photography (and other observations) by John Matthews


Finally. The Beginning.

Winter's Comin'The first photo I ever (almost) sold.*

This is my photography website! Finally! It's taken me a long time to get a site back online and I'm really excited to now have a place of my own to put up some images and thoughts about photography or whatever else is on my mind. So why haven't I had a website for a while? Some of you may remember that I was a pretty avid user of for my iPhoneography photos and was regularly featured on their 'favorites' page each week. I'd earned a decent sized audience there and I felt like I'd be letting folks down if I didn't post an image or two each day. Posterous even invited me to NYC to be interviewed by Fox News at The High Line about iPhoneography. I was enjoying a nice creative groove. It was a fun pressure to have and it kept my creative eye keen to my surroundings more than it had ever been. Twitter acquired Posterous, however, and eventually shut down the platform. The Posterous community was essentially left in the dust. Yes, they had a migration tool that allowed users to download their content for use elsewhere, but it was the Posterous framework that was so easy to use. Email it and forget it. Posterous would format your image, title, and tags and post the image online automatically. It was the perfect service for an iPhoneographer creating on the go. It really took the wind out of my sails when Posterous shut down after having put so much time into building my presence there. It was a valuable lesson for me to learn, though. Actually, I learned a couple lessons: 1. Create for yourself, and no one else. If folks are drawn to your work, consider that a rewarding bonus to the creative process; as soon as you start creating for the specific purpose of meeting others' expectations you begin to lose your edge. And 2., be careful where you plant your roots online. If you are using a free service for your online creative presence, be sure to have a backup plan should that service wind up shuttering its doors. As is often the case, you are going to get what you pay for.

So why create a site at all, right? Good question. For me this is going to be a sandbox of sorts, where I'm going to put up posts explaining (and self teaching in the process) the how's and why's of some of my photography. My hope is that others might gain some insight and I'll also improve my skills in the process. And I want my own little corner of the web where I can direct people if they want to see my work and maybe eventually buy a photo or two. 

The photo at the top of this post was the first photo I ever (almost) sold*. Taking this photo was also the moment when my interest in becoming more serious with photography was sparked. It was a blind shot taken at hip level with my iPhone upside down pointing backwards (read that again!) as I exited the Nice-N-Easy store on the corner of Court St. in Utica, NY. I had parked in front of the store and said to myself, 'If that guy is still sitting there when I leave, I'm going to try and get a picture of him.' As I left the store to go back to my car I didn't have time to introduce myself to him, and I'm not sure that he'd have been responsive had I done so, so I decided to see what I could get with a behind the back shot without looking. I couldn't believe it when I looked at my screen in the car and saw a perfectly framed shot with a pretty decent candid portrait. I posted it online and got a lot of positive feedback. I eventually entered the photo in a regional exhibit at the Stanley Theater and someone actually committed to buying it at the opening reception (*but never picked it up, but that's another story). It was at that moment that I knew I had to see what I could do with photography going forward. Since that exhibition I've been fortunate enough to get several free lance jobs and have enjoyed the creative challenges that each of them have presented. I've even had two more exhibitions. At my last exhibition I sold 23 of 25 photos. It was an amazing feeling and I can't wait to see what else I can accomplish. I certainly don't claim to be the best photographer in the world, but I love the journey that photography often takes me on and I'm hoping to share some of my random edits here with you.

Thanks for reading!