After studying at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and receiving a Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2003, Michelle Buhler moved to New York City to continue to learn and expand her career as an artist. While in New York, she studied cinematography at New York University and color photography at the International Center of Photography.
While working as a master black and white darkroom printer for artists such as Vera Lutter and Adam Fuss, Michelle became more inspired about her own photography and its meaning. The dialogue created by these artists pushed Michelle to create an artistic dialogue of her own. Finding little interest for staging New York City as a backdrop, Michelle retreated to the beaches off of Long Island, the countryside of Connecticut, and the unusual landscapes of Iceland and Greece in order to capture her photographic ideas. While watching the film Apocalypse Now, Michelle felt inspired by the weightiness of the topic of war in contrast to the lush, thriving jungle landscape of Vietnam. The slow moving scenes along the Nung River, where every now and then magenta smoke would rise from the green jungle floor and mingle among the foliage, were of particular interest to Michelle. These scenes inspired Michelle to travel to Tulum, Mexico in 2009 to photograph colored smoke within a dense jungle. Since then, Michelle has been exploring the meaning of smoke signals, and the project has since widened diametrically from that wet jungle to the dry monochromatic winter tundras of Utah and elsewhere.
After living in New York for eight years, Michelle moved back to Salt Lake City, Utah in October 2011.
Her work has been exhibited in shows at The Pelham Art Center in New York and in various exhibitions in Salt Lake City, Utah.