Peroni Presents: Profiles of People of Influence – Matt Barnes

Peroni Presents: Profiles of People of Influence – Matt Barnes

We talk to Toronto-based photographer Matt Barnes about how to get the perfect shot and the importance of escaping the city once in a while. By Leo Petaccia

What attracted you to photography?

My father was a big influence in that he was also quite keen on photography. I was drawn to pop culture driven movements and style…photography seemed the perfect way to blend a lot of my interests together. I think it appealed to me because it’s a self-driven profession, as well, and for that reason it allows you to rely pretty much just on yourself.

You’ve got quite a unique style, a bit of dark and raw meets sexy and classical. What kinds of things influence your work and your approach to photography.

I think I just may be a little askew. I love to present my own point of view, as in photographing subjects in such a way that they reflect how I see them, and less so than how they present themselves to the world. I guess that may be natural though.

You’ve made quite a name for yourself in this industry. Describe the journey from when you started out until now.

I’ve been telling people I was a photographer since I was sixteen. My website (thatsthespot.com which is relaunching in October) has been up since I was a teenager, too. It was important for me to identify myself as a photographer even before I went professional and it led to a lot of cool opportunities. I got my start as an assistant to photographer Philip Rostron and then got a toe in the door at commercial heavyweights Westside Studio before they signed me on full time as a shooter. I’ve just been plugging away with commercial and personal work since.

How do you know when you’ve found that perfect shot?

I guess it’s when the photograph matches what I’d envisioned in my head. That’s always important for me and it’s usually when I stop shooting. I tend not to have a lot of wasted frames that way and a fair bit of the time I only shoot with an aim at getting one shot.

It seems that a nine-to-five workday isn’t the kind of luxury photographers get to of enjoy too often. When you have the chance, what do you like to do to unwind?

I like to pack up for a day or two and sneak away with my wife to provincial towns around this part of Ontario and the US, hitting up derelict towns and flea markets for cool finds and just a good laugh. It’s nice to get outta town for a bit…makes you appreciate the city more.

westsidestudio.com/#MattBarnes

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