About Michael Belk
During the past 30 years, Michael Belk’s photography has appeared in fashion publications including Vogue, Elle, GQ and Vanity Fair for clients that included Nautica, J.Crew and others.
A self-taught photographer who never picked-up a camera until he was 20, Michael grew up in Central Florida, working in retail clothing in high school and college. Although he planned a career in the fashion industry and worked as a sales executive for Gant, a popular men’s clothing line in the ’60s and 70s, photography snagged his soul.
Combining his gift for photography with a natural sense for sales and a little marketing savvy, Michael created catalogs and print collateral and, eventually, advertising campaigns throughout the clothing industry. With his unique style, quality of products, speed of delivery and value, his business and his reputation grew. He has been the man behind the camera, the creative director and the account executive for his own boutique fashion-advertising agency, Michael Belk & Company. He says that it has not been as much about work as about doing something he loved while traveling the world, working with many great models and crews in the industry.
By 42, Michael says that his life was defined by “great excitement, huge success, but very little substance.” It was a busy life, but one running on empty. Something was missing. That's when he had a visitor and he recalls “the absolute presence of God” in his room. God asked, “More of your way or would you like to try Mine?” He wanted to try “God’s way.”
Although Michael’s world was not instantly restored, a change was underway and the journey to know his Lord and Savior had begun.
In 1993, Michael took a break to begin work on an idea for a book he believed could be used in point-of-sale retail marketing. He sold the concept to Champion Sportswear, an Olympic sponsor under the Sarah Lee brand for the 1994 Winter Olympics. The book, “Beyond the Sport, The Victory Within,” included photographs and told inspirational stories of Peggy Fleming, Scott Hamilton, Eric Heiden and other of America’s Winter Olympians, selling 25,000 copies. 1993 was also the year that he was re-united with, and married, his college sweetheart, Cheryl.
Returning to Florida in 2004, Michael opened a fine art photography gallery in a beach resort. Sensing that God had greater plans beyond his fashion career, he began pursuing an idea that he believes God put on his heart.
The idea was to produce a collection of fine art photographs that would depict messages of Jesus and show His relevance in our modern world. The idea became a project and in 2008, Michael closed the gallery and put his fashion photography on hold to begin work on Journeys with the Messiah. The project, which was first published in late 2009, consists of 45 images and the “parable-like” messages they depict. It has received accolades from around the world, including Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries in Atlanta.
The images have been interpreted beyond the limited-edition, signed & numbered fine art original to include a coffee table book, behind the scenes DVD, posters and more. Michael travels to churches and other venues to present the images in an exciting audio/visual presentation. An exhibit and more images are planned.