In the run up to Farm Week 16, we will be asking all of our mentors these Ten Questions, to get to know them a little, to discover some new facts about them and because we just want to know more about what makes them tick.
Are you enjoying this series? I hope so, I find the answers utterly fascinating. In some ways quite similar and in others so different. I'm shocked at how many of our female mentors have been asked to do male boudoir for instance. And so far everyone's first camera has been very different levels, from SLRs to toy ones but it's all led to taking this up as a profession. For me that is the most fascinating thing about meeting fellow photographers, we have all taken such different paths to discovering a passion for photography and perhaps this week's mentor has one of the most interesting. After a successful but intense career playing in punks bands, Matt Miller was actually pulling night shifts at a bong shop for minimum wage when he was first offered a wedding photography gig by a mate. It turned out that the gig was through the hugely influential collective of wedding photographers Our Labor of Love and it turned out that Matt utterly loved it. You can read more about Matt's take on it all in our This Is What I See series after you've had a look through the Ten Questions..
Can you remember the first camera that you ever owned and if so tell us about it?
i believe my first camera was a Pentax SLR. i broke it a couple of days later and eventually was kicked out of my high school photography class.
I sometimes think about how amazing the Instagram accounts would have been of people who are not around anymore, like Andy Warhol… His feed would have been incredible. Who do you think would have had a great Instagram?
am i lame to think that part of what made so many of those people fascinating was the mystery... i think seeing their day to day stuff, like buying cat food or what their coffee looked like, that would take away from only knowing their work and never knowing how normal they might have actually been.... i feel that way about many of the photographers, musicians, etc that I've grown up loving, and now the more i know about them, the fantasy is sort of gone....
What’s the one piece of advice that you have been given that proved to have had the most influence on you?
my favorite bit of advice i got when i was starting taking photography seriously and moving beyond just the technical stuff, my friend Zack Arias told me to find my voice, look at images, ones that i love and that have stuck with me over the years, and also look at the images i hated. now really dig and try to see what what is it in the images that makes me FEEL. is it the color? composition? subject matter? these images made me stop and ponder. now WHAT is it that made me pause... in doing that, i started to understand more that just "i like this and i don't like that" sort of like how foodies can taste hints of every ingredient in a meal, more than just "its good". does that make sense? anyhow, i learned to try and understand the intent in an image more than just, - "oooh that looks cool"
What function do you wish your camera could have that it doesn’t already?
i feel like my camera doesn't have many limits that i curse it for. maybe if it had a function to dispense vegan doughnuts into my mouth throughout the day, that would be pretty awesome.
If you were not a photographer what job would you be doing?
oh man. I've never been really good at much. I'm so very thankful that I've found this as a way to make a living and it really does fell great on my conscious. its gives my the flexibility to be home most of the week to hang with the family, travel and see the world, and make people hearts swell. i can't really think of any other "work" that can fill that same hole. as for a job that i could actually pull off... well, lets just say my previous job was making $7.50 an hour working the graveyard shift (midnight - 7am) selling bongs and raver clothing. so I'm good where I'm at... haha.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
i'd say my current situation is 100x better than anything could have imagined 10 years ago. family life is amazing, friendships are great, and my job is fulfilling and i can pay the bills while going to a party almost every weekend. but i think making a little something called Stella Grace Miller has been my greatest work yet.....
Name one book that you think we should go out and buy.
well, you are talking to a guy who has only read one book from cover to cover. so Siddhartha by Herman Hesse would be my only horse in that race. it was a good one for sure. but my mind can't handle too many pages without wondering off into lala land so reading books has never been a strength for me.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever been asked to photograph and did you do it?
nothing too weird really. got any ideas? I'm all ears....
If you could go back and say one thing to yourself aged 20, what would it be?
What question do you wish we’d asked you?
hey matt, want a chip butty? and a coke?
Matt Miller is joining us for Farm Week 16. His class last year was one of the biggest hits and what I learnt from Matt has had a big influence on my own business this year. I'm thrilled that he has agreed to return. I know many of you would benefit from this masterclass in how to carve out your own niche in a busy market, how to give a great client experience and how to build up a business based on referrals and attracting clients who are excited about the photography. Nailing Alternative Weddings is on the 12th of February at Photography Farm.