Matt Schwartz Hits Pause On Montauk
The whimsically washed polaroids of sun and surf scenes captured by Matt Schwartz (a.k.a. She Hit Pause Studios) are a match made in heaven for the East End. Fitting, because that’s exactly where they’ll be. For the month of August, Schwartz’s work will be taking up residence in the MBH lobby. We chatted with him about his studio, She Hit Pause, the wanderer’s life and much more. Read on and join us this Friday at 6:00 PM for the opening reception. Details below.
Can you share the story/meaning behind the “She Hit Pause” name?
I was writing a lot of music and words, while just getting into photography. I was looking through a journal and saw that I wrote the words “she hit pause” about meeting someone who stopped time, worries and sadness. She was a meditation. Photography to me is hitting pause on a beautiful/peaceful moment, where it stays forever. No one ages, the sun always shines and it remains as a constant that you can always look at and basically depend on to bring you the same beauty over and over.
Polaroids have a weight to them, in which you get one chance. When I started, before digital was in full effect, it was instant gratification and something tangible that I could hold, without the glow of technology. Polaroid has given my voice as a photographer a microphone, though with this microphone, the more I raise my voice, the softer the effect.
Do you ever go digital? Do you take pics with your phone?
I do use digital for certain projects and to make photographic sketches or to take notes, though it is not my main choice. I use the phone in the same way. There have been days where I purposely did not take my camera on a walk, with the intent of just observing with my eyes and ended up shooting a scene over and over on the phone.
You’ve worked with some great brands and spaces – tell us about your first major collaboration.
I think my first major collaboration was with Anthropologie. I was just getting started with selling my work and I sent them an email and a box of images. They emailed me the next day and placed an order for a few hundred images and then did an in-store display in NYC. It was definitely rewarding to my confidence.
You recently told MILK about your songwriting endeavors. How does music influence your photography?
I hold my photography up to the beauty of favorite songs, as opposed to being in competition with other photographers. I aim to capture the beauty and authenticity that exists in music.
You’ve said in the past that you’ve always been drawn to the ocean. What is your first memory of it?
I remember visiting my grandparents who lived in Coney Island. I was probably 7 or 8 years old and my grandfather took me to The Rockaway Beach Surf Shop. He got me a bodyboard, I rode some white water and I’ve been entranced ever since.
It’s no secret that you photograph a lot of women. What is it about the female form that inspires you so?
Initially it is my attraction to women in general. It does start with physical features, though then goes deeper and out of my control. Sometimes I will be photographing someone that I was initially inspired to shoot because of her eyes, hair or body and then get lost in a totally different direction during the shoot. I actually photographed this girl with the most piercing eyes a few years ago and ended up just photographing her from the knees down, wearing purple tights in a garden. In the end it comes down to the energy of the person I am photographing and how we interact together.
Your work has made you an avid traveler. What are some of your favorite locales?
Yeah, traveling has definitely become my definition of success. A few of my favorite places I have shot in the past few years are Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Portugal, Hawaii and Brazil.
What does your perfect vacation look like?
I am learning that a perfect vacation can come in many different ways. Sometimes I leave with a ton of great images, while other times I have had a fairly quiet mind and been able to be fairly present in the moment during most of the trip. Lately it has become more and more important for me to do some surfing and put down the camera. After photographing others surfing for years, which I consider the equivalent of a beautiful song or ballet, it is now my time to walk into the actual picture.
You’re our third ‘Artist in Residence’ of the season – what makes the Montauk Beach House a good fit for your work and what are you looking forward to most about it?
Aside from the location of the Montauk Beach House, I am a big fan of the vibes. It’s a really chill place without any pretentiousness. I’m psyched for my work to be hanging in this atmosphere, while one of my favorite bands, Vacationer, plays music that really works well with my images. I want to just create an overall feeling for people that come. I think the combo of the location, work and sounds should come as close to my idea of perfection as possible. A few drinks will probably help too.
The images on display will be 18 x 24″ – 4 x 5′ limited editions
Join us this Friday, July 29th at 6:00 pm for an evening of art and conversation with Matt Schwartz (She Hit Pause Studios) and peep his artwork in our lobby over the next few weeks.
Check out the rest of the calendar here!