Artist Bio

Michael G. Prais

I grew up in suburban Dearborn, Michigan, (the home of the Ford Motor Company) during the post-WWII heyday of the auto industry. I studied chemistry and mathematics at the University of Chicago and received a doctorate in chemical physics at UCSD developing and analyzing mathematical models for interactions at the surfaces of crystal lattices. The work was abstract and required significant visualization. Often, the evaluation of the resultant models came down to that of the aesthetics of a single, representative wavy line (a histogram).

While teaching chemistry and becoming tenured at Roosevelt University in Chicago, my background in information technologies used for large-scale calculations drew me into supporting the nascent personal computer technologies for students, faculty, and staff across the university. I shifted careers to follow the opportunity to help a large number of people understand and use modern information and communication technologies in the service of education. As the Director of Academic Computing Services at Northern Illinois University, a request from the Art Department to support its installation of Adobe Photoshop started me in 1996 on a path to understand and use photography. In addition to my pursuit of aesthetics in images, I have published the book Photographic Exposure Calculations and Camera Operation available through Amazon (ISBN 978-1-4392-0641-6).

I have always been a very visual person who has moved easily in several arenas between the concrete and the abstract. I am stimulated by both the organic and the designed. I combine my interests in the visual search for and exploration of machines and other constructions in nature and of nature and the coincidental in the midst of structure.