Fashion to advertising to portraits to landscapes; Matt Barnes, the Toronto based photographer, is the expert to all expansive art forms in the photography world. A lover of analog photography as well, Matt tells us his story of his first encounter to his first film camera, and shares with us his adventure from Paris, shot from everyone’s favorite Lomography camera; the LC-A+!
One of Toronto’s favorite photographer, Matt Barnes dropped by our Lomography Gallery store, and we got the opportunity to meet him and learn more about his interest to analog photography.
When did you first get interested in photography?
I’ve been calling myself a photographer ever since I was given a Minolta X-700 by my Dad, back when I was fifteen. I’d stage shoots with my friends, and even then I’d enjoy making it into a production, propping and getting them dressed up for my camera. The next year at school I did a co-op placement with a photography studio and that really had me hooked – I doubt a week has gone by, since I was fifteen, that I haven’t taken a photo.
What kind of photography do you mostly like to do for work?
Being in the Canadian market, I have found that it’s best to be open to a wide range of photography, so I try not to limit what I shoot. In an average month I’ll work with high end advertising clients, record labels, magazines and do a few personal art photo shoots.
Tell us how you and your first camera met or how you became drawn to that camera? Would you say you have a special connection to any of them?
I have a few analogue cameras, including my first Minolta, which I really should dust off and put a roll through (it’s likely been ten years since I played with it). I bought a cool Rolleiflex at a junk sale this past summer, which wasn’t in the best shape, though I was able to get some really cool shots out of it. On a day to day basis we still shoot analogue, with a Hasselblad 503cm whick in a manual camera (but we use a digital back on it). I love the waist-level finder and the manual winder, and it’s always a good conversation starter with talent who aren’t likely to have seen that camera before.
Are there any kind of special method that you like to shoot analogue photos?
With my bread and butter in the advertising world, it’s nice to go simple when I shoot analogue – ie no lights, no assistants, no tripod; it feels great to strip it all away and is a cool break from the norm.
How was your experience using the LC-A+?
I’m used to working with such big cameras that it was nice to have something very pocket sized to shoot with (it’s size was something I was quite conspicuous about, but in a good way). I reckon it’ll take a few more rolls to get used to it and understand the focus, but that being said my favorite shots were the out of focus close-ups.
What is your opinion about analogue vs digital?
A digital camera seems more like a tool for work these days, while with film I just seem to have less pressure and no consequences – it’s a nice feeling!
Please share with us your most interesting encounter while shooting with the Lomography films!
Reactions were interesting, from people who saw me working with the camera. I regularly post behind the scenes footage from shoots and was captured on video using the LC-A camera, which received a lot of attention from people wanting to know what I was shooting with and why.
Where was your favorite place to shoot during your travel to Paris?
I went to a motorcycle show while I was there which I really enjoyed shooting, but in general, from the hotel to surrounding locale, the colours of the city were really cool to work with.
Which street or neighborhood in Toronto/or in Canada would you say is your favorite spot to shoot?
The strip of motels down on Lakeshore, which grow fewer with each passing year, has always been a bit of a favourite spot for me to shoot. The colours and old architecture make for a great location, albeit one with a touch of sleaze.
Describe your dream photograph that will show your personality.
I’m lucky enough that I seem to pull off a new dream shoot every few months, but right know I think that going down to New Orleans to shoot some gritty stuff on the Lomo would be cool. It would be great to shoot all black and white, of people with interesting faces; from musician to gator hunter, a cool series of grimy stuff.
What are your thoughts on documenting your travel stories with analogue photographs?
It would be a great way to segue out of using my iPhone for that kind of stuff, with a better look and less lameness about it. Hopefully I’m off to L.A. next week to the Warner Brothers wardrobe house…that would be a real Lomopportunity!
Any tips for our Lomography Community?
Live by the Lomo motto – don’t think, just shoot!
Matt is currently represented commercially by Westside Studio . You can check out his beautiful collection of work for wide range of his clients from all different industry. Check out Matt’s post on his own personal blog about Lomography!