Interview #50: Matthew Tammaro
CUS: First of all, the most standard question in the book: how did you get into photography?
Matthew Tammaro: I was always involved in art so photography was just a natural thing to try. I was definitely drawn into it but decided to focus on drawing and painting in university. After hating it, I enrolled in another school and did my BFA in photography.
CUS: Tell us a little about where you live. How does your town/city/country affect your photography?
MT: I live in Toronto, Canada. It's a good city in the sense that it's very multi-cultural and liberal and cosmopolitan and all that, but it lacks something. I don't know exactly what it is, maybe momentum, or maybe I've squeezed out all the inspiration that I can from it. So it's time to move.
The countryside outside of Toronto definitely feels much more inspirational.
CUS: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
MT: An egg salad sandwich from Tim Hortons.
CUS: Did you study, or are you studying, photography? If not, how did you learn?
MT: I went to Ryerson University for photography.
CUS: What are five things you can’t live without?
MT: A few important people, traveling in some way or another, swimming in the outdoors, good food, and the countryside.
CUS: Do you believe that with the rise of digital photography the phrase “everyone can be a photographer” is true?
MT: Sure, why not?
CUS: Describe your average day?
MT: Wake up early, try to be productive, three square meals and if it's a good day: read, spend some more time in bed, drive somewhere, photograph, wine or whiskey, time in the sun, have a good conversation.
CUS: What was the last movie you saw in the theatre?
CUS: If every photograph should contain one key element, what would it be in your opinion?
MT: Honesty and truth.
CUS: If you could go anywhere in the world to take photographs where would you go?
MT: Anywhere around water.
CUS: What is your fondest childhood memory?
MT: Driving around America with my mom when I was 8.
CUS: Who, or what, is your biggest influence?
MT: I don't know if I have one specific influence. It's more like I will go back to some images or songs or places a lot. But really the influences change often. Right now I've been looking at a lot of Juergen Teller and Matisse, and really loved The Farmer's Daughter by Harrison.
CUS: What are your other hobbies besides photography?
MT: I love cooking and traveling. I'm also almost fluent in French and am working at getting there.
CUS: Do you think that the Internet is a legitimate place to showcase your work?
MT: Ya definitely. I mean it's so great because your audience is much more broad and the internet as a platform is probably more creative. Actually, I think that the internet is probably the most legitimate place to showcase work. The only things are the lack of tangibility, size, and maybe a physical proximity of community. But it's not like you can touch a print in a gallery anyway, and there are a lot of easily accessible zines if the physical print is your sort of thing. So the internet just doesn't give you size and seeing real people.
CUS: Do you always have preconceived concepts of what you want to shoot?
MT: Sometimes I do. I don't know if those are my best images though. To preconceive something is definitely a different mode of shooting for me. I think what I like to pre-visualize is the setting and mood and colours of a photograph.
CUS: What are your plans for the winter?
MT: I have two series that I'm working on, amongst some fashion and portrait editorials. And I'm planning on moving by the Spring time--so saving for that.
CUS: What advice would you give to your fellow up-and-coming photographers?
MT: Might sound cliché, but go with your instinct and just do it a lot. And make sure it is rewarding in some way or another.
CUS: Our last interviewee, Marina Richter, wants to know: Do you feel supported by your non-artist friends and family?
MT: I have a few dearest friends, and none of them are involved in the arts. They are supportive of me, but I think the idea of art is unfortunately intimidating to a lot of people, and so they aren't too actively involved with my art.
CUS: Last but not least, what would you like to ask the next interviewee?
MT: What fuels your ideas, photographs, and decisions?