On September 6, 2017, StandardVision premiered its latest installment in the SV Showcase series – New Topographies featuring work by Mike Bishop. We had the chance to sit down and talk with Mike about Iceland, the wilderness, and finding beauty in the natural. You can see his piece Thursday – Sunday, 9pm-midnight through November 8.
Can you tell us a bit more about the piece in our showcase, Awaken Iceland?
I was in Iceland for a month last year traveling all around for the launch of the Phantom 4 Pro drone launch. I worked with local guide and photographer Donal Boyd who knew a lot of the secret spots in Iceland and brought some friends along to tour around with us. I had the idea to make a short film of my own from the shoot and that became “Awaken Iceland.” The film went viral on social media and has been seen by over 40 million people online. I really didn’t expect this kind of reaction as there are a lot of other amazing aerial films, specifically Iceland films, but we really struck a note with our film and the way it was put together.
How did you get into filmmaking?
It’s been a long process that got me here as I graduated college in 2001, I studied multimedia and learned about digital arts. I worked in graphic design, gaming, motion design, and eventually film making and photography. Now I work for myself as a travel, adventure, and action sports film maker.
You travel the world and create vignettes of different places – did you ever imagine that this is what you would be doing?
No not at all, it all happened very organically, I always just worked hard and followed my path of doing what I loved in digital arts and technology. A lot of people these days just start out the gates wanting to be a travel film maker and that works for some people, but this process for me has been almost 20 years in the making. I’ve worked under many great creatives and honed my skills, learning all the time, staying current. It took a lot of paying my dues to get where I am and I am very gracious and humble for it.
Awaken Iceland, Into the West, and The Grey League (among others) create intimate portraits of areas that are almost completely untouched by mankind. When you’re out shooting these, what is it that you seek to capture or convey?
Originality is very important to me and also doing work that can touch people on an emotional level.
I’m always looking to find new and interesting places, I don’t like to look at what other people have done, or shoot locations that are too famous, especially in this world of social media photographers, some of the most special places on earth are literally a parking lot for tourists looking for Instagram gold, and it is getting harder and harder to find these untouched places, but they’re out there.
What is your favorite place that you’ve been to so far?
There’s something really special about Iceland – it still feels quite untouched and is like a different planet, quite unlike anywhere else I’ve been.
Do you have any other cool projects coming up?
I’m currently in Norway about to wrap up a two week film shoot, then I’m back home in Los Angeles for a week. After that I’m heading to Namibia to film a wildlife project – I’m really excited to travel Africa. Stay tuned for new videos coming out in the coming months.