his growth and progress. It became a personal marathon for him – a proving ground in a way for his creative process and personal battles. “Same Tree, Different Day” was from the very beginning a tool of self evaluation. Pach shares that it became a way to maneuver through the days while better managing his depression. Setting day-to-day goals was a healthy habit that inspired and fueled him to get out of bed each morning, and the productivity became a positive reinforcement for the continuation of this work.
Pach’s success in capturing a narrative of his personal and creative processes is vividly seen through the photographs of the tree. Each day presents a reinvented scene of the same subject. There are several variables that change along the way: the sky, the leaves, the living things and objects that meander in and out of the images, and the weather. But what remains as a constant is the tree, a steadfast figure in the foreground. These images reflect the perseverance and growth of the artist, and, more vastly, humanity. Pach presents an inspirational spirit within this collection which he uses to speak about the short-term and long-term effects and symptoms of depression/mental illness, and how tools and actions like setting daily milestones can strengthen motivation to follow through with positive life style changes.
Mike Pach enjoys implementing “Same Tree, Different Day” as an opportunity to publicly speak and stimulate others to reflect on their personal motivators to help them persevere and be successful in ways that bring them fulfillment. His upcoming presentation will be for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
The realization that there will always be something new to learn and improve on is a large motivator for Pach which he uses to not only build on his work, but also to create resources and outlets for others who share similar passions and interests for photography. With knowledge as well as skill in hand and an innate yearning to educate others, Mike Pach established The Colorado Photography Learning Group. Initially, the group was created to help promote the classes and workshops he leads, however, the interest in the group grew and now has three branches and 3000 members overall.
Apart from the Colorado Photography Learning Group, Pach is involved in curating art shows at the Plaza of the Rockies, a space which he describes as a wonderful opportunity for any artist. Partnering with Nor’Wood, the owner of the establishment, he holds monthly art shows. Each month a new artist is given an opportunity to display their work starting with an opening day on the first Friday of each month which makes it a prime location for the First Friday Art Walk downtown. Pach encourages a space that doesn’t limit the artist and provides the exposure they need to reach their audience.
Mike Pach harbors connections in his work between the physical beauty of Colorado that continues to inspire him and the acknowledgment of inner obstacles. He creates relatable narratives through his photographs and speeches as he explores subjects of self-reflection. Mike Pach is a photographer with responsibility who demonstrates the importance of learning in all aspects of life. He states that anybody that wants to learn, can – and he wants to continue to provide the resources necessary to help others explore themselves and their craft.