Artist: Matthew Harris aka Shutter Poltergeist
From: Southside, Richmond, VA
1. How did you come up with your name? I have a habit of making puns and word play in my head or out loud sometimes to other people. That name was the result of that habit. I thought of it before I even got into photography ironically enough.
2. At what age did you start taking pictures? I’ve always enjoyed photography but didn’t take it seriously til I was around 25.
3. What got you started in photography? The moon actually. I’ve been fascinated with it since I was a child and I always wanted to capture it. So I got my first DSLR and that’s what I focused on.
To this day I’ve conceivably taken more pictures of the sky and moon than of any other human being lol.
4. How do you come up with the titles for your work? That’s a good question…occasionally I ask myself the same lol. Some of them are lines from poetry I’ve written over the years. Some are the result of my wordsmith habit. All my captions mean something even if it’s just a little note to self. I’ve reread my captions from the past and it tells me how I was feeling or what my headspace was at the time. I think also my captions are a reaction against those faux philosophical titles most trendy photographers use. Those are the fucking worst.
5. Describe your creative process? I’m not sure if I can describe it. Sometimes I’m not sure if it exists, especially when I hear other people talk about theirs. I just try to be honest. Everything I do I try to pull from a genuine place. It’s partially why I don’t work as a photographer for a living. I dislike being told what to do or how to do it and taking photo assignments makes you subject to that. If you like how I shoot? Fine. We can collab potentially. Anything other than that I avoid. I enjoy photography too much to cheapen it with avarice.
6. What are your passions and inspirations?
I’m passionate about beauty. Because it’s a deep word with a very thin definition to most people.
I’ve seen cracked sidewalks, lazy eyes, scars, abandoned buildings, stretch marks, broken mirrors and crooked noses that I’ve thought were beautiful. The eye of the beholder cliche is the tip of the iceberg.
7. Who inspires you as a photographer? Painters mostly. I’ve gotten into Zdzislaw Beksinski over the past year or so. René Magritte is another whose work I’ve long enjoyed.
8. What’s your favorite photograph you’ve taken and why? If I had to choose id say it was the pictures of the solar eclipse back in 2017.
Drove from RVA to Charleston SC to catch less than 3 minutes of the one of the most breathtaking things I’ve ever witnessed.
9. What are the Midnight Shutter Tapes? Those who are familiar with the painters I mentioned could probably guess I like surrealist art. MST was originally a project where I could exhibit photos I edited ranging from mildly obtuse to plainly surrealist, all posted late at night so only other sleepless people could see it. Eventually I stopped posting exclusively late at night but the concept still remains.
10. What is your goal for your photography? I don’t think it has one. Other than making me content. If other people enjoy my art I’m elated. Compliments about my photos are amongst my favorite to receive. But it’s never a goal.
11. What’s one piece of advice for aspiring photographers? Ignore people who try to shit on your experience. You don’t have to have a “proper camera” like a mirrorless or DSLR to enjoy photography. Your phone is fine. You don’t have to learn to shoot manual until you’re ready and interested in doing so.
Just care about what you’re capturing and how you want it captured. The rest will take care of itself.
Check out some more of Shutter Poltergeist’s work under our Visual Art tab