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Interview with Photographer Matthew Day

Interview with Photographer Matthew Day

Matthew Day, Photographer

Valerie Atkisson / ArtBistro

October 12, 2009

Matthew Day is a documentary photographer with a passion for the photo essay and was first published by a major newspaper in 1996 when The Chicago Tribune published his images of Spanish Civil War Veterans. Mr. Day’s experience using photography to convey a message and educate includes training with photojournalists from The National Geographic and work on several national advertising campaigns for clients such as Aveda and BMW. His most recent projects address issues of immigration, the challenges confronted by families whose children are diagnosed with Down Syndrome, and youth living in government-subsidized shelters.

Mr. Day lives with his wife, Julie, and three children in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

How did you get started in photography?

I was lucky enough to be one of four students enrolled in a beginning photography class when I was in middle school.  It was one of those things that attracted me precisely because hardly anyone else at my school was doing it.  My father also loved taking pictures and he gave me a lot of encouragement.  In those early years, the photographers at The National Geographic were my heroes and I credit them with the drive I still have today to document stories with pictures.

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Matthew Day, Photographer

You were a photography rep for many years too. What precipitated that transition into becoming an agent?

I had been working for several years managing the studio of another photographer and had reached as far as I could go.  At the same time, a good friend was starting to shoot commercially and needed an agent.  9/11 was less than a year in the past and our economy was in a serious recession but I just couldn’t pass up the chance to work for myself and stay within the industry.  I started The Daylight Company in June 2002 and within a year was representing 4 photographers and 1 stylist.

Has the experience as an agent made you a better photographer? In what ways?

Being an agent has given me a better understanding of how art buyers and art directors think and how they arrive at their decisions for imagery.  It has also helped me to take in the nuances of usage pricing and knowing what to charge for my work.


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