Matt Terrell is photographer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. His photographs are dreamy multiple exposures of bright colors and compositions. Although his photos do frequently explore the Queer community in the South, his exploration of the city of Savannah using the Lomo Chrome Purple film explores more of the architecture of the historic city. His latest work is inspired by the Lomo Supersampler is definitely one to check out.
What do you think makes a good photographer?
A good photographer has a new way of looking that the world has not seen. Famous photographers all have a style they are known for—from Henri Cartier Bresson’s “Decisive Moment” to Cindy Sherman’s semiotic realness—and it’s vital that today’s photographers have a style and perspective that is distinctly their’s. Good photographers show us something new, that only they can see and express.
How would you define photography as an artistic medium
The art of photography lies in how you are able to break the rules to suit your needs. I think photography is much like writing. In both, you learn the basic rules. Language you learn grammar, punctuation, sentence structure. In photography you learn composition, lighting, and the rule of thirds. But both great writers and great photographers break these rules all of the time. In fact, the ways in which they break the rules define their style and perspective. In any medium, photography especially, breaking the rules and convention is where the art comes from.
What inspires you to make the images you do?
I simply enjoy the act of taking photos. I’m very fortunate that photography isn’t my dayjob. Quite frankly, it’s a pit of time and money—but a pit I enjoy maintaining nonetheless. I love going out for walks and taking pictures of whatever I find beautiful. If you look—I mean really look—you’ll find all sorts of incredible moments. The way the light pours over the hills of San Francisco on the Summer Solstice,. The single rose petal suspended in a spider’s web. There’s beauty everywhere. You have to look for it, though.
Working with the Lomo Chrome Purple Film how do you think you photographed differently?
Lomo Chrome Purple can amplify the spookier elements of an image. Knowing that, and using it in Savannah, GA (America’s most haunted city), I sought out images that were inherently eerie. The deep purples and blues of Lomo Chrome Purple made bright and sunny Savannah look as if it were shrouded darkness and mystery. I chose subjects, such as a historic cemetery, that played well with this style.
A lot of your work involves multiple exposures, what is your approach to that?
I double expose images by chance—I don’t plan out frame by frame what I double expose over. This is a freeing act for me, because I know that what I see in my viewfinder is not what will be the final image. Thus, I become more spontaneous when I shoot, and I focus on having fun with my camera. Through this, I find my images often reveal psychic truths. The flower over a friend’s pregnant belly—a gravestone double exposed with an empty pair of shoes. The images that come from double exposure speak to a magical way of viewing the world, where time and place collapse into each other, and the details of life form a many layered memory.
In your latest work you said you were inspired by the Super Sampler, can you speak a little bit more about that?
The Super Sampler, which I first used more 10 years ago, got me thinking about time as an aspect in photography. Since it takes four images in succession, the Super Sampler can often look like a little movie. I used to play a game where my friends and I would pull the cord, press the trigger, and toss the camera to another person. You could see the time the camera spent flying through the air. Ever since then, I’ve thought about ways I can make photography more 4D, and that’s how I landed in the double exposure process. Time becomes an element in this practice, and like the Super Sampler, the images are like little movies.
(images taken with Super Sampler)
Any advice to new and upcoming photographers or artists?
Use an old film camera that only has manual settings for aperture and shutter speed. A digital camera may take fantastic images under the “Automatic” setting, but then the camera is doing all the work. Understanding the relationship between shutter speed and aperture, and the final image they produce, is vital to mastering the art of photography.
You can see more of Matt's work on his website
Here's his latest show
Lomo Chrome Purple Film is available in our shop