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?

MT: Melancholia


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?


Matthew Tammaro, b. 1987 from Toronto, Canada


Images provided by Matthew Tammaro. All rights reserved.