Hi, and welcome to PhotoLord.com a daily photography contest. My name is Matthew George. I have had a life long love of photography since I was twelve years old. My father built me a black and white darkroom in the basement of our house when I was in high school. From that I was able to experiment and hone my photography skills. I use traditional film and digital Nikons. Two unique pieces of camera equipment I have used to photograph is an Apple iPhone and Polaroid SX-70 camera. Most of my photography consists of photojournalism and nature genres.
Schooling and Work
I have an Associates degree of Applied Science in Photography from Antonelli Institute of Art & Photography, as well as a BA and MA in Business from American InterContinental University. I hold a single subject Visual Arts teaching credential from National University to teach in high school as well as a multiple subject teaching credential to teach elementary school. Here are some of the content standards for teaching Visual Arts in California. I currently am employed by JUSD as a photography and art teacher at Rubidoux High School.
I am married to the most beautiful woman, have a wonderful son and precious daughter, and blessed to enjoy lots of quality time with my family.
A young lady, Gillian, asked me if I could tell her a little about my photography for an assignment she doing for school. She said that she needed to interview a photographer. Here is my response to some questions she had. Hopefully, this will give you more perspective into my photography.
How did you get interested in photography?
I started using my father’s disk camera as a young child of 12. I was born in Ohio of 1975. Here is what one of these cameras look like: Disk camera And here is what the negatives look like: Disk Camera Negatives It was exhilarating to hear the camera make it’s little noises when I pressed the camera. Maybe that’s what attracted me to it. Maybe it was the fact that my father let me use such a special piece of equipment of his own. More than anything it was probably the idea that me and father somehow became closer from the exchange of interaction with the photography. It was almost like a special bond that was formed from the use of his camera. I was only 12 when I remember thinking how maybe one day I would be a photographer. At the age of 17, my dad and mom made a darkroom in a room inside their basement. My dad and mom have always been a pillar of encouragement and support with my dreams. My dad is an entrepreneur and works hard for his family. It was probably this entrepreneur spirit that helped him to see beyond the present situations of life and spur him on to go for his dreams.
Why did you choose photography?
I’m not really sure why I chose photography other than it was something that I had contact with. I felt competent with photography. I never had much interaction with painting or drawing so I felt unable to be that type of artist. One of the things that drew me deeper into photography was the idea that a photograph employed art and technical and mechanical elements at the same time. I was drawn to the connection of both art and technical elements. Once I started to receive recognition from photography, I think that was what really made a strong impact on my desire for more recognition. In high school I won multiple awards in photography and it would be this recognition that would make me further pursue my dreams of being successful as a photographer.
What equipment do you use?
My equipment and likes have really changed much as time goes by. I was into film initially as that was all there was. I had a Ricoh, several Olympus OM 1 and 2 cameras, and a Nikon N2000, N70, N80, and Yashica medium format camera.
I then got a digital Nikon Coolpix 990 3 mega pixel camera. That just revolutionized my photography. I became uncaged and started to shoot so many frames and opened me up to various angles while I shot, namely lower angles. It was awesome! Here is the camera: Nikon 990 I then bought a Nikon D70 6 mega pixel camera, which I still use now. Here are two photos of this camera: D70 back and D70 front
I have used a 35mm F 2.0 lens a lot on my Nikon N80 and D70. It works fairly good for low light. On the D70 it comparable to field of view of a 50mm lens on 35mm film camera. Basically it goes from a slightly wide angle on a film camera to a normal lens on my digital Nikon D70 camera. It’s in the middle as far as sharpness goes. Now there is a much sharper lens that Nikon has out, but I still love the photos that come out of my cameras with this lens. Here is a photo of the 35mm f2.0 Nikon lens.
Then I started to become really fascinated with my iPhone, believe it or not. The first phone had a small 2 mega pixel camera with a f2.8 lens I believe. I took many photos with it and just love the idea of not carrying all this equipment with me around. Of course I could not use a camera phone for important weddings or portrait sessions, yet it was what I enjoyed doing the most. Maybe it was a break from all of the bigger equipment.
Then I got the iPhone 3GS. It had a 3 mega pixel camera. What is cool with this camera/phone is that when you touch the screen, it focuses on that area as well as compensates the exposure for the reflected tonal value. It makes the exposure and focus more intuitive. Then I got the iPhone 4s. Here is some more info. about iphones.
Since then, I have took a journey back into time with a Polaroid SX-70 film camera. It’s a late 70’s made camera. Polaroid has really caught my imagination with the idea that it is almost pointless to try and control the image completely. Instead, I now find myself daydreaming as I consider great opportunities to capture with it’s unique qualities. The film is quite expensive and so it has caused to slow down and really think and reflect on the whole process of photography. It is very mechanical and that brings back memories of using my dad’s old disk camera. I got a Polaroid camera a couple of months ago and I believe I will be on this journey for awhile until something else catches my fancy. Here is a photo of the type of Polaroid camera I use.
And most recently, I purchased a digital Nikon D600 SLR camera. I almost decided on the Nikon D800, but for what I use photography for, I couldn’t justify the additional $900 for the extra 12 megapixels. It’s a great camera, and I’ve been desiring FX full frame since I started using digital photography.
What is your styles/style of photography?
I would say my style could be perceived as a journalistic, anthropology, cultural, street photography style with touches of nature and landscape. I love candid people and nature photography.
Who are your influences?
Wow, now that is so hard as I gain influence from so many photographers and artists. Many of them are daily photos on Flickr, but here are a some of my bigger influences: Ansel Adams for his black and white large format photographs, Art Wolfe for his exotic nature photos, Henri Cartier-Bresson for his street photography, Anne Geddes for her imaginative baby photos, Dorothea Lange for her documentary type photos, Helmut Newton for his environmental portraits, Galen Rowell for his adventure and landscape photos, John Sexton for his amazing technical methodology with his black and white photos, Alfred Stieglitz for his role in changing the status quo on photography and starting the pictorialist photo style, David Muench and his 4×5 large format nature photos, John Shaw for his landscape photos, Frans Lanting for his 35mm film work in the jungles and deserts, Robert Capa and Mathew Brady for their phenomenal documentary war photography.
What do you want to achieve?
In the short, I want to accomplish a successful career as a photography teacher. I’m currently in a program at National University in Southern California to be a High School photography teacher. If all goes well I will have the opportunity to teach underneath a master teacher in their classroom and practice teaching for a semester starting in a couple of weeks. Maybe after that I will look into teaching at a college or university. In the long term I hope my own photography encourages people to do better for others, helps everyone consider what is really important in life. Ultimately, it is my hope that my photography points people to God and His wonderful love for us all.
UPDATE: I am now employed as a high photography/art teacher as stated above! :)