environmental portraiture and photo-illustration

Michael Llewellyn is an award-winning editorial and advertising photographer specializing in environmental portraiture and photo-illustration.  He creates uniquely iconographic imagery through his extensive experience in composition, lighting, compositing (both in-camera and digital) and lithography printing.

Influenced by the modernist figurative painting and illustration of the Eastern European artists of the 1920s and ‘30s that he was exposed to while studying at the University of San Francisco, his talent for witty in-camera color composite work resulted in his first Time Magazine cover in 1992 when he was only 29 years old.  Since then, his assignments in the recording, publishing, and advertising industries have taken him around the world.

Llewellyn’s innovative work, widely known for its unique style and technical excellence by his peers, has garnered awards and acknowledgements from Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, Kodak International, Hasselblad, American Photography, Photo District News, Applied Arts, Uber Morgan, Blad, the British Journal of Photography and The Crocker Art Museum.


clients include: Gatorade, Coca Cola, Ford Motor Company, Nike, Allegra, Philip Morris, Duracell, Bank of America, Robert Mondavi Winery, Warner Bros. Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Bertelsman Music Group, Time, Esquire, Outside, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Fortune, Popular Science, Entertainment Weekly, Greenpeace and many more.




Llewellyn is the Artistic Director and Instructor for the Image Nation Project, a collaboration between Nevada County Arts Council and Welcome Home Vets, whose purpose is to initiate reflective conversations about topics of importance to participating veterans through photographic workshops and assignments. The Image Nation Project is funded by the Veterans Initiative in the Arts program through the California Arts Council.

Image Nation is a project drawing together veterans and the community through photography. The reintegration of veterans into civilian life is a vitally important task for the community, and it is the responsibility of both the returning veteran and the civilian world. Reintegration is a complex, multi-stage process, which can take many years.

U.S. Veteran, Michael Llewellyn has provided participating veterans instruction in photography over a three year period, sending each on assignment to document their worlds. Simultaneously, Llewellyn created character studies of each veteran. With the support of counselors, the process has enabled veterans to see their world with a new perspective and our culminating exhibitions have allowed our community to perceive our veterans in a new light.



exhibits and installations

2018 Image Nation photographic exhibit at the Rood Center, Nevada County California headquarters. Free-standing and floating gallery walls and walk through presentation. All lighting, design and fabrication by M. Llewellyn.

Open to the public for three months. Built to showcase the artistic work of these veterans in the community while complementing the soaring structure and light of the existing architecture of the County seat.

Llewellyn has lectured on location lighting at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and has lectured at seminars for the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Advertising Photographers of America (APA) and Editorial Photographers (EP). He has mentored photography students and interns from the Art Center College of Design, California Institute of the Arts, and Brooks Institute of Photography.

“We believe that artists illuminate truth, offer transcendent experience in a literal world, create raw material for science, challenge us to see and feel, and connect us to the most critical issues known today. They connect us to our common humanity.”




A touring, interdisciplinary, multi-sensory, interpretive installation designed and curated by artist Michael Llewellyn. Flowing thematically through past, present and future, the works of multiple artists tell the story of the Forest and its relationship with Fire. Of how, since the Ice Age, First Nations people, using low intensity fire, created and maintained biologically rich, old growth forests. Of why our forests are currently in ecological collapse.  Of what can be done immediately to bring our forest back into equilibrium with low intensity fire in order to prevent its loss altogether and to exponentially increase its benefit to each of us individually. Led by University of California, Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station and Nevada County Arts Council, FOREST ⇌ FIRE is supported by a host of collaborators, including loggers, environmentalists, wildlife specialists, land managers, and artists and will debut in October, 2020, in Truckee, California.

Western US forests are in ecological collapse. Wildfire is sweeping through at unprecedented scale and intensity while native bark beetles destroy entire stands. Climate change is only making things worse. The good news is that the problem was largely created by our short-sighted management policies, so we can fix it. But we need to act soon, and at scale, to preserve our forests and our water supply.

We believe that artists illuminate truth, offer transcendent experience in a literal world, create raw material for science, challenge us to see and feel, and connect us to the most critical issues known today. They connect us to our common humanity.

The combined challenge of climate change awareness, forest fire education and cultural adaptation is central to the future of all inhabitants in the western United States. 

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Contemporary Art has the power to re-imagine outdated narratives, to create powerful new metaphors, and to foster the collaborative change we all need to embrace for our collective survival. Important artists, scientists, timber innovators, industry experts and policy makers will converge to share vital information and proposed responses to this increasingly daunting situation. Our goal is to inspire meaningful conversation about our culture’s relationship to forests and fire.
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Picture This is a series of hands-on interdisciplinary photography classes for teen youth engaged in the juvenile justice system who, for privacy reasons, don’t have access to digital cameras or cells phones.  Over the course of 24 classes, artist Michael Llewellyn guides students through the 500-year relationship between scientific discovery and photography, on a journey of self-reflection and individual creativity.

Picture This highlights the historic uses of the camera to explain the human physiology of perception, the properties of light, perspective, composition and motion, as well as the role of the camera in bringing scientific advances into the public realm.  

Working with shadows in the field.

Working with shadows in the field.

At its core, Picture This introduces students to the idea that creativity is a means of self-expression and that self-expression is a dynamic between aspirations and limitations. Students learn to use photography as a creative medium to further self-reflection, transformation and growth. Using examples from artistic and scientific historical records, slide show presentations move through time: from the effect of the first camera – the camera obscura – on drawing and painting, through to the zoetrope, the precursor to both motion picture and .gif technologies.

Smart Phone Camera

Smart Phone Camera

Portable Camera Obscura.

Portable Camera Obscura.

Classroom set up and installation ready for student participation.

Classroom set up and installation ready for student participation.

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