Mathew Scott was born and raised in Portland Oregon. At age 21 he moved to San Francisco, where he eventually went to school, and in 2006, he graduated with a BFA in Photography from The Academy of Art. Whether in landscape or portraiture, his camera brings into focus the paradoxical tensions existing just under the surface of everyday life. The juxtaposition of two Americas-the urban and the rural-overlap (and compete) in his photography, as startling images elicit a struggle of dualities. With a throw away gesture, he gives us Yin and Yang, light and dark, compassion and sarcasm. A dilapidated limo sits in the driveway of a gaudy pink house. Under a sky flooded with birds he seizes upon the irony of graffiti painted on the back of an abandoned shack. Mathew currently lives in LA, where he continues to impart truths that to a lesser eye would go unnoticed.
You have assembled quite a cast of characters on your website. For your personal work, what initially draws you to a subject?
‘The people I choose to photograph range from strangers, to friends, to friends of friends. The one thing they all have in common, is they are photographed how I found them. I rarely go anywhere without my camera, and I often spend days just wandering around. what draws me to a subject is where it gets a little complicated, I honestly cant explain why I am drawn to certain people. I see a lot of people everyday, and sometimes I just get an uncontrollable urge to photograph a particular person. I have learned to stop trying to figure out what makes that happen, instead.
‘I just turn off the analytical part of my brain, and just let everything unfold naturally. For me, this approach gets the real person to come out. I don’t talk much when I am shooting, and If someone feels uncomfortable in-front of my camera, than thats who they are, and I like that. I feel this is how I can build a body of work that can be described as characters, instead of portraits’.
Can you talk a little about how you became involved with Veer and how that process works?
‘I signed with Veer when I was in my last year of College. I was interested in shooting stock, so I started researching stock agencies, and I came across Veer’s website. Most stock is really cheesy and safe… old people at the beach, office settings… etc. Veer had a couple of sections that I felt where a little more interesting than the run of the mill stock photos, so I submitted some of my images, and about a month later, i was signed. I rarely set up shoots for stock, I just make it a habit to carry around model releases with me, and if I get a shot I like, I stick it in a folder, and when I get enough images in that folder, I make a submission. I do have a goal this year of shooting more specifically for stock, I really enjoy the creative freedom if gives me, your basically giving yourself an assignment, and it really makes you use your head when trying to conceptualize an idea, and figure out how to make it work for a “commercial” audience. This can be fun and frustrating at the same time’.
What camera are you using?
‘At the moment a Hasselblad 500cm, Mamiya 645 Pro, and a Canon 5D’.
You have just moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. What kinds of changes has this brought work-wise?
‘Work-wise, it has been a very positive move. There is a lot more going on down here… not that SF doesn’t have things going on as well, its just a simple fact of the size of LA. There is a lot more editorial assignments to shoot here, and that has been good. I am currently working on a pretty large marketing campaign right now, so in a few months, I will see what LA really has in store for me. As far as my personal work goes, its always refreshing to relocate. It gives me new places to explore, and in turn, gets my brain going. Being somewhere new gets me inspired to start working on new projects, or continue ongoing projects that may have been on hold for a while’.