Mike Blachut grew up in the Detroit area. After high school, he worked as a draftsman and went to college at night studying to be an engineer. Once he completed his schooling, Blachut married his high school sweetheart and soon there were three girls ruling the roost.
Twenty years went by in a blur and when the girls finished college and got married there was time for Blachut to spend on things he had always dreamed of doing. He decided to combine his working career with interesting locations to work in.
He worked on a science base in Antarctica, a military base in Afghanistan, a ship in Alaska and Yellowstone Park. He always took his camera with him, a Canon AE-1, which he loved. He enjoyed photographing the beautiful sights and saving the memories of his many working environments.
While working in the Antarctica, he had a darkroom at his disposal so he could develop and print his photos. This was especially useful since there were no flights in or out for six months in the winter.
Blachut also traveled to 40 other countries, among them India, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Japan, China, Vietnam, Philippine Islands, South America, Central America and all of Europe. In November of 1989, he was able to be in Berlin five days after the wall came down and witnessed an East German guard standing on the wall with a flower in the barrel of his rifle as he was being serenaded by the West Berliners. At this point, he got the itch to learn more so in 1990 he enrolled in summer school at Jagiellonian University in Krakow where Copernicus had studied in 1495. From this he learned some Polish, which helped him when he went to visit his father’s birthplace, Radziechowy, Poland. This is a small farming village 20 miles from the Czech border and he was able to take photos of the farmlands and his Polish family for posterity.
Once again, Blachut was off to new horizons and biked the east coast of Australia and New Zealand taking photos along the way. While working in Afghanistan he traveled from Ba gram to Kabul observing Bedouin nomads along the way herding their sheep. Unfortunately, the convoy could not stop for photos so that memory is one photo he keeps in his mind. As Blachut says, “Each of my photographs has a story, I had some great times, met some wonderful people and took some photos. Some day I will write my memoirs.”
Blachut retired to Sun City and has been active in the Rock Hounds and joined the Camera Guild in the early years of it’s origin. He feels the Guild answers a lot of his questions about photography and is helping him with his new project of organizing all of his life long photographs.
View some of Blachut’s photos atsuncityaz.org/recreation/clubs/camera-guild-of-sun-city.
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