With years of experience comes a unique stylized fragment of a moment that many artists strive to achieve. However, it is often the work of a young, innocent eye that delivers raw images filled with emotion and narrative. The photography of Matt Skuza (often taking on the persona of Utah) is an amazing example of inexperienced artistry at its finest. He has the ability to take any viewer of his work to a place of untold adolescent dreams, and dark adult fantasies.
If you could blink your eyes and be anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
If I could blink my eyes and be anywhere in the world right now, I think I would be in Iceland with 5 huskies, living in one of those houses that are under the grass. Wouldn't mind not having electricity either.
When did you embark on this journey as a photographer? When did you begin to truly see your self as a photographer?
I started taking photographs at the age of 17. I'm not sure if I'd consider myself a photographer; I think that description gets misused a lot. To be a photographer I think you must grow first - it doesn't happen over night - it takes many years of fucking up. Photography became my art of choice in an odd way. I needed an outlet for expression, and considering I didn't know how to draw at the time, I explored the world of cameras. I always loved black and white photography and the way it made me feel so in the beginning I only shot with black and white. I use photography more like therapy.
Why have you chosen film over digital photography as your medium of choice?
I decided to use film pretty early on. The way a film photograph looks to me is a lot more honest, a lot more character involved. You can almost see the emotion without it being clouded. People always give me their opinions about film versus digital, and they just don't seem to get what I get. They think it's a lot more wise to get involved with digital because it's somewhat cheaper... But its not about the money. Its about the process; its about singing on rooftops.
Many of your images make me want to transport to a different time, place, and universe all together. Do you find your photography allows for your imagination to wander to spaces that you can't go physically?
I don't think they do, maybe cause it's my work. But the way I look at my work and the way others look at it are completely different.
In one word how would YOU describe your work?
You often photograph spaces that are very earth-based, like forests or fields. How do you find photographing nature or rural landscapes differ from photographing urban settings?
I do tend to photograph a lot of fields and forests - I don't know why, I just seem to have this attraction towards it. Calms me down. Feels like those types of places accept me (or anything). Urban settings are more hostile, and I feel like I get confused with myself.
I find your photos are mysterious in a sort of whimsical way. Do you intend to capture images that portray this (or any) specific feeling, or do you think that the moments just allow for it to happen on its own?
Well, from working on my portfolio lately I've discovered how my photos make me feel. I've found that they make me feel lonely, almost sad. Sometimes I guess I somewhat plan it, but I think most of the time it just happens that way subconsciously. I think my work is really honest.
I particularly love your new set of photos from Toronto; I find there is a stronger sense of the viewer as dominating the camera. When taking a photo, do you imagine the lens as someone's view on the world, or simply as a moment within a particular time in space?
I think it's both; my photos act like a library to my personal life. I look through the camera to capture a moment in my life that at the time I felt something.
Despite the presence of familiar faces in your photography, I always find your photos attribute a story to the subject that is different from their existing story in reality. What role do you envision people playing in your photos?
I don't really enjoy taking photos of people posing for the camera and I find that when you take pictures of friends they seem to only want to pose. Ifind that boring. I don't want a photo of someone presenting themselves in a fake version of themselves. I want to take a picture of someone who's not looking at me, who mostly doesn't even know I'm looking at them. I feel that's honesty. I feel like when that happens, it's true and contains a lot more emotion. The role I envision people playing in my photos would be to be as free as birds, the birds that wake you up in the morning.
At this exact moment in time, what would a road map of your future look like?
Well right now I'm throwing my portfolio together to get into a school. Probably going to work on it for another year, the program I want to get into is 2-3 years in length. During all that, I'd like to have a few shows. AFTER ALLLLLL THAT Id love to move to SanFran.
"Being an artist." What does that phrase mean to you?
Being an artist... I don't even consider myself an artist. I think everyone on this planet needs therapy and I'm thankful I found mine.
Would the world be a better place if we were all animals roaming a natural, element-ruled kingdom?
I wish!! But maybe in a different lifetime we will all experience that. What I really want is to be blind and for everyone else to be blind, at least just for a few years. I figure if we all went through tha,t we would appreciate some things a lot more. I wake up every morning pumped that I have vision. People only miss it once they lose it; let's lose it and then be pumped to have it back and live everyday knowing we can see the small things for more than what they really are.
Walking with Utah
Cave Singers - Beach House