Q&A: Matt Pearson
Photographer Matt Pearson has just opened his new gallery right in the heart of The Rocks, Sydney. We sat down for a chat with the fine-art landscape photographer about his work, his approach and the new space ahead of the opening event on Thursday night.
1) How did you get started in photography?
I actually found my first camera, would be over 20 years ago now. It was an old 35mm Pentax. I lived on the Central Coast at the time, right across the road from the beach, so I naturally focused my lens toward the ocean. I’d spend whatever money I had on film, processing and printing. Trial and error was how I learnt. I’m still learning more and more every day.
2) What inspires you and what are you influenced by?
During this time I spent countless hours in Ken Duncan's gallery in Matcham. I would go in and admire his work whenever I had a spare moment, so Ken was a big influence on me. I hassled him so much that he gave me a job running errands for him. I just wanted to be around someone like him in the hopes of learning. Unfortunately, the job only lasted only a few weeks due to my terrible driving record through my teens.
Strong inspiration in my work, currently, would still be the ocean, movement of all water, textures and colours. I’m not stuck on any given genre. I'll shoot the streets of NYC and Paris, the mountains of New Zealand or the desert in Australia, Arizona or Utah. As well as beaches, underwater, waves, or from helicopters or aeroplanes to get the aerial point of view. I love it all!
3) What's the secret to a great image?
Light, composition, texture and the feeling you get when you see it and capture it, that feeling has to show up when other people see your work.
4) What's your most memorable photography experience?
It’s an image I’ve named The Oasis, it’s at the bottom of Knox gorge in Karrijini National Park. Me and a mate of mine, who happened to be a professional climber, started our trek about an hour before sunrise that morning in order to get the perfect light to make this shot.
We had all the ropes, harness’s and dry bags for the gear, two cameras, a horseman 617, a Nikon d3x, a few lenses and tripod. We wore wetsuits as there was no chance of staying dry. After an hour or so of trekking the light had come up and we arrived at the point we needed to harness up. I climbed about 30 meters on my own down this vertical slippery gorge until I got to the top of one of the most beautiful visions I’d ever seen. A perfectly shaped waterfall that ran almost vertically down the gorge.
It dropped about another 30 meters into what I would say is the most amazing natural beauty I’ve seen to this day. I unclipped my harness and slid off, plunging into the ice cold green pool of water. I yelled with joy as I emerged. I then swam across to the other side of the gorge and found an anchor point to have my gear lowered in on a flying fox. I set up and just looked back in awe. It was hard to believe where I was and just how incredible it felt to be there on my own. The climb out was even more challenging.
5) What does it mean to you to open the new gallery?
We’ve been open for a month now and the response has been overwhelming. I can’t tell you how grateful I am and what a sense of achievement I’ve experienced. It’s been something I’ve visualised for so many years, so for it to finally come to fruition is such a blessing. I’m over the moon!
6) What would you tell people who might want to open a gallery one day?
Never lose sight of what you set out to achieve.
Matt Pearson's Fine Art Photography Gallery launch is Thursday 11 October 2018 at 6pm. More information here.
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