Today we’d like to introduce you to matt stock.
Matt, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Matt Stock is a Florida native who finds inspiration in the natural elements of water, earth and sky. Also drawn toward untold stories and subjects that are looking for a voice and a champion, he works cooperatively with national and state parks, non-profit organizations, and historical societies to raise awareness about the world around us. Matt Stock has been recognized by his peers being juried into national art exhibitions and earning him several international awards.
Matt picked up a camera at an early age and found inspiration in college at the University of Miami. Matt graduated with a degree in biology but seamlessly blends his passion for art with science. Matt’s area of expertise is in creating hyper-realistic nighttime photographs with a technique called Painting with Light in the Dark® in which he and his team meticulously illuminate a scene on location using light sources ranging from the Milky Way and full moon to specialized lighting tools through the course of many hours and hundreds of individual exposures. He then digitally weaves elements of each of these exposures into a single luminous composition in post-production using Adobe Photoshop. Everything seen in his work was captured in real time and on location. Some photographs can only happen once a year, some even less frequently.
Matt describes his technique akin to,”sculpting with darkness as a medium. I chip away the shadows to reveal light and dimension the way a sculptor chips away at a block of marble to reveal the sculpture within.” On location, he literally paints his subjects with light whether he is lighting a shipwreck while balancing on a ladder in the middle of the ocean, or painstakingly lighting an abandoned marine stadium. Using multiple photos taken from a variety of angles with different lighting conditions, he combines the otherwise-similar images into a single luminous composition. A perfectionist by nature, he is able to perfectly expose and control every aspect of his final composition in a way that only a few photographers have learned how to do. Matt was asked to speak about his unique technique and perspective on darkness at TEDx in Coconut Grove, a breakout event of the renowned TED Conferences held annually in California that bring inspired thinkers from the worlds of technology, entertainment and design together to learn from and further inspire others. In 2016, he was one of thirty artists chosen by the National Parks Service to represent them in a year-long celebration of their Centennial Anniversary. He was also recognized in 2017 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
For the past twelve months, Matt have been bitten, stung, infected and more pursuit the most complex and engaging photographic project of my career: Abandoned Vehicles of the Everglades. During the past year I have been out 40+ times into the Everglades in pursuit of these elusive machines and have captured close to that number in vehicles. By investigating rumors, analyzing satellite imagery, and utilizing a network of Gladesman we have re-discovered dozens of these forgotten relics. These images show a hidden side of the Everglades and speak concurrently to mankind attempts to conquer the Everglades. Each one was captured at night utilizing the highly specialized technique of light painting combined with long exposures and seasonally specific images without adding anything to or taking away from the scene. Through a series of photographs, this work explores the interaction between man and nature as seen through night-time environmental portraits of vehicles long abandoned in the Everglades ecosystem.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It most certainly has not! But that’s not a bad thing. I think it is a good thing in fact. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” My journey has been exactly that: a journey. It’s been a wild ride transitioning from science to photography and also establishing myself as a fine artist. Fine art photography is a challenging field and to distinguish oneself requires A LOT of motivation, patience, and confidence in the work. Speaking less abstractly, some of the biggest challenging facing me in the creation of my art are literal challenges of working in some of the most challenging environmentsIn Florida and beyond. At all hours of the day and night in very dangerous areas as well, where often my health and safety are also put at risk. Sharks, snakes, poisonous plants, and nefarious people are all occupational hazards of night-time fine art photography!
Matt Stock Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am known for my unique hyper-realistic environmental and fine art photographs of Florida. I pride myself in traveling great distances in difficult terrain to capture nature and life at it’s most interesting. All of my work is real and was captures on location where you see it. Most recently my work: abandoned vehicles of the Everglades has garnered critical acclaim and major awards.
I am most proud of being recognized as one of thirty artists chosen by the National Park Service to represent them in the 2016 Centennial Anniversary.
What sets my art apart is my technique and approach. I am one of the few photographers to specialize in painting with light. This unusual and captivating lighting showcases the beauty of South Florida in a new (metaphorical and literal) light.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to me is building an understanding and compassion for wilderness preservation through my art. If I get to the point where my art and my brand is a highly recognized art throughout Florida and beyond, that would be success to me.
- Website: mattstockphoto.com abandonedeverglades.com
- Phone: 305-322-4422
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @mattstockphotog
- Facebook: matt stock photography