Before earning awards as a commercial photographer, Michael was just a teenaged roadie, photographing legendary rock stars on a Nikkormat camera that his father gave him following a visit to Japan.
Already burned out from promoting shows by the age of nineteen, he found himself snapping pictures of rock stars strictly for his own pleasure. Learning how to print from his roommate, Harry Cooper, in a Kailua kitchen darkroom, he began to devise his own technique using ortho litho film.
Since 1969, Mike has photographed headliners including CSNY, Janis Joplin, The Doors, and Jethro Tull, both at the Blaisdell and the Waikiki Shell. Mick Jagger, who refused to be photographed, personally hired Michael to photograph him on stage. “Those were the days when you could walk right up to the stage, put your elbows down, and shoot,” remembers Mike.
Over the next 40 year period, Michael assembled a large and significant collection of art. Upon retiring from photography in 2002, he launched Michael D. Horikawa Fine Art – a gallery specializing in 19th and early 20th Hawaiian art. Additionally, Michael has served as A research affiliate to the Bishop Museum, in charge of curating and prioritizing the museum’s vast art collection for the reopening of the picture gallery. He has also been on the collections committee for the Honolulu Museum of Art and curated the art collection for Punahou School.