10 minutes with Matthew Pillsbury

Interviews with Photographers September 17, 2014 10:07 am

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?

At the end of my Yale freshmen year intro photo class, my teacher Lois Conner brought in her work. They were platinum contact prints. I knew immediately that photography of that quality was what I aspired to do.

Who were the first artists that inspired you?

Focusing on photographers I was inspired for different reasons by William Klein, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Abelardo Morell. But I grew up in Paris and was probably first inspired by the many movies I watched in theaters.


Can you tell me about your book, City Stages? How long did you work on it?

The book represents a decade of photographs over a few different series. The process of making the book took about 18 months from conception to publication. I knew very little about the book making process so was very fortunate to be guided throughout by Lesley Martin and the entire Aperture staff. While I have had quite a bit of experience laying out shows, it is a completely different thing to edit and sequence a book. I quickly realized that I didn’t want to organize the book chronologically by series but rather mix the photographs and create it’s own entity. I found the result to be more satisfying than I had even dreamed it to be. I loved seeing recent work alongside some of my older images.

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?

I would say it’s important to put in place a structure to your work and commit to it. It’s important to work every day and treat it with the seriousness that non artists dedicate to their jobs. As Chuck Close said “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

Matthew is based in New York. His show “Tokyo” is currently showing at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery until October 25th.

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