MULL IT OVER is proud to recommend Matt Nager this February! Matt has an extensive portfolio of personal and commercial work. He has good eyes.
JONATHAN CHERRY: What gets you up in the morning?
MATT NAGER: Usually coffee! Actually, I am not a morning person, so my day usually begins slowly around 9am. On a deeper level though, I look at each day as an opportunity to discover something new, whether that be new inspiration for a photo project, meeting a new person on an assigned photo shoot, or having a great day in the mountains.
JC: Are there any emerging artists inspiring you at the moment?
MN: Although they are already pretty experienced my favorite two photographers at the moment are Michael Christopher Brown and Carolyn Drake. They do amazing work. Mostly documentary in nature, their photography is both journalistic and art.
JC: What is your current project all about?
MN: At the moment I am between projects. I have several projects in the research phase, but nothing that I am shooting right now. I recently finished filming and photographing my first documentary looking into the rise in health issues in Southern Italy due to toxic waste disposal in the region. Check out the website for that film here and the photos here.
JC: What draws you to portraiture?
MN: I love people and I love telling stories. I originally went to journalism school with the idea of working for a newspaper. Unfortunately, that industry has seen quite a rough few years. When I started freelancing in Dallas a few years ago portraits were what I was hired to do. As I developed my skills shooting portraits, I really grew to enjoy meeting people, talking with them, and photographing them… in their environment. I still enjoy longer term documentary projects which enable me to spend months with a person or an idea a photograph it in a variety of ways, but there is something magical about capturing a person, or a place for that matter, in a ingle portrait.
JC: What equipment are you currently using? (cameras, software, hardware)
MN: I currently shoot on Nikon digital equipment. The Nikon D700 to be exact. I also shoot film and love my Mamiya 6 medium format camera.
JC: How do you find juggling personal & commercial work?
MN: It is not a struggle at all. I find time to do both personal work and commercial work because my personal projects tend to be long term and require a lot of research before the project begins. I take that time to earn money through commercial work which will allow me to photograph my personal projects. I also always try to think of projects that I can potentially sell when researching potential personal work. That way, I often make my money back after I am done working.
JC: Any advice to recent photography graduates?
MN: It takes time, but think about what you like to shoot and focus on those subjects. If you want to make money or be successful in photography, you need to find your corner and become the master of that corner. If you like shooting portraits focus on finding your style as a portrait photographer. Also, don’t loose motivation to shoot how you want simply because of how others shoot. Follow what you enjoy and the work will come.
JC: Favourite tree?
MN: Currently… the Maple Tree.