Capturing the Extreme, From Deep Space to the North Pole 1

Photographer Christopher Michel wasn’t always an artist.

“Although I come from a family of artists, I never grew up with a particular passion or talent for art,” Michel told The Daily Beast.

Looking through his extensive portfolio, it’s hard to imagine that Michel’s talent isn’t inherent.

Since 2008, he has been photographing subjects in extreme environments—the North and South Poles, deep oceans, and grazing the edge of space aboard a U-2 spy plane.

“Over time, I became particularly inspired by people working in science, engineering, in medicine,” Michel said. “Many of these people were real-life heroes working tirelessly on behalf of our planet. Their stories deserve to be told and the work documented for future generations.”

Most recently, Michel was recently named artist-in-residence at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Before his career as a photographer, Michel flew for the Navy as a navigator and mission commander aboard P-3C patrol aircraft, and later became an entrepreneur in the tech field.

After graduate school, Michel was gifted a small film camera. “Once I picked up that camera, everything changed for me. I fell in love with photography.”

During his decade in the tech world, Michel founded and sold two separate startups, all while enjoying his newfound love for photography. Once he left his second company, he took time to reflect.

“Most people expected me to start another company or become a venture capitalist,” he said. “I returned to my true calling, photography.”

Here, Michel shares a selection of his work with The Daily Beast covering the far corners of the earth. To follow along on his global snaps, follow his Instagram.