Getting an interview out of a strong, silent type who happens to be an observer by trade is tricky. But I brought my journalistic skills to the table, along with a couple of beers, and sat down with portrait/music/skateboard photographer Matt McGinley. I’ve always liked his work because of the grittiness in his photographs that comes across without pretension or making the viewer feel like he or she’s watching snuff on a Super 8. His work strikes me as achieving the right balance of ethereal madness and the weight of something solid.
Characterize your aesthetic:
I like to portray people the way they are naturally. I’m not trying to project fantasy on a person. I don’t try to make someone into someone he or she isn’t already. But we all see differently so my view of a person will always be different from yours or their own.
People always have an idea about how they look. Do they see themselves as they are in reality, or is there no such thing as an objective portrait?
People still see themselves the way they want to, and everyone takes something different away from a photograph.
What advice do you give people who are being photographed?
Relax in general. Don’t worry about doing something with your hands.
I like shooting real people, catching in-between moments, when they forget about me, when they’re not trying. Models have poses; they know what they’re doing.
How do you get what you want out of a subject?
I’m relentless. I shoot until they give up. I rather not set up a shot; I like to let things happen.
What’s your ideal place to shoot?
I like natural light. Overcast days are great. I fell more free shooting in daylight. I do studio work where I use lights, which I enjoy as well, but I like daylight best.
How do you put together a portfolio?
It’s a total nightmare. I’ll put a portfolio together mostly after the fact. I’ll shoot what I want without a portfolio in mind. Then I’ll have 200 photos taped on my wall. It drives me crazy.
If you weren’t a photographer, you’d be …
That’s a good question. I haven’t ever done anything that doesn’t involve a camera.
|©McGinley Freddie Gibbs|
What are you working on now?
I’ve been shooting a lot of music artists – a project I’ve been working on in Huntsville, Alabama, where I’m documenting the hip-hop scene. I shoot a lot of up-and-coming artists as they’re evolving. I like shooting hip-hop because they have drive to promote themselves and personality, a hunger which comes through in the photos, some musicians hate being photographed and shy away from cameras. I regularly shoot guests on Ballers Eve Radio. I like shooting people in their studios or homes. I think it says a lot about a person by what they surround themselves with.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Nope. I never told you this was going to be easy.
Will you photograph me?
Sure. You bought the beers.
Check out Matt’s work here.