Matt Slater




Matt Slater (b. 1994, East London)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

Whatever I find beautiful in some way. Something, someone or a place that I connect with. I particularly enjoy spending time in natural spaces like forests.

Describe your photographic style.

Archaic, romantic, melancholic.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

Photography has had – and continues to have – a huge impact on my life and the way I see things around me. My personal life plays a large role in the work I make — in a way it’s a reflection of myself. Photography has allowed me to access a new way to view and engage with the world or this reality.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot, and your approach to a new body of work?

Photography is by definition about time. Traditionally photography was used to document and freeze a moment in time. Personally, I prefer work that seems timeless, and makes you feel something. I’m constantly making new work, and after a while it seems all the work groups itself together and begins to form it’s own category or a finished form.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

I work at a photography college tutoring and occasionally lecturing. But yes, for me it’s all photography related; whether I’m doing product shots, shooting a small wedding or preferably, expanding my own work.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

I use quite a few different cameras and they all have their specific purpose. I love to have the variety of perspectives, and it gets me to change my routine if things get a little stagnant. I use a Mamiya RB67 mainly, along with a Fuji GW670iii, Yashica T4, Polaroid 250 land camera, Diana F, an old box camera and some odd half frames and cheapies.

Film wise, I mostly use Ilford Delta 3200, HP5 and sometimes Delta 100. Along with Fuji FP100-C for the Polaroid. I use a variety of paper stocks in the darkroom — a personal favourite is Agfa Brovia.

Tell me more about your interest in the traditional darkroom – how has your exploration helped to build the unique look and feel to your images?

The darkroom is where I make 90% of the work. I love the hands on feeling of working with the images and chemicals, as well as the meditative environment of the darkroom. I’m able to experiment with new processes and use it as a place to isolate myself and create under the safe light.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

Growth is key! The way I see it, I’m making the work regardless of what comes my way and I use that motivation to keep growing and evolving. Making work helps me grow personally. Curiosity is the motivation, I get very excited when I feel I’ve made a new and interesting piece or I see something in the work that I can explore more deeply.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

Sally Mann, Jeff Cowen, Robert Adams, David Goldblatt, Dan Estabrook, Daisuke Yokota, Takashi Homma, Wolfgang Tillmans, John Gossage and Jungjin Lee. I also find William Basinksi and Brian Eno hugely inspirational.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

I enjoy surfing. I would like to get involved in printmaking and publishing too, at some point.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Constant practice, research and reflection.

What lies on the horizon (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels etc)? And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

I’ve got a book coming out soon called Efflorescent Cherry, published by Quiet Sun Books. I finished up a project from my recent residency at Amplify Studio, which manifested into an exhibition and a book. For the future, I hope to keep on making books and participating in residencies abroad.

Instagram: @mattsl8r

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All photos by Matt Slater

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017.

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