We're proud to feature Nate Matos, a photographer from Portland, Oregon. I first came to know Nate through his YouTube channel, which has become prominent among like-minded film shooters looking to feed their appetites for information about film photography.
More recently, Nate has just published his latest printed book, Serif & Silver, a quarterly film photography journal of his curated work. The first edition, Polaroids, is a collection of his instant film work between from 2010 to 2015. Today, we get to talk to Nate and learn about his process of getting his work from the idea stage to a final, printed volume.
Tell us about yourself, and what you do. I'm from the Portland area originally, although I was born in Fullerton, CA. This has become a small point of contention in my life as when people ask where I'm from I can't simply say born and raised. There is always an asterisk on the statement. Photography for me took a few tries to get going, and a lot of that was finding exactly what spoke to me and what I was able to say back with my images. I don't think I'm alone when I say I was first introduced to photography via a high school arts credit. The wet darkroom we used was outstanding, and a great outlet of creativity. But unfortunately after the class was over I didn't pay much more attention. It wasn't until my 18th birthday that my mom bought me a Canon Digital Rebel XT for me as a birthday gift, hoping to rekindle the passion she saw while I was taking the class. That brought on a new wave, lots of digital work, specifically automotive. I even had my photos show up in a few car magazines and got a bit of recognition. But when I picked up a Canon AE-1 to play around with something new started for me. Since then (around 2009 when I purchased the AE-1, and I've shot film exclusively since late 2011) the pieces have come together and provided me with direction and context for my work. I use film to support my images and the stories I tell, it's a choice just as one would pick oil over acrylic for painting, and a choice that I am grateful we are able to use.
Photo © Nate Matos. All rights reserved.
What motivated you to create printed volumes of your work? Printed work has been in the works for a long time. I've always been a fan of the printed medium, we subscribe to and purchase individual magazines at home, am always picking up photo books, and I love to support other photographers through their small print works like zines. My last self-produced publication (I've had my work in other collections) was in 2011. Since then I've gathered a large backlog of images and prints, and I knew that something needed to be done otherwise the work would never get released. So I sat down with my many boxes of Polaroids and started pulling out photos I liked. From there it was a tedious process of review, sort, review, sort, into perpetuity as I narrowed the selection to about 50 images. Once I had reached that point I could finally arrange them into a format with more of a narrative attached.
Which cameras/films did you choose for this particular project? As this collection was based off content within a photo format, the materials and cameras used are many. But as a quick rundown; Fuji FP100B is very prominent, and most of the time I was using an NPC 195; a large format rangefinder that's been designed to use polaroid pack film. Sprinkled in this is some Fuji FP3000B, FP100C, Polaroid 690 of various expirations, as well as a bit of Polaroid Chocolate and Blue. Other cameras include a Colorpack II and Automatic Land Camera 100.
From Serif & Silver, all Photos © Nate Matos. All rights reserved.
Since this is planned to be a quarterly volume, are their any ideas for what the next volume will be? I've committed myself to one year of a quarterly format. Based on how this goes I may switch to a bi-annual, but who knows. I do know where the next issue will take me, and I'm actually already in the midst of working on it. But can't say too much just yet. Issue II of Serif & Silver will start shipping September 1st 2015. Beyond that a roadmap does exist for issues 3 through 6, and I'm excited to present work through various formats and themes; though I don't know where it will ultimately take me.
What other projects can we look forward to? Right now Serif & Silver is taking up most of my time. But for me 2015 is a year of beginnings. The series featured on my website currently have been up for about 2 years, and are coming to a close. They will eventually be replaced with new images and bodies of work with more direction and greater stories to be told. Within that though there is still a lot up in the air, and I'm not entirely sure when it will come to the ground. I'm excited for what the future brings, and I feel Serif & Silver is a good start.
A big thank you to Nate for taking the time to talk with us about his project.
Make sure to get your copy of Serif & Silver here, and connect with Nate on social media below: