Michael Crouser says he was surprised and then pleased when a friend said he “saw me in my photos.” He feels they show he is dark, quiet, intense, and humorous. His process reflects the importance of formal structure for him. He says that he “practices” by challenging himself to do exercises that help him refine his ability to capture the light, people, buildings and moments in time. He makes books to leave a legacy behind that reflects his aesthetic rather than what’s popular.

Improve your writing practice by writing a descriptive essay about a subject of your choice. Make a list of eight adjectives that describe your personality, not your appearance. Then pick a subject you’re interested in. His book topics – dogs, bull fights, and cattle ranching – probably aren’t what you would choose. Try to infuse the subject you’ve chosen with your personal point of view as you write. Make sure that your reader would be able to “see you” in your essay.

Michael Crouser uses film that he develops, rather than digital photography. He likes the hands-on aspect of the whole process. You probably don’t have access to the equipment he uses, so think of another tactile way to show your subject. Draw, paint, or sculpt something that helps you further explain your feelings about the subject of your essay.