Behind the Screen (BTS): We often see photos or other forms of art on our phones, but may not know much about the artists themselves. BTS introduces the art, the creative process, and ultimately reveals the individuals behind the art.
You have a great mix of travel photos, personal photos of friends and family, and street photos. How would you describe your style of photography?
PM: l’m always trying to find something that intrigues me in some sort of way. I love walking the streets of New York where you can’t ever predict what you’re going to see. The city has so much character and charm, it makes you more perceptive and aware of your surroundings. Aside from street photography, I really enjoy taking photos of my friends and family. Sharing the final results with them is my favorite part.
You put a lot of time and work into creating your photos – shooting film, developing your photos, and scanning them. What’s your motivation? Why do you do all of the manual steps instead of shooting digital which can be much easier and quicker?
PM: There’s just something so satisfying about the process. The fact that there’s a tangible result after you release the shutter and not a just a bunch of information stored on a memory card. The analog process also makes me really think about each shot before taking it. Granted, I do feel like I miss out on a lot of shots because of this, but it just motivates me to trust my instincts and be more assertive with what I capture. Shooting film over digital allows me to capture photographs the same way all the greats did it before me, and that’s a pretty awesome feeling. Also, let’s not forget about the grain…
We all get stuck every so often or don’t feel like taking photos. How do you get past roadblocks?
PM: I feel like I’m always making excuses in my head as to why I feel like I’m “stuck.” Some examples are, “the weather is crappy so it’s not good enough to go out shooting” or “I have no where interesting to go.” Then it’s at this moment where I remind myself that life is always happening all around you. Sometimes we have to get out of our own heads and just expose ourselves to what’s out there and we are bound to find something that grabs our attention.
What about your personal background has shaped, formed or influenced who you are as a photographer?
PM: If I had to point to something, it would be my architectural/design background. Having studied architecture in college, it made me realize that what really captivated me about design isn’t so much the final product, but the research and process that got you to the end result. We all see a building or structure once it’s complete and can’t wait to interact with it, but I can’t wait to find out about all the challenges and how they overcame them.
Would you say there are any connections between your style and photography? Either clothing style or even be the way you style your beard.
PM: Hahaha! Never thought I’d compare my beard to my photography, but now that you mention it, I can kind of see the similarities. I don’t really do much to my beard. I don’t get it trimmed professionally and don’t oil it. I shape it up every couple of days, but it pretty much roams free. Very little editing, much like how I treat my photos. I like making minor adjustments and tweaks, like color temperature and contrast. I prefer to keep it as close to the original as possible.
Instagram: @nonchalant.photography | Website: www.pmotta.com/