Dear Rosey Lakos,

Please accept this letter as my application for the job of photographer at WIRED in San Francisco.  I’ll briefly explain my career as a photographer and link to my portfolio galleries. 

I discovered photography in dark nightclubs.  Music was my first passion and it inspired me to learn about photography.  As one of the early contributors to The Skinny Magazine, I was able to fuel my creativity and shoot images that documented the drama and chaos of the underground music scene in Scotland.  

I achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Photography & Film with Distinction at Edinburgh Napier University in my late twenties.  During my studies, I took the opportunity to explore and fine-tune my craft.  My summer breaks were spent traveling on voluntary photojournalism assignments.  First, to South India where I spent four months documenting the lives of the sex workers of Bangalore and the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that support them.  The following year I ventured to East Africa for three months and continued my documentary series, examining the causes and effects of HIV/AIDS.  Both series were used to promote the work of the NGOs.  I consider that time to be a very important foundation of my career.  Portrait photography is about the people you meet and how you communicate with them.  The people shown in my abridged portfolios have fascinating stories that I hope I will have the opportunity to tell you in person.

The rest of my formal education was spent experimenting with constructed image-making.  For my degree show, I used the short stories of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre as inspiration.  I made their short story narratives into three still images.  The Outsiders series was shot on studio constructed sets.  Building my own props and sets allowed me to control every aspect of the image in order to best tell the stories.

In September 2011, just a few months after graduation from college, I was awarded a place in the Young Photographer’s Alliance Mentoring Program and created my We Will Fight series.  That was also the year that I moved to California in search of career opportunities.  Upon arriving in San Francisco, I was notified that I had won the competition and the series went on to be exhibited in London and New York.

Here in San Francisco, I found the opportunity that I was searching for and became the full-time 1st Assistant and Digital Tech to the renowned photographer Erik Almas.  During that time my personal portfolio was put on hold but my real education in commercial photography began.  Over the three years of traveling the world making images with Erik, I learned how important developing an identity as a photographer is. 

In 2014 I took a short summer vacation home to Scotland and planned a creative project while there.   My hope was to create a series using the skills that Erik had passed on to me.  My Sirens series has been compared to Erik’s work and that makes sense to me,  I was striving to achieve the high standard of image-making that my mentor had mastered.   By using his techniques I found that I was technically capable.  The real challenge was now to find my own identity and apply my skills to that.  To do that I had to leave my job assisting Erik.

Since September 2014 I have been working as a freelance photographer, lighting tech and photo assistant.  I regularly work in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City for a diverse group of professional photographers including Patrick Demarchelier, Mark Seliger, Chris Buck, Douglas Friedman, Hunter Freeman, Erin Kunkel and many more notable creatives. Whether it is a large advertising production, studio product shoot, or editorial portrait session, I have the experience required to capture images that meet the highest professional standard.

It was with WIRED photographer Dan Winters that I created my Salton Sea portraits during his workshop.  Spending that week learning with Dan was inspirational.  I admire his ability to engage with people and what that brings to his photographs.  I strive to emulate that in my own portraiture work.

The trajectory of my career has been very positive so far, I am now ready to continue that trend and would like to be considered for this amazing opportunity with WIRED.  I am a photographer that works well on assignments, I find creative ways to photograph people, places and products which I think makes me a great candidate for the job.

I hope that the chronology of my portfolio has given you insight into who I am as a person and as a photographer.


Mike Byrne

Adobe Photoshop 99%
Retouching 90%
Adobe Bridge 90%
Studio Equipment 99%
Web Design (WordPress/HTML/CSS/PHP) 70%
Attention to Detail 90%
Clear & Effective Communication 99%

EdNapUni_redBA Photography & Film (with Distinction), Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. 2007-2011

Higher National Certificate – Photography, Edinburgh College. 2006

Professional Photographer (2011-Present)

Full-Time 1st Assistant & Digital Tech at Erik Almas Photography Inc. (2011-2014)

Staff Photographer at Madrone Studios, San Francisco. (2011)

Press Photographer, Deadline Press & Picture Agency, Scotland. (2010)

Editorial Photographer at The Skinny Magazine, Scotland. (2005-2010)

APA San Diego, UNTITLED, Exhibiting Artist 2014.

Byrne & Burton Exhibition, The Wix Lounge, 2013.

APA LA’s, Off The Clock Exhibition 2012.

Free Range Exhibition, London, 2012.

Young Photographers’ Alliance, Best Fashion & Portrait Series, 2011.

Nikon Discovery Awards Nominee 2010

Awarded Napier Development Trust Grant 2010.

I have an advanced understanding of all professional lighting equipment.  This includes strobe and hot lights.

I shoot using professional Canon cameras but can operate all brands as required.

Born in Scotland.  UK Citizen.

Green Card is in process.  Expected summer 2016.

Full work permit in USA and permit to travel.

Full, clean CA Driving License

Self-employed operating a Limited Liability Company in California.

Recently married to my beautiful wife Catherine in Sonoma.  We rent a house in the East Bay.

(Yes, I took a selfie on my wedding day.  And yes, it was very hot wearing a kilt in California!)