You’ve probably never heard of Matthew DeYoung. Actually, I had never heard of him either until I saw some of his work and thought: “Hmmm, interesting… I should talk to this guy.” Matthew has been creating some wonderful photographs using light. His series, The Exploration of Light, are whimsical and beautiful. “It is one of my favorite series to work on because it lets me experiment with new techniques all the time like using sparklers, flashlights, spotlights and even flying airplanes,” he says.
Below, Matthew talks about his craft and what it’s like to make a name for himself in a very competitive industry:
How does Arizona inspire your work?
One thing I hear a lot from people is that Arizona is just a big dusty, dry and dirty desert. My goal as a photographer is to show them a different side of the desert. I want them to see the hidden beauty that is the Arizona desert… what lies under all that dust, how the sky looks when a Monsoon is about to hit or when a crisp, lightning crack flies across the sky. I grew up in Arizona and I could not imagine living anywhere else. I enjoy the days when I wake up and think I really want to go photograph the pines and I can drive two hours from Phoenix and see pines. Arizona has to be one of the best states to live in to be a photographer because there are so many locations and places that you can go to take pictures.
Any favorite scenes around the state you like to shoot?
That’s a hard question. There are so many locations that I love photograph all around the state. I really enjoy photographing around and in Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona, I enjoy seeing the beautiful Saguaro near New River. One of my favorite things about Arizona is that you can always find wildlife. I was out photographing near Buckeye a couple weeks ago for a new series called Left Behind, and while we were out in the middle of a field that was filled with trash people had dumped, we spotted two baby burrowing owls just sitting around watching us and posing for photos. I enjoy running into nature like that. It’s absolutely breathtaking to see these creatures up close and personal almost anywhere you go in Arizona.
Talk to me about your Exploration of Light series … how did it come to be?
This is a series of photographs that are taken at night using long exposures. Most of the photographs in this set take between thirty seconds and five minutes each. The majority of the photographs are taken in the middle of nowhere using only moonlight to lighten up the image. “Even in the darkest night, His light will always shine.” A simple saying that is the backbone of this series — no matter how dark a situation or time in your life is His light will always guide you in the right direction. It is one of my favorite series to work on because it lets me experiment with new techniques all the time like using sparklers, flashlights, spotlights and even flying airplanes. Having the ability to experiment and see how many different ways you can work with light is simply amazing. It really opens a lot of doors for different types of photographs.
What are some challenges that you face as a photographer who is trying to make a name for himself?
It is incredibly hard to get started. I feel that if you can get in one location to show your work or simply show your work to someone it gets easier from there because someone has already given you a chance. I hope and pray every day that God will open doors for me and my career. I know not to expect it over night but I have a lot of goals for my photography. Something I have learned that I wish someone had told me sooner is that not everyone will enjoy my art. Since I have learned that, I have come to realize that I photograph more of what I like and more or what I would hang on my walls at my house. You can’t please everyone with your art so don’t change your style of photographing just to please one person.
What kind of camera do you use?
I have always used a Canon camera. I started with an older 35mm Canon Rebel; my father then bought me my first digital Canon Rebel, and now I currently photograph with my Canon 7D’s. I have and will always be a Canon photographer.
Upcoming exhibits featuring Matthew’s work:
Left Behind – August 1st – August 31st
Friday August 3rd – (8-10pm) Opening Night Reception with Matthew DeYoung and The Marissa Lynn Music Band
Elevate Coffee Company (Next to the Harkins Movie Theater)
2530 W Happy Valley Road #1273, Phoenix, AZ 85085
Hours: Mon-Fri: 6am-10pm – Sat: 7am-10pm – Sun:8am-10pm
Our Light – November 1st – November 30th
New City Studio
812 North 2nd Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85003
Friday November 2nd – (6-10pm) Artist Reception With Matthew DeYoung & Kylie McCarthy