Award-winning and published photographer Matt Conti has traveled the globe to capture visually stunning images of his surroundings. Whether close to home in Boston or through his travels, Matt spends his time photographing numerous subjects, such as the many facets of urban and city landscapes as well as diverse cultures. Matt’s portfolio is richly multi-dimensional and without question, exudes artistic vision.
Matt thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview and it has been wonderful getting to learn about you and your work. It has been my pleasure to share your thoughts and experiences with my readers. You are a very talented photographer and someone who is definitely worth following. Your body of work is truly inspiring and I hope to see more great things from you in the future.
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself? What inspired you to be a photographer?
I came to photography after careers in engineering and investing. Although I was regularly involved in school yearbooks, travel photo blogs, community exhibitions, and such, I only started studying photography after founding a local online news business in Boston. I quickly realized the power of a photo in grabbing a reader’s attention and telling a story.
Where is home?
Boston has been my home since the mid-1990s but I was born and raised in New York. I just never made it back.
How did you develop your photographic focus?
I was initially fascinated by the urban landscape of Boston, and still do quite a bit of shooting there. I love the combination of its old and new cityscapes, rejuvenated harbor, and historic neighborhoods. As I started traveling more, I have expanded my portfolio by visiting several U.S. and international destinations.
Night photography and daytime long exposures are also a special interest, where the magic of bending time creates something not seen by the human eye. Because of my background in community news, I also dabble in photojournalism and street photography. It is a great way to walk around a city when traveling during the day because you can do it in almost any type of light.
What is your favorite part of heading out to a new location?
Capturing the mood of a destination is a terrific challenge and my primary goal when I head out to a new location. I love the grand wide view like everyone else, but I have been trying lately to seek out more intimate scenes, closer in on shapes and patterns.
Locations and weather conditions seem to be a crucial aspect of a successful picture. How do you handle these unpredictable factors?
Weather is one of the most interesting aspects of photography here in New England. I try to return to my favorite locations during the changing seasons and make the most of the weather. Rain or snow can add just the mood I am looking for in an image. I have an ongoing project on my website called “Boston in the Snow.” On the more concerning side, another weather project of mine is documenting the impact of sea-level rise, which is increasingly visible.
What helps inspire your photography?
In today’s world, we are so fortunate to have so many online resources to lean on for inspiration, including Glaszart.com! Still, I find it a treat to shoot and share experiences with fellow photographers, both locally and those I often meet while traveling. Planning field trips, exhibitions, and helping others in their journey is a great way to stay motivated.
Professional photographers know that being successful is a combination of having the right equipment, knowing how and when to use it, and then having photographic vision (creativity). You photograph many areas around the world that have been photographed by thousands of people yet you seem to be able to capture fleeting moments with unique moods and emotions. How do you ensure this constant creativity?
Impact is so important in a still photograph, which often comes down to capturing a moment of energy or movement. That can be through intriguing shapes and patterns created by water, reflections, clouds, first (or last) light, or interesting weather such as snow or fog. At night, cityscapes can contrast a skyline’s brightest lights and deep shadows. It often takes returning several times to the same place to photograph during different seasonal and lighting environments.
What do you hope viewers take away from your images?
I want to have a memorable impact on those who view my photography. To do that, I am working more in-depth these days, preferring to have some ‘great’ images, rather than lots and lots of ‘just ok’ ones. I am also working more on storytelling and travelogues through my blog.
What is your best photography tip?
As photographers, we spend so much time capturing images, but it is also important to take the time to appreciate how fortunate we are in being able to experience it as well.
What photographic gear do you currently use? What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What is your favorite lens? What is in your camera bag? What is your favorite photography accessory?
I like to move around, so I pack light. I have been a Sony mirrorless camera user since the first generation. As of this writing, I use a Sony a7riv with the Tamron f2.8 17-28mm, 28-75mm, and 70-180mm. I love the sharpness and the lens trinity fits with my camera in a small backpack and a Gitzo traveler series carbon fiber tripod on the side. For astro, I will bring the Sony 20mm f1.8 lens. I am also enjoying using the Kase magnetic ND filters which are so small to pack and quick to use.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images? What are your thoughts on raw images vs images that have been worked on (photoshop)?
As with many things, “it depends.” Back when I was doing my photojournalism work, those images had no editing that would change the realism of the image. Now that I have more artistic freedom, I am more comfortable with digital art and manipulation. Though when I do any serious compositing, I disclose that which I think is best.
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
I have enjoyed going on safari, but find animal photography projects not to be my strong point. In particular, I have tried bird photography a number of times with friends who pursue it relentlessly. I very much admire their patience, but I find that I come home with more bug bites than good images.
Can you tell me about one of your favorite or most memorable photo projects? What made it so great and why did you like it so much?
One of the unique projects that I have been doing for the past 10+ years is photographing the Italian feasts in Boston’s North End. It’s always fun seeing the multi-generational families carry on these cultural traditions … and of course, the food! The feasts and processions take place almost every weekend in the summer. It can be exhausting but I enjoy trying to capture something new each year. My festival photos have been featured in numerous magazines and included in a book by National Geographic.
Do you have any new projects coming up or plans to expand your portfolio? What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
As I write this, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit travel so I am making the most of photographing in the Northeastern United States. I plan to delve more into other U.S. and Canadian cities in the coming year. As international travel becomes accessible in the years ahead, I will be curious to revisit familiar destinations impacted by the pandemic, such as Spain and Italy, to see how they might have changed.