Mike Arrison Photography



I was born and raised in Philadelphia, up in the Northeast. At the age of 3 I began to exhibit symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome, although I wouldn’t be diagnosed until I was 12, which coincidentally is around the same time I took an interest into art. That interest blossomed into a full love while I attended Roman Catholic High School for Boys, just a few blocks north of Philadelphia’s City Hall.

On my 15th birthday, November 28th, 2004 I was gifted a Canon Powershot a520, my very first camera. I had been introduced to and experimented with countless other mediums by that point in my life: painting, drawing, sculpting, writing, music (guitar & sax), acting, stage tech, etc. I loved each of them to varying degrees for they were all in this ever-expanding bubble called Art, but none stuck with me quite as much as photography.

The summer of 2006 I took a trip to visit family in Lares, Puerto Rico. I came to that island as an artist who had a camera, I left La Isla as someone determined to pursue and become a Photographer, with a capital “P”. For the rest of my high school career I picked up countless “How To” books on photography, using the foundation I had already been set by my Fine Art teachers to immerse myself wholly and fully in the realm of playing and interpreting Light.

When it came time for University, it wasn’t even a question, I was going to study Photography. It wasn’t so much a decision that I had already made, it was simply the course that I was going, obvious to me and those around me. It was at Drexel that I not only honed my knowledge and appreciation further, but I gained an immense respect and humility towards the power Photography holds. I studied the history of the medium, both it’s internal evolutions and artist shifts, but most especially the external effects it has unleashed on the world around us, both for immense Good and terrible Malice. Learning and understanding the history of the Medium simultaneous to working on The Triangle, an independent student newspaper, my core values as a photographer were forged.

I want the work I leave behind to have wrought more Good in the world than was there previously. I aim the showcase the beauty found all around us, even and especially in the least likely places one would think to look. I believe that everyone has an inherent beauty to them and I make it my mission to assist and facilitate people in understanding that truth. I believe in showcasing the world as it is, in all it’s great and terrible and beautiful glory, devoid of digital alterations and hyperbole.

Teachers who have made me the Artist I am today:

Mrs. Brubaker (now Mrs. Broden) (Middle School - Art+English+Theater Tech - SCS)

Mr. Deissroth (High School - Art - RCHS) - RIP

Troop 290 (Middle & High School - Leadership Values - BSA)

Mr. Pensabene (High School - English+Yearbook - RCHS)

Al Gury (High School - Art - PAFA)

Andrea Modica (University - Photography - DU)

Mike Froio (University - Photography - DU)

 Paul Runyon (University - Photography - DU)

Jason Varney (Co-Op - Photography - DU)

Ron Bishop (University - Journalism - DU)

Amanda Tinker (University - Photo History - DU)