About the Artist
Michael Montillo Is a native to St. Mary’s County and grew up on a small farm in Chaptico. His first true love in the arts was in music, primarily vocals although he spent some of his earlier years playing instruments such as the violin, piano and drums. He was a Class of 2000 graduate from Chopticon High School, and a member of their chamber choir, the Peace Pipers, whom are still performing to this day. His love for photography started at a young age, but he got in trouble for it more often than not. Some of his earliest memories using a camera were typically him finding his mothers’ 35mm point and shoot, and “accidentally” shooting the entire roll of film. In a short amount of time, his folks figured out that a Polaroid or disposable Kodak would be a great option for him to shoot pictures with no worry of the damage an adolescent boy can put on his toys. The summer before Michael went to high school, his father took him on a vacation to Hawaii. His brother now a retired navy chief, was stationed in Japan aboard the USS Independence and was in port at Pearl Harbor. After they parted ways, Michael and his family flew to Maui where he snapped what he recalls as his first landscape photograph. Higher than some of the white-puffy-clouds at 10,000 feet above sea level, the extinct volcano, Mt. Haleakala offered a view that has left a lifelong impression.
While in high school he also worked developing pictures at a pharmacy and selling cameras at the Ritz Camera shop in St. Charles Towne Center, back when camera shops still seemed to exist. Around that time, he got his first 35mm SLR Nikon and his true passion for the art-form began. While working on his journalism degree at Salisbury University, he kept the photograph from Mt. Haleakala pinched in the corner of his bedroom mirror and those white-puffy-clouds always caught his eye. he took a class on black and white photography where he learned the basics about composition, technique, processing and developing. Finding himself living with a group of close friends that surfed, himself included, and being only 30 minutes from Ocean City, surf photography instantly became one of the biggest joys in his life. Michael’s SLR unfortunately was damaged and he went some time without anything other than a cell phone camera or a tiny pocket style point and shoot. He struggled with the idea of continuing to shoot 35mm with the digital world really starting to take over.
The Christmas of 2014, Michael received his first Digital SLR, a Nikon D3200 beginner’s kit and he hasn’t looked back since. Spending much of his free time roaming the woods of his family’s farm, his love for nature has grown exponentially and his eye for landscape photography began zeroing in. He has since attended the College of Southern Maryland for a basic digital photography class and is currently enrolled in a class focused on the principles of lighting. He is uncertain of where he will take his next educational venture but he knows he’s not done. Over the course of the past 2 years, Michael has been afforded the opportunity to display his photography in the local coffee shop, Cool Beanz, located in Charlotte Hall. He also has artwork hanging in Lola Belle Co. in Leonardtown, Capt. Billy’s Crab House in Pope’s Creek, and soon to be on display at “St. Inie’s Coffee Shop,” which is recently opened, locally owned, and located on Willows Rd. in Great Mills.
Michael has also donated prints to raffles raising money for churches, schools and suicide awareness. One of his newest fascinations is with Birds of Prey, owls in particular. Michael volunteers with the Southern Maryland Audubon Society to assist in the preservation of the Barn Owl which has become an endangered species to the area. He is active on Facebook and Instagram as well as his own website and is currently booking for weddings, family/individual/maternity portrait sessions and commissioned landscape photography.
To contact Mike for prints or services he can be reached at:
Facebook: Michael Montillo Photography
Community Bank of the Chesapeake partners with