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Michael Newell Photography

My Personal Home Page

Personal Photo Album

Welcome to my personal home page, where I will share more about myself and babble to whomever will listen. Should you click on a link taking you to a gallery outside this site simply hit the refresh button on your toolbar,  or you can click your heals together three times and say, "there's no place like home, there's no place like home"....that won't work...I recommend you hit the refresh button. 
This site will be a vehicle for sharing more intimate and private details of who I am and the motivations behind what I do. There will be online galleries of a personal nature, but nevertheless ones I have chosen to share. I am not a very outspoken person on many issues, as I like to choose my fights wisely. But, there are some non-negotiable issues I must bring to light, as they are as much a part of me as anything I shoot. In essence, it is the motivation of my convictions that comes to life through my work. We all express ourselves the best we know how... photography and writing are mine. I speak the truth as I know it to be, because the little boy in me that dared to stare out the window in first grade and explore the world outside is still a part of me and he won't shut up! 

                                              --Michael S. Newell

"Up Close and Personal"

Question: What do you enjoy photographing most?

Well, honestly I must say I enjoy photographing women the most. I was spoiled by having the opportunity to shoot for a modeling school and agency right after moving to California. I enjoy all types of photography, although I am very inspired by women in natural settings and capturing them in their essence. To me we are all living, breathing works of art. I really appreciate natural portraiture of people in the act of being themselves.

Question: How did you decide to make the move to California?

California was always in my blood, even before moving there. It had a very familar feeling about it. I felt that I was able to express the bohemian side of myself and feel comfortable about it. For me it was a growing experience that I will always feel lucky to have had. In many respects it will always be home for me, although I feel that way about New Orleans, as well.

Question: You mentioned your love of films. What are some of your favorites?

There are so many truly great films that I don't know where to start. I'm afraid of leaving a favorite out, but I will make an honest attempt. A great film for me expresses all the elements of real life and at the same time allows an escape from it. I love films that make you sad and make you happy at the same time because that is more of a true mirror to life. I tend to like films that are emotional roller coasters. A good example of that, but with many more lows than highs, was "Schindler's List". For me that film was almost unbearable to watch and at the same time was what I feel to be one of the greatest achivements in modern movie making. But, I love them all. I would never make a good critic because I usually find something in a film I felt was worth viewing. This is not always the case, but many times I do find something. I love romantic comedies, but I think every film I like a lot has elements of comedy and drama. I greatly admire the older classics and I am a great fan of Oliver and Hardy. I love it all. What can I say?

Question: I hear you're also a great music lover.

I LOVE MUSIC. That's upper case LOVE MUSIC! To me, music is the simpliest and puriest form of expression. It takes us to a higher level. It soothes us into a better way of viewing the world. My favorite teacher was a music teacher that I had for some nine years of school. He cared about his students and it was very important to him that we develop an appreciation of music. He had such a passion for teaching and for music. His goal was to pass on to us an appreciation of fine music. He accomplished that, for I cannot imagine life without music. I enjoy listening to Enya when I sense a Celtic mood coming on and feel like watching the clouds or the trees and sipping on a glass of wine. I love listening to The Stones, or Zeppelin, or The Doors when I'm on a road trip and need some music to compliment the rythem of the road stripes whizzing by me. But, of all these artists I must put The Beatles in a catagory all their own. The Beatles were more than simply music. The Beatles were an era. Not only did they shape the course of modern music and show us a different way of looking at music and the world, but their music will be around long after most others have been forgotten. I cannot imagine what that era would have been like without the Beatles. And yes, I do remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard John Lennon had been shot.

Question: What are your views on politics?

I don't really enjoy talking politics because many people become extremist in their views. I really have zero tolerance for fanatics of any type, religious, political, or otherwise. It's all the same to me. What is important to me is to be able live in a less violent society one day and to leave the planet alone so that we will have drinking water and trees 10 years from now. I don't think that's being extremist. That's wanting to survive!

Question: What are your views on religion?

There is a difference between religion and spirituality. Religion is to spirituality what marriage is to love. It's the state's "validation" of an already existing thing. It doesn't make it truer or richer or better. It just makes it an institution and that is all! I lean toward the eastern beliefs of reincarnation, karma, life force or chi, and feel very comfortable with those beliefs. Everyone is different and everyone's beliefs best reflects their vision of God within themselves. We all do the best we can in a way we know how. I think my life as a whole has affected my beliefs because it is my life experience that makes me who I am. I come to believe the way I do thru events in my life that have lead me here. It makes sense to me. I don't really think you can explain it to another person. It's not something you can lead someone else to. It's not something you can teach anyone or convert anyone to. It's someplace you find on your own. That's what makes it worth finding. It's called your own conclusion, your destiny, your enlightenment, your karma, your belief. It's called whatever you want to call it. But making it into an institution is not going to validate it or make it any more real, or make it the same for everyone. That will just allow people to be more secure in their belief by having others validate them. Find out on your own. That way you can take possesion of it and call it your own.

