Curated: Mike Spears

mike spears self portrait

Quality Peoples presents the next entry in our ‘Curated’ series. We’ve worked with Brooklyn-based photographer Mike Spears to bring you two of his photo zines: Pan Dulce and Vista Hermosa. Both zines were shot on surf/skate trips, Pan Dulce in Costa Rica and Vista Hermosa in Puerto Rico.

Mike Spears was born a product of undergraduate love In Bloomington Indiana in 1970. At 8 years old he moved to sunny Puerto Rico where his love for all things oceanic was born. Mike studied film at Boston University. Mike has worked in the photo industry in NYC and has called Brooklyn home since 1999.


We sat down with Mike Spears for a quasi-internet interview, here’s Spears in his own words:

QP: Name / URL?

MS: Mike Spears /

QP: Describe what you do, how long you’ve been at it, and what you are know for.

MS: I am mainly an analog lifestyle and art photographer. A friend recently called me a “hipster documentarian”. Dunno if I agree exactly. I’ve been taking pictures for about 20 years on and off. Both professionally and in an amateur capacity.

QP: If you can, explain the process of your work.

MS: Mostly my process consists of going where i can make interesting images and immersing myself. Sometimes this can simply be just walking around with a camera, and letting the world present itself then being ready with my camera. When photographing people sometimes i just do quick snapshots but

QP: Can you tell us a little bit about each zine. What inspired it, where it was shot, any story you can attribute to it, etc.

MS: With Vista Hermosa I wanted to document a short vacation back to my home island of Puerto Rico and I had a graphic designer who was eager to work with me. Its basically a two week glimpse into a winter vacation back to PR. I’ve recently made friends in PR’s underground art music scene and theres some glimpses into that world. Also there’s some photo journaling of my surf adventures on both the north and west coasts of Puerto Rico. I was inspired to create this zine because Ive made so many great photos in PR over the years I wanted to make something physical with some of the things i enjoy most on the island. With Pan Dulce I also documented a two week vacation to Costa Rica in pictures. Most of the pics are from the Osa Peninsula which is also a huge national rainforest. there’s also photos from Pavones and Hermosa beaches. Costa Rica is awe inspiring in its intense natural beauty which is inspiring in itself. Mostly I only got to take photos on this trip when we weren’t surfing. we were pretty much stuck in the jungle so I just brought a camera on the trips into town and went on a bunch of nature hikes. There’s not many faces in this zine bc honestly there was not a lot of human interaction for most of the trip.