Interview by ANDREA QUARANTOTTO — Photos by MATT COLOMBO
As you’ll probably notice by reading this interview, Matt Colombo is certainly not the kind of photographer who likes to make much of an ideological fuss around its work. His photos speak enough for themselves, though: pure form. They tell about a subconscious that doesn’t want to be unveiled. You’ll notice his crisp black and whites, free from those tedious, fictionalised, and pompous scenarios that glossy magazines have been proposing for a century. Matt is an Italian photographer, constantly traveling around the world, portraying ‘randomness’ some would say, or a fond women-lover other would say – I simply think he’s just not really interested in promoting fake morality, but rather focused on photographing what he loves at its best: wether that is a sensuous body, a street sign, or a nice pair of legs.
ANDREA Q. — By looking at your photos, I can tell that there are some recurring elements – more precisely: street signs, details overcast by the sky, mirrors, decontextualised political or religious icons, artificial beings and… hot girls. Is any of this intentional? If so, which ones and why? Or on the contrary, do you think photography is something purely formal and unconscious?
MATT C. — Mostly, what I look for is what I find. I do photography just not to ask myself too many questions. By doing this I get straight to the answers.
ANDREA Q. — Do you have any moral restraints preventing you from shooting anything specific? Or do you rather feel free to photograph anything you like?
MATT C. — The only filter is my curiosity. And I can assure you that this filter doesn’t imply any moral restraints at all!
ANDREA Q. — Your latest photos in Los Angeles remind me of the best of Martin Scorsese in Taxi Driver. Speaking of cinema, do you believe that the ‘seventh art’ has partly influenced your way of photographing?
MATT C. — I like those artists who have a tense and nervous way of communicating, like a certain type of music: coming straight from your guts. Despite the fact that then their images remain stuck in my head like a chewing-gum under your best pair of shoes, creating in me a latent uneasiness.
ANDREA Q. — Which camera do you use? What’s your daily dose of film rolls? I imagine you always keep your camera at hand, judging from the ‘freshness’ of your photos.
MATT C. — I have an Olympus AF 10. Now it’s broken though! I don’t use it all the time anyways. Film rolls are expensive and moreover, I am quite lazy.
ANDREA Q. — Are there any photographers that you look up to in particular? Do you follow any of their current of thought?
MATT C. — I don’t think the photographers I admire ever felt the need of founding a photo-club! And anyhow I’d admire them less if they gave me a membership card.
ANDREA Q. — I know you are always around the world; which place has been visually more exciting so far from a photographic point of view?
MATT C. — Las Vegas.
ANDREA Q. — Now you live in LA, what brought you there? What keeps you there?
MATT C. — Pussy, together with its peculiar entourage of scum and coloured lights.
ANDREA Q. — You’re in LA, the capital of the Western porn industry. You happened to take some beautiful shots of Veruca James, known porn-actress; would you ever like to take pictures on the set of a porn movie? I think there is a lack of good photography on those sets and that’s a shame, because it is a kind of cinematography which is underestimated by the artistic intellighenzia. Think about it, I think you’ll have a blast!
MATT C. — Boy, everyone has his own preferences!
ANDREA Q. — Which other porn-star would you like to photograph?
MATT C. — Anyone with a soul, that’s to say all of them.
ANDREA Q. — The fact that both humans and animals have sexual needs is expressed in biology by supposing the existence of a so-called ‘sexual drive’. Proceeding by way of an analogy, we designate the desire for food as hunger. In everyday language, however, there is a lack of terminology for the word ‘hunger’ as applied to sexuality. Science resorts to the word ‘libido’, as for Sigmund Freud. By observing your photos of faces and female bodies, I’d like to ask: how does your hunger get satisfied through photography?
MATT C. — It doesn’t. Why should it?
ANDREA Q. — Let’s come to the final question in this interview. Is there at least one ‘curious and intriguing’ scene that you jest can’t take out of your head and that you would like to express in photography?
MATT C. — I regret not to be able to satisfy your curiosity. I am a guilty photographer… but never culpable of premeditation!