Michael Lishman

First and foremost I’m a storyteller.

I’ve been a photographer since the day I picked up my first camera. For me, the essence of every good picture is the story it delivers, and people are at the heart of the best stories.

To make an emotional connection with the viewer, the stories have to be real and authentic. I was working on a job with a Mountain Rescue team in the Lake District. It would have been easy to take pictures of the team looking relaxed and happy at the beginning of the shift.

We wanted to capture the real essence of the volunteers who give up their precious time to save lives; often braving the elements and being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night. So I waited patiently, and spent the whole day with them, including going out on call.


Nothing false. I always search for the reality beneath the surface.

The best pictures came at the end of a rescue operation. They returned looking cold, wet, exhausted and muddy. That told the real story. And it communicated the dedication and commitment these people make to safeguard the lives of others. Because Mountain Rescue relies on donations, the pictures helped the public make an emotional connection with the Mountain Rescue volunteers and understand the vital work they do.

The client is always the focus.

Over the years, I’ve worked around the world. There have been weeks where I’ve photographed Marie Helvin on a Caribbean beach on a Monday, and then soaked to the skin on a Cumbrian fell photographing sheep farmers on the Wednesday. I’ve always been grounded and have never been awe-struck by the world of supermodels and big advertising budgets.

I’m always focused on solving the client’s problem through photographs, and doing whatever we need to do to get it right. It’s never about me; it’s always about you.