Michael S. Lewis

About

I’ve worked as a commercial and editorial photographer for 40 years. For the past 30 years, I’ve shot assignments for TIME, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Harley-Davidson and National Geographic. My work has taken me to all 50 states, every Canadian Province and 49 other countries, including multiple trips to Italy.

Travel and travel photography became my specialty and, based from Denver, I photographed four travel books for National Geographic, two in the U.S. and two in Canada. As I was wrapping up the Eastern Canada book for the NG America’s Outdoors series, I got the assignment to photograph a book that would be the companion to an 8-hour NGS/PBS series on Africa. During the next two yearsI made six trips to the continent shooting stories (often with a British film crew) in eight different regions.

We were telling stories of everyday Africans and didn’t touch on politics, war or famine, so I really wasn’t in danger, except for the time when the crew and I boarded a small Russian jet in Agadez, Niger, with a Russian crew who had spent the last hour in the small airport bar drinking shots of vodka. Worst flight ever! 

I was living the photographer’s dream: trekking with a Tuareg camel caravan to trade salt in Niger, experiencing the Epiphany observances in Ethiopia, traveling up the Niger River in Mali and living among fisherman on Lake Victoria in Uganda. 

To promote the book and television series, a week of programs were scheduled at NGS headquarters in Washington, DC. A couple of the subjects from the book and film were flown from Africa to appear on “Oprah” with the series’ executive producer. Unfortunately, the date was 9/11/2001, my flight from Denver to D.C. was forced to land in Kansas City, the entire week of “Africa” was cancelled and nobody in the U.S. cared about a book or television series on Africa.

I continued to shoot photo assignments for magazines and corporate clients. Also, I was the part owner of a small restaurant in Colorado, where I was drafted into running the kitchen at night during the busy summer season. Creede is where I met a wonderful woman, who had just finished the photography program at Brooks Institute. After a 3-month trip through South America shooting stories and travel photos for NGS and a few NGOs, Jennifer and I moved to Mexico, got married on the beach and started a photo business. 

We moved to the island of Cozumel, thinking we would get work shooting advertising photos for resorts. However, destination weddings were becoming a big business in the area and we spent the next eight years photographing beach weddings and underwater trash-the-dress sessions.

For a variety of reasons, we decided to return to the U.S., gave up our Mexico resident visas, and moved to Albuquerque. 

As it turned out, I found the perfect home for my skills, my passions, and my interests with M’tucci’s Restaurants, where I handle all of the photography, website work, social media posts, and producing a weekly newsletter and contribute to the YouTube Channel for M’tucci’s. . I feel the same pride about working with M’tucci’s as I did about my involvement with National Geographic. Both have a commitment to quality and both are a group of people with a passion for doing the best work possible.