Question: Where were you born?

I was born in New Orleans. Went to school at the University of New Orleans. My major was Mass Communications. I had a terrific interest in film production and still do. I think I developed my interest in photography from first having an interest in film production. It was easier to buy a Nikon than a Panavision so I ended up pursuing photography. Besides, I could shoot whatever I wanted without having a few million bucks to toss away.

Question: Who would you say was the most influential person in your life?

Without question, my Mom. My Mom taught me that having compassion for others and that having a kind heart did not make you a weak person, but gave you character and inward peace. She was the cataylist for making me strive to be a better person. She left a legacy and an impression that is eternal. She was the best friend I have ever had and the type of person I aspire to be.


"Favorite Places"

"There are places I'll remember all my life"....  Lennon/McCartney

This section will bring you on a tour of the many places I love. Places that I can never really truly leave for any length of time. The places where some part of me still remains.

New Orleans

Growing up in New Orleans left me with a love of fine food, good music and an appreciation for preserving the beautiful things in life. Just strolling through the French Quarter takes you to a different period in history. Your senses are filled with the sounds and smells of New Orleans. As you pass by the jazz clubs your senses are stimulated as you feel yourself being carried away by the lingering melodies abounding. Then you catch a brief wiff from a restaurant in the area as a horse carriage passes by you to the rythem of "clippity clop, clippity clop". All the pleasant sights and sounds of an era not forgotten enhance your senses. There's no mistake about it, you know you are in New Orleans, a one of a kind, no place like it in the world "city that care forgot." As you get ready to leave, you're saddened, because you don't know when you'll be able to return.


The west has always intriqued me for it's vast open spaces and for that sense of being in a western film you get when you start exploring. The freedom you feel under your feet is amazing when you start exploring the wild and open spaces of the west.

New England

New England, much like New Orleans has a unique atmosphere and history unlike anywhere else. There is no mistake about it when you are there. You are in a place unlike all others. With it's history and it's tiny fishing villages New England is a special place. From the Freedom Trail in Boston to Cape Cod and beyond, New England is without a doubt one of my very favorite places.

"My Personal Album"

Winter Hiking Grand Canyon

Hiking the north rim of the Grand Canyon in winter was an awesome experience. We avoided the crowds and had great views of the snow-laden ground all around us. This was also a chance for me to show off my fancy hiking boots. What do you think?

John Lennon Star

Beatles fan that I am I had to get a shot next to John Lennon's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It's right in front of Capitol Records in the heart of Hollywood....Imagine that!!

Sierras Backpacking

This was a backpacking trip I made to the Sierras in California. We camped at 11,000 feet with year-round glaciers within view. The area was so beautiful it looked like they had gardeners in every week to manicure the scenery. Almost within a rock's throw is Mount Whitney, which is the highest point in the continental states. The weather changes quite frequently at that altitude and a storm passed right by us from out of the blue. What a wonderful trip!

Michael Bubbles

This photo was taken years ago while on a trip to New Orleans to see the World's Fair. I was visiting friends at the time this was taken. I felt this picture was a good candidate to be put thru the photo program to be "tweeked". Actually, this is an example of one of my wilder moments. I'm actually quite some respects!

Smoky Mountains

This is a shot from a recent trip to Smoky Mountain National Park in October 2000. A huge snow storm had just come thru the area and the road into the park was closed. Hoping to get a chance to visit the park sometime during the day, we hung out on the Cherokee Indian Reservation on the way into the park. When we heard it was a go and that the roads were open we made a dash to the crest and enjoyed the park with very few people there. The moral of this story is..."Impatient boys sometimes miss dessert".

Lake Powell

I just woke up....don't look! OK, now that you've seen what I look like in the morning and you're still here I guess that's a good sign. This was taken on a houseboating trip at Lake Powell. Ten of us got together and rented a houseboat for 3 days and explored as many neat little coves and trails as we could find. My first cup of coffee in the morning always puts a smile on my face!

Mount Wilson

Here I am at Mount Wilson standing in a pile of snow with really cold feet. Some people that were snow-tubing that day had asked me if I wanted to try it. I had really good insurance at the time so I gave it a try. Well, I didn't get air-lifted or anything exciting like that, but I did make it into a big ditch. How did I find the ditch so easily you say?...I don't know to this day. This shot was taken after the great snow-tubing experiment....I was OK!

Monument Valley

This shot was taken on a stop-over at Monument Valley while on the way to Lake Powell. I saw an Indian (this is no joke) riding by me on a horse. I asked him if he would let me get a picture on his horse. He agreed, but said it would cost 50 cents. Well, I thought that was a great deal in today's economy so I took him up on the offer. He even took the picture. Not a bad picture for 50 cents!


