Q: Hi Matt, welcome to Pellicola! Tell us something about your life and yourself.
My name is Matt Bower and I live in Atlanta, Georgia with my wife Ellie. I’m a recovering accountant who works in commercial real estate. I love traveling, golf, and music.
Q: How did your photographic journey get start?
My journey begins with my grandmother. Later in life she had the opportunity to travel the world and took photos along the way. As a child, her photo albums became my passport to the world. They were essentially family photos but composed in a way that made them more than just family photos. My grandmother inspired me to travel but more importantly helped shape the way I see the world. Photography is how I remember these experiences.
Q: What’s your favourite thing about photography?
Photography makes me feel alive. There’s a heightening of the senses when I’m out taking photographs. I become more observant and reflective. A chaotic world becomes orderly. For a brief moment in time, everything makes sense.
Q: What’s your favourite gear?
35mm travel cameras. Olympus XA2 and Yashica T3 are two of my current favorites.
Q: We are big fan of your work on Polaroid. Why have you chosen to shoot instant photography?
Thank you. It’s a great contrast to traditional film where it can take weeks to get film developed. Instant film offers an immediate, tangible result. In a world of instant gratification, Polaroid offers that instant feedback but on different terms.
Q: How would you describe your photography?
A recurring theme in my work is a focus on memory and time. There’s a sense of nostalgia to my photographs – it’s not an obsession with the past but instead a focus on the fleeting nature of life, an appreciation for the beauty all around us. These themes are reinforced through the film I use and my scanning process. While it’s easy to take a photograph that documents what happened, it’s much harder to take a photograph that evokes a strong emotional response and heightened sense of memory.
Q: What are you looking for when you go out shooting?
Color, light, balance. Scenes that tell a story. A favorite quote I’ve come across is about photographing during the last 30 minutes of sunlight, when sand seems to slip through the hourglass with increasing speed. Some of my favorite photographs try to capture this feeling.
Q: What keeps you inspired?
Music, film, discovering other photographers. Before the internet, I can only imagine how challenging it was to discover new photographers. Most photographers didn’t stand a chance at sharing their work beyond family and friends. Unlike other forms of art, photography translates very well to the internet. And it’s amazing how many talented photographers are out there. Today, photographers can publish independent photobooks or zines at a relatively cheap cost. It’s a great way to experience photography and a completely different experience than a gallery or website.
Q: Thanks for finding the time for this interview, Matt. Would you recommend a film or an album to our readers?
Thanks for the opportunity. I recommend Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich.
All images © Matt Bower