Think back to when you were seventeen years old. What would you do after school? Some would go to their respective club meetings or sport practices. Others would go to an after school job or study. Some probably went home and did absolutely nothing. Take Michael Beckert; he’s only seventeen and after school when he’s finished with homework and studying he is taking photographs and working with professional modeling companies.

Ford, Trump and Elite — these are just a few names on the list of professional agencies that Beckert has worked with. It’s so refreshing to think someone so young is getting such amazing opportunities and building his portfolio. But there’s got to be a catch right? Beckert must have parents who are photographers or have some sort of connection. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Beckert was able to peruse his photography dreams by simply reaching out and asking if he could become involved.

Let’s back up a bit. At 12 years old Becker found interest in his mothers ‘broken camera’ and decided to simply replace the batteries and see what would happen. He fooled around with that camera until Christmas when he was 13 years old and received a DSLR. He then began shooting self-portraits (which he continues to do today) and then moved onto taking photographs of his sister and cousin. By the time he was 15 he had a portfolio filled with photos of his family members and then became interested in finding other people to photograph.

Before Beckert chooses a full time career path, he needs to finish his senior year of high school. He defines himself as a “huge nerd, and I love getting good grades, so school is very high on my priority list.” Until then we can hope that Beckert has an easy senior year with plenty of free time so he can continue to satisfy our photography needs.