Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dayv Mattt: Interview with a GeniusDayv Mattt sat down with The...

Dayv Mattt: Interview with a Genius

Dayv Mattt sat down with The Chromatic Watch on a sunny Saturday to chat about his work, share some knowledge, and tell us about his new book, High Street Low Street Colombo.

Cross Connect: How do you think your photography’s changed over the years? What do you think you’ve gotten better at and what are you still working on?

Dayv Mattt: I really had to sit down and think about this one for a few minutes. I mean I think my photography has gotten better over the years, but I can’t really say why. I don’t think the way I shoot street photography has changed since I started doing it, but certainly the way I process the photos has, and I have worked hard to limit the number of shots I keep and publish. In my early days, I was like that annoying dude on instragram who posts every single shot. I am always willing to work on my post processing, and for my next project, I am contemplating a serious shift, but I have not figured out what that shift will be yet.

Cross Connect: How do you stand out as a photographer now that everyone with instagram and an iphone thinks they’re a photographer?

Dayv Mattt: Everyone with instragram and an iphone IS a photographer, but photography is like dubstep (or any genre of music). There is really good dubstep, and there is REALLY BAD dubstep. I like to think I stand out as a photographer because my photography is interesting to the people who look at it. To keep that music analogy going, there are people who really like dubstep, and there are people who really don’t. That said, there are some people who really like my style of photography, and people who don’t. I’m not doing this to stand out. I’m doing it because I’m proud of my work and I want people to see it.

Cross Connect: What is important to you to make a good photograph/what makes a good photograph?

Dayv Mattt: This may rub people the wrong way, but I am not a big fan of technical photography. For technical photographers, there is a checklist and a tried and tested method of getting that perfect shot. I would argue that a lot of these “perfect” photos are lacking in something much more important; personality. I’d rather shoot twenty frames of the same subject while I walk past it, than worry about settings to try and get that perfect frame right off the bat. Do you know what I mean?

Cross Connect: Have you ever felt that you hit a plateau in your work? And how did you rise above it? 

Dayv Mattt: I have felt that way a number of times, and what I realized was that I was getting into too much of a routine. Hitting up the same spots over and over. Doing too much of the same too often. It’s easy to fall into that trap as a street photographer. Especially if you are shooting at lunch, or during the morning and evening commutes. I rose above those moments by making sure that at least once a week I took a different route home, or planned to hit up a place I’d never been for a Saturday photo mission. If you’re feeling like a routine has you trapped, just head to your nearest bus stop, and get on a bus you have never been on before and ride that for an hour and walk home from wherever you get off.

Cross Connect: What type of photography do you like to look at? 

Dayv Mattt: I really enjoy (and envy) combat photography. If I could do combat photography, I would. It’s a dream of mine, but I know that I am not capable of doing it* so I stick to what I can do and try to enjoy it.

*I can’t do combat photography because I’m a pussy.

Cross Connect: What drew you to street photography initially? What has kept you interested in it? What do you like best about being a street photographer/shooting street?

Dayv Mattt: I love walking, and street photography gave me a reason to walk around. It just grew on me because when I got to Korea and didn’t really dig the club scene enough to shoot it, I figured I might as well do something with my camera so I gave it a try. It grew on me because being a judgmental introverted expat in Seoul is pretty lonely, so spending vast amounts of time out on the street shooting kept me a bit more sober that I would have been sitting at home.

Cross Connect: What advice do you have for someone trying to start shooting street photography? 

Dayv Mattt: No one will care about your photos for a long time. Prepare yourself for that.

Cross Connect: You’ve published a book of your photography, High Street Low Street Seoul, and have a new book in the works. What are some lessons you’ve learned about publishing your work that you can share with other artists?

Dayv Mattt: I guess I would say, “know your audience”. My Seoul book sold much better than my Colombo book is selling. There was more enthusiastic demand for my Seoul book. No one seems to care much about my Colombo book. I’m not sure why that is, but I guess more people care about glitzy Seoul than they do about developing Colombo. The publishing part is easy. Getting people to care about your book and buy it is a little harder.

Cross Connect: Can you tell us about your new book?

Dayv Mattt: High Street Low Street Colombo explores the small streets and neighborhoods’ of Colombo, Sri Lanka. It provides the viewer with images of what the city is like for the average resident. In my opinion, it’s much better than my Seoul book because Colombo is so much smaller than Seoul and I was able to explore more of Colombo than I ever was able to in Seoul due to Seoul’s massive size.


Big thanks to Dayv Mattt for this interview and for all the dope photography he posts on his site. You can find out more about his new book and support its creation on his Kickstarter page.

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