OneQuestion: Brian Matiash

Copyright Brian Matiash

I’m so sad, the first week of OneQuestion is at its conclusion! But what a way to finish. Last, but definitely not least…well, maybe kind of least, or more in the middle, or whatever, my good friend Brian Matiash (who knows I kid, it’s our thing) was kind of enough to drop this friggin’ awesome road shot on us today and answer the question I posed to everyone. Brian is an amazing guy, an amazing photographer and I owe him a lot for where I am right now.

And before we get to Brian’s answer, I just want to thank everyone who participated in this project, and also all the support we had out there from Twitter, Facebook, G+ and the rest of it. It’s been a ton of fun and I can’t wait to do it again sometime!

What do you have a passion to photograph? What would make you forego much-needed sleep

because you just can’t help but get out and take more pictures?

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Let me start off by thanking my good bud, Mike, for thinking of me when he put this very interesting series together. I always appreciate unique spins on guest blog series and this one certainly doesn’t fail to please with the provocative question that is posed – What would make me forego sleep to keep shooting?

Well, let me start by explaining just how much I love my sleep. I hold it in the same lofty regard as a finely crafted ale. I don’t get much sleep because I’m unable to nap and it usually takes about 2 hours for me to even fall asleep at night. So, when sleep finally does come, I usually hold onto it like it’s manna from heaven. But still, what would keep me from it?

Well, the answer can be summed up in this – it’s all about ‘the streak’. There is a phenomenon in photography where you are out shooting and all of a sudden, you just see this one shot. Everything is aligned and the frame just makes sense. You get the camera situated and BOOM! – you get this shot that just surges through you. You chimp it and you know you nailed it. This causes adrenaline and endorphins to start coursing through your veins. Thoughts start caroming off each other and new shots appear right in front of you. You’ve hit the streak. It’s that streak that makes it more than a pleasure to give up sleep and comfort.

When I took this shot, I was tired. More than that, I was tired, sweaty, and getting more wet with each rainy minute that went by. But, I was mid-streak. I had just finishing shooting the Empire State Building and saw a way of framing it that I never thought of before. Something about the shot just energized me. I had been on my feet shooting all day and we were in the middle of a massive heat wave. But, none of that seemed to matter at that point.

I started darting around, thinking of shots to get. I settled on this one random corner and positioned my camera about a foot off the street. I knew the type of long exposure effect I was going for. Each shutter release was a 10-20 second investment. Timing the traffic lights and the amount of cars passing through the frame was critical to get the shot. But, I had fuel pumping and it didn’t matter. After a few failed attempts, I got the shot I was looking for.

It was one of those situations where I wouldn’t have stopped until I got the shot I was happy with. At that point, it didn’t really matter what time it was or how gross I felt, it was all about getting the shot. Sleep would come eventually. The shot only happens in the moment.

This is what it is always about to be a photographer.