Michael Lang's interest in photography began at 14 when he was given a Leica camera and darkroom equipment. He was mentored for a year by advanced amateur photographers, learning composition and photographic technique. Afterward he decided to go outside the confines of the classical photographic image to pursue the photo-essay in order better to communicate what he saw in the world around him. He soon discovered that he could become invisible to those he was photographing and gain an unusual closeness and intimacy with his subjects. This quality can be seen in his first photo-essay An Easy Time about a Baltimore poolroom. It was followed by The Hill Tribe People of Northern Thailand, where he stayed with Akha and Lahu families, and Farrish Street, an essay on an historic but decaying neighborhood in Jackson Mississippi. More recently Lang produced be bar, an essay on a gay bar in downtown DC, his first essay in color. To further explore the theme, he produced The Drag Illusion, showing the preparation that drag queens go through to create the illusion. He photographed the queens back stage in black and white, his idea of reality, followed up by images of the queens performing, photographed in color, the illusion.