Boston's Michael Blanchard is widely regarded as one of New England's preeminent social photographers for his discerning eye and attention to detail. The photographer has shot more than 1,500 events in his nearly decade-long career, with clients including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Breast Cancer Research Fund, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Blanchard's photographs have been published on Vogue.com and in Town and Country, Boston Common Magazine, and the Boston Globe. Through his event photographing, he has turned his camera on luminaries such as Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Elton John, President Bill Clinton, and Secretary Hillary Clinton. In 2012, he spent a day as First Lady Michelle Obama's personal photographer when she was in Massachusetts campaigning for her husband, President Barack Obama.
Blanchard is well known not just for his people images, but for the way he captures the event itself. He arrives early to each event so that he can take in the setting as a whole and make sure the lighting is perfect. "I like to document the event itself including the preparation that goes into the event, which takes months of planning and hard work," says Blanchard, who works closely with the region's premiere event planning groups including Rafanelli Events and Hopple Popple. Through his close relationship with Bryan Rafanelli, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Rafanelli Events, Blanchard photographed major special events at the White House over the past four years, including state dinners.
His work is also marked by his meticulous editing. "I don't ever want someone to see a picture of themselves and think 'oh no' so I am very conscious of how someone might perceive themselves in a picture I've taken," says Blanchard. "When I am shooting I don't want to capture something that someone wouldn't want to be on camera. You don't want to ruin a vibe of an event just to take a lot of photos. Events aren't photoshoots."
Blanchard's love of photojournalism was fostered early as a student at Newton North High School where he was encouraged to "tell the story" through his images. His first foray into event photographing came as a student at Boston University's School for Digital Imaging Arts in 2008 when he was tasked with photographing for Dress for Success as well as an appearance by fashion designer Victoria Beckham at Saks Fifth Avenue.
By Jessica Bowne, Boston Common Magazine.