Matt Stuart was a protege of Meyerowitz and learned a lot about street photography from him. Listening to Stuart talk about how he captures his images gives a good insight into what it takes.
When someone placed a refuse skip in front of a Harry Winston advertising hording this unusual image was created. The colour of the peacock and the tarpaulin cover match perfectly, the funny contrast between the objects, with the peacock being seen as a regal, proud and colourful creature combined with an object that represents junk, trash and rejection. Shot against a white background ensures that it stands out and the angle used and the focal length compress the image so it looks flat. This is also a good example that shows that not all street photography needs to include people.
Matt Stuart does not consider himself to be lucky, he says that all the things he photographs are there, its just a matter of seeing them. To do that he has trained himself to see things differently, he says its like looking through a child’s eyes or becoming a visiting alien from another planet and seeing earth and its people for the first time.
Preferring to shoot using a Leica film camera Matt spends hours just travelling around, waiting for something to happen. He says “you’re walking around hours upon hours and you can almost predict something is about to happen before it happens”
The above image must have required perfect timing, Stuart cant have known that the train would stop at this point but the poster in the background is perfectly framed in the window. It this poster that makes it such an amusing shot, without it the image would just be a picture of a man on a tube train. The contrast works well between the two, with the poster showing something that looks like a horror movie advert and the person is just a common bland businessman.
Through his work Matt is trying to hold up a mirror on the quirky and amusing aspects of our lives. His philosophy is to always be positive. He thinks of his images as a type of happy news and his goal is to make people smile.
The above image is everything Matt aims for, by using a higher angle you are not able to see the driver of this vehicle and so it looks like the dog is driving. Couple this with the way the dog is looking, as if he is checking the mirror to see the bus behind him.
Matt Stuarts jovial personality is reflected throughout his images, he is not after the deep meaningful image, preferring to leave that style to others. However his work method is still very serious, I found it heartening to know that Matt did not just pick up a camera and start capturing brilliant images. He had to spend weeks just wandering about with his camera, looking for opportunities and perfecting his method before things started to fall into place. Now he is not only able to spot the the weird and wonderful but is ready to capture it.