Here's a shot of me sitting on the rock in deep meditation and pondering over how to get down. I know I couldn't prove it because I'm kinda' way far away in this shot, but take my word for it. Although not a good closeup I felt it showed the true scale of things better. When you're amidst such massive rock you really get an idea of how small you are compared to nature, and also how much it would really hurt for one of those rocks to fall on you!

"In Loving Memory...A True Story"

Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad

I wanted to share an experience I had this weekend as a reminder to all of you that life not only does not end at death, but that there is a world on the other side far greater than we could imagine. Please consider this a tribute to my Mom and Dad, as well as a gift to all of you.

Thursday night May 24th my Dad passed away after 93 long, wonderful years. After getting the news I immediately packed and wondered how I would deal with this and the anniversary of my Mom's death coming up this weekend. Knowing that my Dad was always there for me I asked him for help in getting through this. I wanted to visit the shared living facility where my Dad had spent the last three years of his life to thank them for all they had done and how much they all meant to my Dad. I was informed by one of the nurses, with tears in her eyes, that my Dad had thanked them all on the way out to the hospital that Thursday morning. It appears that not only did my Dad tell everyone goodbye before leaving, but had told everyone at dinner the night before that he had talked to my Mom the night before and she told him that it had been far too long since they had been together and that it was time for them to be together, again. He told everyone at dinner the night before that he was not only ready for it, but was looking forward to it. He said that my Mom had tried to prepare him for his passing and said that everything would be fine. When my Dad left for the hospital the next morning he knew it would be the last time he would have to endure the aches and pains of a 93 year old body. He was in good spirits and seemed to be so at ease about everything as he left the facility for the last time. He said Mary (my Mom) had prepared him for this and he was looking forward to it.

The morning of the funeral, while waiting for my niece to arrive, I stepped out of the motel room into the parking lot. I stood there in the parking lot, early morning, birds chirping all around me. In an instant, like a bolt of lightning, and from a force outside my own I was touched by something more real than vision, or sound, or touch can describe. From a force outside my own and a presence more knowing than me I was given a very brief feeling of what it was like for my Dad. Like my Dad's spirit passing through my heart I had a brief sensation of heaven. It was over-powering, over-welming, and nearly knocked me to my knees it was so intense and came from out of nowhere. In a form of communication greater than words, I was told, "This is what it's like." For a fleeting moment every cell in my body danced, every worry erased, every question ever asked was answered. It was a place so familiar, yet I don't remember being there. I can only describe it as unsurpassable peace and happiness. It was the lost child finding the parent, the loved one found, it was returning home without ever remembering leaving. It felt so familiar and the feeling was so intense that it was beyond peace and happiness. It was the natural state of being that we have all forgotten. It was a state of conscienseness that erased all negative. It was a state of being where everything made sense, everything was just, everything was beyond any experience capable on earth. It was beyond words, or senses, or taste or smell. It was the place we all come from and all go back in time. It was home.

I immediately turned and walked back into the motel room. My friend standing on the other side of the door, looking at me, asked "What just happened to you?" As I tried to explain an unexplainable event, I settled for, "I just had a spiritual experience I can't describe." I could only describe it as the most peace I have ever felt in my life.

Later that day, after the funeral, and being the only four people left in the parking lot, my niece, her husband, myself, and my friend were about to get into our cars to say goodbye when two butterflies of the same color, the same size flew into view and circled us all, before coming back together, again, and flying off into the distance.

As I sit here and write this, on the 14th anniversary of my Mom's death, I know they are together once again, as we all shall be.

Feel free to share this with as many people as you like. People need to know that there is indeed much more to life than what we can see, or explain. There are greater forces than ourselves who are watching after us all.

             "Happy Father's Day Dad...Tell Mom I love her!"

                             --Michael S. Newell   5 /27 /01

"My Favorite Qoutes"

"Friends may come and friends may go.
Friends may "peter-out" you know.
Here's to friends through thick and thin.
Peter-out or peter-in."
-- Unknown 

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
-- Will Rogers

"What are the three words guaranteed to humiliate men everywhere?
Hold my purse.'"
-- Sandra Bullock 

"Be careful with that, you'll poke an eye out."
                                                    -- Mom

"The political machine works because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority."
                                          -- Will Durant

"Try not to become a man of success,
but rather, try to become a man of value." 
                                        -- Albert Einstein 

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.
We have guided missiles and misguided men."
                                       -- Martin Luther King Jr

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought,
but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

                                       -- Albert Einstein

A little education
goes a long way in a city of ignorance"

                                        -- Patti Skates 

"Sex with love is the greatest thing in life."
"But sex without love-that's not bad either."
                                         --Mae West

"I live by this credo: Have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations. Even in your darkest moment, you usually can find something to laugh about if you try hard enough."

- Red Skelton -