Mikael Buck (Second’s 1998–2000)

Renowned photographer
Mikael Buck

Mikael Buck writes: Since leaving Lancing College I’ve somehow been lucky enough to turn my hobby of photography into a career that has seen me travel the world, witness historic events first hand and rarely have a day where I didn’t look forward to work. I’d love to say that was always the plan but it definitely wasn’t the case. Straight after my A Levels I moved to London to read Business Studies at City University. At the time, it seemed like a good thing to study for someone who didn’t really know what they wanted to do. Three years later and still just as unsure about what I’d do for a living as when I started my degree, I took some time off and travelled around Europe, South-East Asia and India in the hope I’d return with all the answers.

Although I had the trip of a lifetime, the enlightenment I hoped for was not forthcoming. I then tried my hand at a career in the City, working in reinsurance and derivatives. This came to an abrupt end when on a whim I decided not to return from my lunch break, when it became obvious to me that endless meetings and spending all day indoors wasn’t what I was looking for. It was a bit like Michael Douglas in Falling Down, but far less dramatic and instead of the violence I just got the bus home.

About this time an uncle gave me an old film SLR camera that was gathering dust in his attic and, as the cliché goes, the rest was history. I took a job temping and focused on photography in every minute of my spare time, and eventually started working for a local paper at weekends. This led to working for a press agency and then directly for national newspapers in a career as a photojournalist that lasted ten years. Some of the highlights from that period of my life were going behind the scenes in Downing Street, hanging off the mast at the top of the BT tower at sunrise and spending time with many weird and wonderful people I’d never have met in my day-to-day life. For some reason the one that sticks out in my memory the most is Britain’s most prolific gnome collector, Ron the Gnome!

These days I specialise in advertising and PR photography and at present I’m working on projects for companies such as Amazon, Sony, Adidas, Warner Brothers and Disney alongside my own personal work.

My Art teachers at Lancing were Mrs McLachlan and Mr Radcliffe. Their knowledge and passion for the subject was genuinely inspiring. The way they taught me to examine and criticise art is something that has stayed with me and has been a huge help in allowing me to move my work into the more creative field of advertising. It’s a shame the younger me probably didn’t quite appreciate this at the time!