Art Basel Q-File: Matt Stock (Photographer)

Photo courtesy Matt Stock photography

What makes You Tick?

I am an active translator of life and light as I see it. The act of observing is not a passive process; every day I consciously strive to take in my surroundings, interpret them, and translate the interplay of light and shadow into a language my viewer can understand.

What is your process?

I use a technique inspired by the Renaissance painting technique sfumattocalled Painting with Light in the Dark®. photos taken from dozens of angles under varying lighting conditions, I combine the otherwise-similar images into a single luminous composition. Through this method I am able to create my own ad hoc photo studio in the most remote and inhospitable environments. Yet, I can still capture subtle elements of light and shadow that can even highlight texture on a spider web.

What is your all time favorite photograph?

The works of David Doubilet, James Nachtwey, Shinichi Maruyama, Eric Curry, Nick Brandt, Jerry Uelsmann, and Philippe Halsman have all inspired and influenced me throughout various stages of my career. But my favorite photograph would have to be Steve McCurry’s portrait of Sharbat Gula, otherwise known as the Afgan Girl.

Absolutely love taking photos of?

I am a professional fine art nature photographer based out of Miami and I have spent the last eight years developing my own specialized photographic technique called Painting with Light in the Dark®. As the sun sets people forget that nature continues to thrive; the moniker “sunshine state” has become a mentality of Florida’s residents as well as its visitors. Come moonrise when the world becomes a dimmer version of itself, people tend to forget nature does not tuck in for the night. One cannot care about a cause one cannot see so it has been my goal to show the general public the inherent beauty of what has been my home for over 20 years; it has become my passion to help preserve photographically what makes South Florida so unique and show the general public the splendor and beauty that exists when the lights go off using my images.

What do you think your work says to the average person?

 Empathy. It does not matter whether you are photographing refugees for an NGO or a tube of lipstick; if there is nothing in your image to draw your viewer in emotionally, then they will just glance at it and move on. You need to connect with your audience in some fashion. Since you are not there to explain your image in person, it needs to be gripping. The easiest way to accomplish that is to speak to a person’s base emotional reactions.

What to you really think about Art Basel?

Art Basel is an amazing opportunity for artists and art enthusiasts around the world to come together and see what is new. Last year, it was my opportunity as an emerging artist to launch my work, which was wonderfully embraced by the art community.

What captivates you right now?

Right now I am captivated by shipwrecks. I am obsessed with the skeletal framework of them that remains after they have run aground or broken apart and how they literally become alive once their “purpose in life” is over. When they sink they truly become a part of the ocean. So much so that in the warm and shallow tropical waters of Miami in a matter of years various soft and hard corals begin to take over the ships and incorporate them into the surrounding reef structure. I am in the midst of a new series titled “Wrecked” that explores those issues and more and am truly looking forward to pushing the envelope photographically an exploring new realms with Painting with Light in the Dark®.

 Matt Stock’s work will be part of Gallery 212′s exhibition during Art Basel. See his work through December 10. Gallery212, 2407 NW 2nd Ave; Wynwood.  Check out more of his work here.

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