All images © Matt Willcocks
Hi Matt! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I come from a very humble background being born and raised on the South coast of Devon in an area known as Torbay. I'm a Freelance Photographer and I'm also really into sci-fi, collecting vinyl records and I absolutely love Mexican food. As a Freelance Photographer I've mainly worked with clothing brands and shoot for their social media feeds and online presence but I do take on a variety of other projects too. I've just come to the end of my first full year working as a Freelance Photographer and I'm thankfully a lot wiser than I was a year ago.
How did you get into photography?
As strange as it sounds initially I was quite heavily influenced by an ex-girlfriend. However, I had kind of always been intrigued by photography and as a child I remember playing around with disposable cameras on family holidays, but I had never really envisioned investing my time and focus into photography until I got to know people within my social group who were studying photography at college. I've never formally studied photography myself, however I would accompany those that were onto shoots for their course and various projects and observe/help. So this little hands on introduction with my friends really helped establish my interest and fuelled my apatite to learn more about photography. I'm a bit of an obsessive problem solver and when I see an image I really love I think to myself "how did they accomplish that, what lens, what camera, what film, what exposure, what aperture?..." and in having this mindset I've allowed myself to grow and learn a lot.
When did you realise you wanted to make a career out of photography?
After working two years in a mundane 9-5 office job in London photography was and always has been my escape. I had slowly been improving my photography work whilst living in London and at the weekends I would go out on walks and take my camera with me much to the bemusement of my then girlfriend (lost count on how many portraits I took of her). I had crafted my knowledge to a level where I felt comfortable and happy to pursue this as a career and in the summer of 2013 I handed in my notice at my 9-5 job and decided to move back to Devon in order to become a Freelance Photographer.
Tell us a bit about your kit.
I mainly use a Pentax K1000 along with a 35mm Cosina Prime Lens and a Pentax 50mm Prime. I have a slightly more modern 35mm film camera in the form of a Nikon F100 which allows me to operate autofocus lenses and other such performance comforts. I would say that 70% of the work on my website I've shot with my Pentax K1000. My favourite 35mm films to use are Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji Superia 400 & Kodak Portra 160.
For me it's the reliability. I've taken my K1000 across the globe and not once have I ever had an issue. Beyond that I really like the aesthetics of the photos I take using my K1000, there's a certain softness in texture and colour which this camera can offer.
You use 35mm film - what draws you to this medium?
I'm asked about this a lot and I always say the same thing. Film introduces a certain magic back into photography and it instils a learning pattern which really ensures you don't get lazy with your composition and use of your limited shots. I've used digital cameras and they've been a solid part of my growth and development as a photographer, but film really captures my imagination and aesthetically looks far more pleasing to me than digital images.
What qualities does film have that digital doesn't?
Film enables me to create authentic and original looking photos without having to slave away on Photoshop/Lightroom. Beyond this I really love the variety of tones and textures available to shooting with film and there's a more physical interaction with film where you can influence the shot through light leeks, double exposures etc. Overall I feel like I'm more connected to my photography through film due to the more hands-on approach involved in achieving my work.
Do you have a genre of photography that you're most passionate about?
It's quite difficult to identify a genre as such. I would say that I'm intrigued by all kinds of photography from lifestyle travel photography to music portraiture. My core workload is within the lifestyle fashion side of things but I would say that my work lends itself to a multitude of genres and it would simply be narrow minded to pigeon hole myself.
What do you have planned for the future?
From the beginning of January 2015, I will be heading to Arizona and California in order to explore and take on projects. I hope to further establish myself through 2015 whilst continually learning and improving upon my work. Overall I just want to keep pushing myself and work with more clients, so If anyone in the states wishes to work with me get in 2015 get in touch!
For more information on Matt's photography, take a look at his website.