Ed. note: We are going to be featuring our fantastic brand ambassadors over the rest of this year, telling their stories in photos and words. Today we are profiling Mikal Wright of Pendleton, Oregon.
What kind of photography do you specialize in?
Photography is something that I started taking seriously about eight months ago. I purchased a drone and would go out and shoot aerial shots every chance I had.
Now that I’ve purchased a DSLR camera, I’d have say portrait photography is what I’m currently shooting as much as possible. I’ve been fortunate to have a solid network of friends who are professional photographers. They have guided me along the way.
Most of my shoots are in the Pacific Northwest, so you’ll see quite a bit of nature in my photography, but I’ve been challenging myself to get into the city more and shoot.
What’s your dream shoot location and why (and don’t say Iceland—everyone does)?
This question literally made me laugh out loud because you are so right! Out of all the beautiful places in the world, everyone wants to go to Iceland. So I will change it up and choose El Nido. It’s a Philippine town located at the most northern tip of Palawan, an island that has a coastline dotted with over 1700+ islands and islets! I’ve read that the electricity there only runs 12 hours a day, so you have no choice but to unplug and explore the beauty of the island.
You scored many points for choosing somewhere original, Mikal. Where does your affinity for heritage brands come from?
First and foremost, I was born and raised in Pendleton, Oregon. From my earliest childhood, I remember going to my grandparents home and falling in love with the blankets hanging on their living room walls.
Fast forward to the present, I’m now working for the company that I grew up loving! There’s something extremely special about Pendleton, the fact that it’s constantly evolving as a brand even after being around for over 100 years is amazing. That helped pave the way for my brand affinity.
Its also shaped the way I go about my photography. I definitely consider Pendleton as “The Outdoor Lifestyle of America” but I also see Pendleton as a high-end fashion brand.
We agree, and we love your photos that show this side of Pendleton.
Growing up in Pendleton, and working for Pendleton, we wonder if you you have any family stories about Pendleton?
There’s one story that sticks with me the most. I was in the 7th grade and my family and I were heading back home after visiting my aunt and uncle in La Grande, Oregon. I remember there being a lot of snow that winter. The roads were extremely icy. A few cars ahead of us, a man lost control of his vehicle and flipped sideways into a ditch.
My dad and a few other cars immediately pulled over to see if he was okay. My dad was always prepared for emergencies, and he kept an old Pendleton Camp blanket in the trunk of the car, which he gave to the man to keep warm until the ambulance arrived. I remember telling all of my friends at school the next day, “If it wasn’t for my dad’s old blanket that guy would have froze to death.” So I’d like to think that our Pendleton blanket saved a mans life that day.
Your brand ambassador work comes from a unique place—you are actually a Pendleton team member. What do you want to say about the brand with your shots?
Each and every day, I have the opportunity to communicate with our consumers on a personal level. I get to hear their thoughts and I also have the chance to keep them informed and up-to-date with what we’re doing as a company. In return, I get a sense that they feel more involved and invested in our brand.
I think the best artists and photographers create work that is a reflection of who they are. Pendleton is who I am and I truly hope that when people see my images they feel a sense of authenticity. This brand also has so much history and with every photo I take I want to make sure that every garment that I’m photographing is presented in a way that when people see it they know automatically that it’s a Pendleton, a brand that’s iconic in so many ways.
Please enjoy this movie by Mikal, featuring his muse and model, @brandyisthecatsmeow .
Follow Mikal on Instagram for more wonderful photography: @atribeoutwest