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  • Writer's pictureHYSTERIA BY GIRLONFILM




Written By: Michael Craig (@Sighber)

I’ve never sat down and taken the time to self-reflect as much as I am right now. I wonder if my obsession with storytelling through photos has created a new world within myself or if it was already there. I go through periods where I’ll feel very intense, like something unknown is growing inside of me, and then have an urge to create. I’ve left a few shoots in tears because of how proud I was of the work my collaborator and I created. That feeling of catharsis is what my mind and body live for. Creation is the medicine I prescribe to myself and I’ve become an addict.

Identity is a like a tree. You have the trunk which is your core personality, then you have branches that are constantly growing throughout your lifetime. They represent parts of your life such as family, friendships, romantic relationships, career paths, education, and your other interests. They may even bloom where you focus your time and energy. What you can’t see are the roots which are your mind, soul, and thought processes. You build up some of your identity naturally over time just by going through the natural courses of life. So many of us may have felt lost the last few years having lived through so much worldwide catastrophe. I think I had to hit rock bottom to find out what my passion truly was. I needed to put my time and feelings into something.

Finding my passion in photography is what made me feel like I had a complete identity of self. Sometimes I move from project to project so quickly that I barely have time to process what I’ve created to its fullest. I’ll light up before bed and stare at my photos to take everything in and appreciate what I’ve done for myself.

"I often times feel like I’m mourning my old self. I’m moving so quickly in this digital world, coding my own existence in real-time."

I wasn’t always fully confident in my skills as a photographer starting out, but with time and practice, I was able to achieve more than I ever thought was possible. I’m still in my early stages as a creative and have so much more to learn and grow into. As long as I keep an open mind and am able to see areas for improvement the more I will continue to thrive.

I was able to grow so quickly by putting myself out in the club scene where I meet many of my models and collaborators. Last March, I went to a themed party “Euphoric” at Berlin Nightclub in Chicago with 2 packs of color 600 film and my Polaroid Business Edition 2. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen or who I would meet, but I ended up creating one of my favorite photo series that captured an event within my own LGBTQ+ community.

The more chances you take on yourself the more likely you’ll do it again because it is confidence building in the end. I encourage all of you to push through your self-doubts and fears and put yourself out there. This doesn’t mean things will always pan out how you thought they would.

I was invited to take photos last year for a Lollapalooza after-party at The Underground in River North, Chicago. I met some cool people and was able to take a few decent shots, but my flash broke while I was there and I was SOL the rest of the night. Even though I had one inconvenience I wouldn’t let it stop me from doing better the next time.

I also realized as much fun as it is to do photos for events it wasn’t my passion as much as it is doing more up-and-close projects whether it be in the studio or at my model’s apartment. That summer I left my full-time job at Marc Jacobs to start taking my craft even more seriously. Working in luxury fashion retail did inspire me when it would come to styling outfits for photoshoots.

I’m currently working sales at PROCAM Photo & Video in the suburbs where I have taken classes on lighting and learned more about the tech/terminology in the photography world from day-to-day work life.

I have been able to use the studio and bring in models to practice different lighting patterns I learned in a boot camp class. I’m staying open to all work opportunities that come my way or can help my personal growth. I have a greater education background in sales and marketing. I graduated just before the pandemic started from AU with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, and instead of using it for some larger corporation I’ve used what I’ve learned and done some major personal branding.

I started using the alias “Sighber” a few years ago. I felt like a completely new person ever since focusing so much time on photography. We are born with names chosen by others so having the option to brand yourself in the art world is pretty cool. The more active I became with networking, photoshoots, and clubbing the more my identity was developed and all I was doing was being myself and chasing my dreams.

Remember that tree I was talking about earlier?

You can grow more branches once you’ve found your passion. Finding inspiration is the key to healing and growth. My goal is to inspire others while I continue to develop and practice my own craft. I’ve found a sense of belonging in multiple communities and I welcome any new artists with open arms.

If you have any questions or need any advice on anything my direct messages are open on Instagram.

Let’s be friends!

You can find SIGHBER here:


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