I recently had the opportunity to speak with Matthew David Parker, photographer and find out about his journey to becoming a professional photographer. We discussed his photography, some of his likes and dislikes and a few other things. It turns out that he’s a dedicated professional photographer brimming with passion.
So Matt, do you mind if we start with how you became involved with photography?
MDP: “I was six years old when I first discovered my passion for it. My father handed me a Kodak disc camera while we were at a family picnic; I took a few shots, and they happened to turn out to be the best shots on the disk. It was purely accidental of course, but it sparked a desire to make quality photos that has lasted up until now.”
What were the photos of?
MDP: “Uh, they were three shots of my little sister playing in a brook. The lighting coming off of the water illuminated her, and she almost appeared to glow. It was so magical.”
So was it then that you knew you wanted to do this for a living?
MDP: “No, at that time since I was still very young. I knew that I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until my teens that I started thinking about making money with my passion.”
How did that come about?
MDP: “I was involved with my high school photography club, and of course I became aware that people made a living doing what I enjoy. From there and with the help of the club staff, I started learning about the professional side of my hobby.”
What type of camera do you use?
MDP: “The Canon EOS 5d Mark III. It has all the features I generally use. A chest Stabilizer, high powered variable LED Light that can be dimmed and a Polaroid pro video condenser shotgun microphone.
Oh, that’s a very nice camera. I assume you have an equally nice lens that you use?
MDP: ” Well I have several lenses, but I have to say that my favorite is the Canon EF 16-35mm. It’s the f/2.8L II model. The edges of the photographs are great, and it gives such a soft, unfocused background.”
What is your planning process when taking a photo?
MDP: “Oddly enough, aside from initially getting permission, I have none. It’s all very organic for me. Some people need a written agenda to shoot. Not me, I just have the necessary equipment ready and if it’s needed I bring it out. As you can see here in my studio, I have my lighting and reflectors set up. The only thing that really needs to change is the background. If I’m called someplace to shoot, I just bring what’s necessary and play it by ear.”
Matthew, do you take inspiration from certain photographers?
MDP: “Oh yes, there are many talented photographers out there, but my favorite is Ansel Adams (Matthew points behind him at a wall portrait), my style is similar to how his was, and I love that fact that he was somewhat of a philosopher.”
Does he have any quotes that are your favorites or that you live by?
MDP: “Yes there is one, ‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it’. There is another quote of his that I really love too, let’s see if I can remember it in it’s entirety; ah yes, ‘When words become unclear, I’ll focus with photographs. When images are not enough, I’ll be content with silence.’, or something to that effect. He was a very deep man.”
Film or memory card?
MDP: “If you mean, do I use film or memory cards for my preferred medium, I would have to say that I am a modern man. I like to use memory cards. I do sometimes still use film but not often. Memory cards are simply much faster and there is a discernible loss of quality of the picture with film.”
One last question because I see our time is nearly up. What advice would you give to a budding photographer?
MDP: “Oh, there’s so much! I guess the short answer would be to pursue your dream with passion!”
You can see more of Matthew David Parkers work on his website www.matthewdparker.com
and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mattdavidparker