Walking on air and other possibilities ... Professional NYC photographer to present lecture
New York-based artist Matthew Karas first fell in love with photography during his teenage years after his parents handed him an Olympus OM1 as a high school graduation present.
His career path led him in many different directions — including stints as an actor, director and cardiovascular technician. However, Mr Karas found new inspiration in his photography after undergoing open heart surgery at age 33.
For the past nine years he has been a professional photographer and reached acclaim with his ability to capture the body in motion.
He has since shot more than 50 covers for Dance Magazine, including a host of well-known performers like Misty Copeland and Michelle Dorrance.
Mr Karas will be on Island today to host a lecture at the Bermuda National Gallery (BNG) on the topic of ‘The Possibilities of Photography’, at 6pm.
He will also be leading an intense workshop on ‘Photography in Motion’, with help from professional dancers from United Dance Production, tomorrow at City Hall from 10am until 1pm.
The photographer said the purpose of the lecture was to inspire people to create and let them know that anyone can do it.
“Not to say anyone can be a professional photographer, but everyone has the ability these days to create a great image,” he said. “People carry phones that have powerful cameras, compared to where digital started years ago, and there’s also a way to share them now.”
He hopes the workshop can encourage photography enthusiasts to “trust in themselves” and just experiment with their craft.
“The joy of digital is you can erase it and I think you have a somewhat limitless opportunity to try things because you can shoot and move images over the computer and then use the card again and again.
“As long as you have hard drive space you can keep collecting and collecting, so people can create their own libraries.
“These become libraries of life and their life experiences and everyone's is different,” he explained.
Mr Karas said one of his early photography inspirations was his father, who undertook the craft as a hobby, and would capture vivid images of the places he travelled to and people he met while on business trips through Europe and Asia.
“I used to just think it was always interesting way to see the world, by shooting and travelling around,” Mr Karas said.
He said photography has allowed him to celebrate and capture important moments in life and also gave him the chance to create new and exciting ways of looking at the world around him.
The Royal Gazette: “Photography has taught me to look at every situation with an open eye and just be open to the expression that anything can happen.
“And I think if you are lucky when you look at something to take a picture, sometimes when you turn around 180 degrees what you find behind you is even more magnificent.”
Mr Karas said he was a firm believer in the idea that lessons can come from anyone you meet and tries to incorporate that into work with his clients.
“Every conversation you have with someone you can learn something and I’ve learned to just be open to that,” he explained.
“It doesn’t matter if I am speaking to a CEO of a world wide organisation or taking a picture of someone sweeping the streets and picking up garbage, because to me I think they have the same qualities. I like to speak to them in the same way and for me everyone has a story.
“I think the acting and directing helps the photography because it’s about telling a story through an image or a scene.”
Although he has been able to work with some of the world’s best dancers, through his work with Dance Magazine, he said he couldn’t pick any favourites because every shoot is different.
He tries to make each job fun and admittedly loves it when people are laughing in his studio and feel at home.
“For me what I feel I try to capture is the moment of emotion because I think people are constantly in the moment and it’s finding that energy, whether it’s up or down.
“A lot of shoots are jumping and it’s not necessarily jumping for joy, but it’s like they are walking on air.
“For me that is such a good though when people are feeling good about themselves or the place they are in that they are walking on air.”
To hear more about Mr Karas’ work, people are encouraged to attend the lecture tonight at the BNG. Tickets for tonight’s lecture are $10 for members and $20 for non-members; while this weekend’s workshop costs $30 for members and $40 for non-members, both can be reserved by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 295-9428.
Photographers are encouraged to bring their own camera, equipment and a tripod to the workshop tomorrow.
Useful websites: www.mattkaras.com; www.bng.com.