Still drooling over those whimsical, vintage-esque wedding shots in my previous post? So, you wonder what the inspirations are behind crafting imagery that makes us go ‘wow’? I caught up with Matt Duncan from Inspired Photographics to find out what nurtures his creative soul.
Matt, tell us how you describe your photography style?
This is a question that I’m constantly trying to think about, I am not too sure what the answer is? I love being able to use my creativity to produce artistic pieces, feedback from people around me is that they appreciate my work, and they want to see more of it. In terms of a style though, I guess I like to create images that captivate people.
I want viewers to look at my images and ask questions, I want them to look and then look again and again, ever searching within the image for answers.
When creating my images I like to add elements of contrast and juxtaposition, from a young age I was always intrigued by just about anything surreal.
What genre of photography interests you?
I love the creativity and inspiration behind photographic fine art, additionally weddings and portraiture. I enjoy covering weddings, as they are something I am passionate about, when I arrive at a wedding I don’t feel like I am working.
For me its not a job, a 10 hour day goes by so quickly its never boring and it is always fun and exciting.
I feel honored that the bride and groom have chosen and trusted me to capture their memories on their special day. I don’t think ill ever forget a single wedding.
Most enjoyable photoshoot you’ve done?
I assisted behind the scene as part of the promotional shoot for Queensland Ballet‘s 2014 season launch, working with the Sydney-based photographer Harold David. It was such a great experience! He’s very well known in the industry for his work as a photographer. I found Harold to be amazing to work with and very approachable, I learnt so much on that shoot. (Editor’s note: Queensland Ballet approached Harold David to bring a fashion element into their 2014 season imagery, and they turned out to be jaw-dropping, fairytale-like that carry wide appeal beyond just the ballet fans! Check them out here.)
Most inspiring photographer?
I guess I have a few photographers and artists that I admire and follow, Jerry Uelsmann, Gregory Crewdson, Brook Shaden, Diane Arbus and even Steve McCurry.
For some reason I seem to drawn to just about anything that shows a sense of juxtaposition or surrealism.
Gregory Crewdson’s work just captivates and mesmerises me his images are dreamlike and set up like a story, I really love how he creates angst and tension between his subjects. A more recent artist and photographer I have found is Alexia Sinclair, her work captures my attention drawing me into her images well worth checking out.
I absolutely adore these photos from your recent ballet project! Tell me more about the concept?
I guess the idea and motive for me behind this project was that I wanted show the true beauty and of essence of the ballerina, by creating a setting that is so contradictory to the norm.
Ballerinas are usually seen in a staged environment with elegant backdrops, with emotive lighting. In my images I have found these urban arenas, torn down venues and buildings in exaggerated stages of decay.
Here in these environments the ballerina stands out, her elegance and beauty impacting on the contrasting environment.
The first time you picked up a camera?
When I was around six years old. It was a disposable camera, I picked it up and I ended up running around taking photos of just about anything that grabbed my attention.
What is your thought process prior to a photoshoot?
I look into the current trends, I research locations and create mood boards. I find using Pinterest very helpful during the process. On my personal projects I usually have a clear idea of what the final images will look like sometimes weeks or months before I have even picked up a camera. From the image I have in my head I work backwards, determining lighting, props, wardrobe and subjects. I make a bit of a plan as to how I will go about shooting it, then on the day I may make minor adjustments.
The biggest challenge of being a photographer ? How do you overcome them?
It’s certainly the “creative block” as I’m finishing college at the moment and have been working on assignments, I have not had much time to just think. I am constantly looking for inspiration by following other artists’ work on sites and blogs, one of my favourite being mymodernmet.com.
Best tips for models?
The best advice I can give is to practise posing. Keep in mind that the photographer is not there to direct every single shot. The photographer’s job is to set up the scene, look at the theme and the mood, get the models into their pose for the first shot.
From there a model should be able to keep the shoot flowing with a range of poses even by just moving one aspect of their bodies for each shot.
If you can get anyone to model for a photoshoot who would that be?
Jack Nicholson. I like his eyes and his crazy personality, and that he doesn’t take life too seriously!
From being a record management officer at the local government just a few years’ back to now dazzling his images with creativity and sophisticated artistic sense, I couldn’t help admiring Matt’s aspiration and enthusiasm that have shone through from behind the lens.