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Interview with Photographer Matthew Day

Interview with Photographer Matthew Day

Matthew Day, Photographer

Valerie Atkisson / ArtBistro

October 12, 2009

Do you think that the twists and turns of a creative career are common?

I definitely think that they are more common than many people realize. It would be nice if you could just go to school, get a degree, and then start showing your work in upscale galleries but that route only works for a select few. Fortunately, because most of us have to make a living one way or another we follow the odd jobs that we probably hate when it’s necessary and sometimes may even find ourselves stuck behind a desk for a few years. But I wouldn’t say that this is a waste unless you really don’t gain something from the experience. You should at least be tormented because you’re filling out reports instead of putting a brush on canvas- there’s a lot of great art out there made by people who were tormented. But more importantly, detours along the way should actually be welcomed because they enlarge your experience and give more emotion to what you have to say to the world.

Nathan-edit_max200w

Matthew Day, Photographer


Right out of High School I had the chance to meet a photographer from The National Geographic and I asked him what I needed to do to make it as a photographer. I was young and wanted to make sure I got into the right program with the right instructors and connections. His response was not at all what I expected but he knew that experience was more important than anything else. “Study something else other than photography,” he said, “you’ll figure that out on your own.” It was good advice.

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What advice to do you have for photographers just starting out?

On the first day of my photography class in middle school, I learned that to photograph means “to write with light.”  Whether you are just starting out or not, your work will mean more to you and others if you write about what is important to you.  And usually, you have to read a lot and observe a lot before you know what to say.  Don’t make it a goal to make money from your work and chances are it will happen anyway. Don’t spend too much time trying to get an agent.  It’s worth pursuing but it shouldn’t be your priority, especially in the beginning.

Thank you, Matthew, for your time. It has been a pleasure to interview you. Your candor and realistic view on life as a photographer will resonate with many ArtBistro users.


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