Matsu Kiss My Camera – Best Portrait/Press Photo Of A WA Act

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  • Monday, 03 December 2018 16:42
Published in Music News  
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Matsu' winning photo of WA artist Lincoln MacKinnon. Matsu' winning photo of WA artist Lincoln MacKinnon.

The winners of this year's Kiss My Camera music photography awards presented by WAM have been crowned, and Perth photographer Matsu has taken out the 'Best Portrait/Press Photo Of A WA Act' category.


Matsu earned the award for his moody and emotive portrait of Lincoln MacKinnon bathed in a ray of sunshine (pictured). We chat with Matsu about the win.

Congratulations. How do you feel about the win?
Thanks. It feels great to be recognised by the WA music scene. It was a solid vibe at the WAM Awards and I had some family and friends chilling with me on the night. It felt surreal jumping on stage and getting a WAM record. I have had many friends get WAMs and never once thought I would get the honour.

How did you respond to finding out you won?
I'm not too into personal accolades, but it was great and cracked a big smile. It's nice to know all the hard work catches a little attention and some good vibes.

What made you want to enter your particular photo in the competition?
I'm a strong believer in WA music; from my early days covering hip hop, shooting music videos and a little touring. I really believe in the strength, character and endeavour of WA music. So entering my press images into Kiss My Camera is part of that same passion, and my aim is to create and present images that place WA music on equal footing nationally and internationally.

What does winning this award mean for your career?
Winning gives me the confidence to push forward with what I'm doing. It can sometimes be hard to gauge direction in a creative career, but picking up an award judged by people I really respect helps navigate the ship a little.

What made Lincoln MacKinnon an interesting subject to shoot?
Lincoln is a rad dude and really talented creative. We chatted for hours about different creative fields and tossed around a lot of different ideas. Lincoln was someone who I could bounce ideas off and this connection with an artist is really key to understanding them, their direction and how I can help add a little to their journey.

How did you approach the layout and composition of the photo?
This was a shoot where location was just as important as anything else. I stumbled onto the location one afternoon out doing street photography. It is a small abandoned house five minutes from the CBD. Lincoln and I carefully planned the right day, weather, time and props to use in the shoot. I am huge fan of depth in images, having the light and shadow create layers into the image was key to the layout and composition.

The light in the image seems just right; how long did it take to get that one shot?
I am forever someone panicking about the right light. I scouted the same location twice a few days before the shoot day. Then we arrived two hours early to location on the shoot day just to make sure nothing would be missed. We waited, tracked how the sun was moving and where best to place the chair and Linc.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words; what does this photo say to you?
When initially meeting with Linc he talked about a desire to present something with a nostalgic Australian feel with a mixture darkness and beauty, like a home you grew up in that is now empty and vacant. I feel we captured that empty solemn feeling of a place vacated and lost mixed with this beautiful light splashing into the room and almost breathing life back into it.

In terms of skill and difficulty, how does photographing an artist portrait compare to photographing their live performance?
They are both very different beasts. Live music is dynamic, chaotic and anything can happen and you have little control or input into what is happening in front of you. Portraiture is different because you have a lot more input. You have meetings, creative discussions, planning and peeps trusting your direction. It's as much your work as it is the artist's you're shooting, and that collaborative aspect of it I really like.

Any advice for new bands and artists on taking a good portrait photo?
Take risks. Jumping on stage is a risk and putting months or years of work into albums is a risk, so why let the risk taking stop there? I'm a really big fan of risk-taking and putting something new out there with my photography and I always encourage people I work with to not let the risk-taking end with the music.

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