Michael “Photo Mike” Mariant is a freelance travel & documentary visual journalist based in California. After graduating from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, Michael spent several years working in the daily newspaper industry as a photojournalist and desk editor before moving up to wire service photography. For over a decade, he has been a contract photojournalist for The Associated Press, notably anchoring the agency’s coverage of the Michael Jackson trial. Michael has garnered several awards, including 11 first-place press awards in photojournalism as well as the recipient of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Research Grant in Photography.
For the past ten years, Michael has been the technical consultant and multimedia coordinator for Semester at Sea’s Communications Department, providing on-ship training for the staff photographer and videographer prior to each voyage, as well developing the program’s long-term multimedia strategy in DSLR video and photography through social media.
Michael sits on the faculty board for High Sierra Workshops and Nikonians Academy, providing in-the-field instruction on the topics of travel, cultural and ethical photography. Michael’s research focus has been studying the cultural sensitivity issues facing modern, web-connected photographers and travelers when abroad, emphasizing the analytical, stereotypical and philosophical battles while in a foreign culture. This had led to applied applications through in-the-field practicum, training and lecture engagements to instruct others on the cultural, ethical and visual approaches to photography and cinematography.