Through the Eye of a Hand
Matt Hand is the eye behind Right Hand Photography, a hobbyist business that he approaches with an organic, earth-friendly mindset. Do not be fooled into thinking he’s only photographing his adorable children! Matt is very aware of his art and takes composition into consideration. His images exude an intense representation of life through strongly contrasting textures, vivid color, and a lot of shadow-play. Whether it’s his wife Jessica holding their infant son or a thick length of vine creeping across the floor of an abandoned greenhouse, his photographs are beautifully uncanny.
While working on the opening of his first gallery at Wildflower Earthly Vegan Fare (a swanky arts cafe in downtown Millville, N.J.), Matt took time to answer questions regarding his craft:
How did you become interested in photography? What inspired this art form over others?
I have always loved photographs. Ever since I was young, I would pore over family photo albums and grab my parents’ camera to take pictures of “nothing” (furniture, trees, garbage cans, etc…). As a fine art, the main reason I love photography is that there is always a play between reality and what the photographer wants you to see. Everything that goes into snapping the shutter is thought out and prepared, meant to communicate or convey.
What is your subject focus? What are you attempting to capture in your photos?
It probably sounds cliche, but my subject in photography has always been light. Light and the quality of it is what catches my eye and causes me to stop and take a photo. After that, favorite ‘concrete’ subjects of mine are nature, food, and people.
Is there any series of photos you have that you absolutely love? What has you hooked?
I spent two hours taking pictures at an abandoned greenhouse that has been rotting for 25 or more years. I love that the wild and native plants have broken through the floor and tower over the roof framing, almost sneering at the previous attempts to control every aspect of plant life.
Where do you normally find yourself taking photos?
I mostly find myself taking photos wherever I am that I brought my camera. At a time in college, I had my 35mm SLR on me at all times and got some really good stuff. I do appreciate cell phone cameras as I always have that on me. If you compose right and look for light, even a dinky camera phone will make a beautiful image.
I do set-up situations sometimes in the case of children / family photography, and that is pretty new to me. I am more used to happening upon a great shot.
Where else do you extend yourself artistically? Is there collaboration between this and the photography?
I love film-making, which is photography over time. I feel that I like to play around making my photos cinematic and my video work photographic.
Film or digital? Or both? How do you approach the medium?
All digital now. Did the darkroom for seven years, which I think gives me a really good background in the transition to digital. I have found software that allows me to control similar values to that of a darkroom. I also like digital because it is more ‘green’ because you lose the disposable dark room chemicals (also better for my hands) and all of the plastic that goes into making film. I have taken 6000+ images with my DSLR and memory card and have only thrown away the packaging.
What do you do when you aren’t taking photos? Who are you outside of Matt from Right Hand Photography?
I am a husband and father first and foremost. I love my family and am fully engaged in being the best husband and father I can be. I also enjoy gardening, bicycling, and motorcycling.
Why is photography important to you?
I have found photography to be the best way to communicate what I see and how I see it with the world. When I see light splashing over undergrowth in a forest, I think it’s truly a beautiful moment in time that I would like to share with someone.
Matt’s photography has been up in Wildflower Earthly Vegan Fare for a week now, and will remain there until November. Feel free to contact Matt through the Right Hand Photography Facebook page or, if you’re in the area, you just might be able to catch him eating cupcakes in the cafe.