No, despite the fuzzy corona of the above camera shot, you are not in heaven, nor are you dreaming. Yes, sunlight itself can produce that beautiful haze—and though some of the credit belongs to the combined powers of Polaroid film and wet watercolor paper—the angle, the concept, that feeling of surfer-guru-calm that seems to emanate beyond the corners of the image into the room itself—all of that is courtesy of Matt Schwartz, musician-turned-photographer and founder of She Hit Pause Studios. “All of my pictures,” Schwartz says, “come 100% from the heart.” For evidence of that sentiment look no further than his website, where each piece is described in loving detail, so the viewer can relive each moment alongside the image.
With photo credits at Nylon, New York Magazine, and the recently released Instant Love, just to name a few, Schwartz isn’t completely under the radar, but his style and inspirations are still simple, laid back, and off the grid. Visit him at Gifted (to the right of the front entrance) this holiday season, but in the meantime, catch him here:
Do you remember where you were when you first discovered you were a photographer?
Traveling around the country and playing music to empty bars.
You’ve spent a lot of time traveling in Central and South America. How does that inspire your work?
Having fresh eyes and submerging myself in surf culture. Lately I have enjoyed taking Polaroids of the surrounding towns. I think I have captured what I want to currently say about the ocean for now and I’m making my way inland.
Interesting. What land-locked spaces inspire you?
I lived in Colorado for a few years and enjoyed being out west. I really got to know the mountains. Right now I would like to visit and shoot in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, and Vietnam. I want to focus more on the beauty of towns and little villages.
What is your favorite part of working at the Flea?
The Flea is my idea of a museum. Each morning I walk around and get inspired with ideas for photo shoots and end up buying a lot of props for shoots. Most of the people in my shoots are friends or people that have bought work from me at the Flea.
And finally, do you have any advice for young photographers starting out?
Just shoot and don’t worry about the technical aspects. Look through the lens, find what’s beautiful, crop it and press the button. Start with film. When shooting film there is always the underyling thought of how many images are left on the roll and how many rolls you have left. It’s a good way to value what a photograph is. Also, shoot what you want to shoot. If you are taking photographs of something other than your passion you might as well have any job.