For resources week as part of project educate we have conducted interviews with some of the prominent members of our community. Hopefully it will give you an insight into how their devious minds work.
Here is our interview with `tExTuReMaTtIc, texture fiend.
Tell us a bit about yourself, give us an introduction to who texturemattic is and why he takes photos of dirty things.
I hate doing things like this. It feels like a virtual AA meeting. Here goes nothing...
My name is Matt Lewis and I live in a scummy chav infested hole in South Wales, UK. I work as a graphic designer by day and drink lots of wine at night to keep me sane. I have 3 children. I have no life.
tExTuReMaTtIc started life as a half assed attempt to provide some original stock. At first I played with the account and didn't really commit to anything. I was doing a lot of photo manipulation at the time, mostly dark, and was keen to provide myself with my own stock rather than relying on stumbling upon something suitable... then I decided to start sharing and at the same time started getting lots of inspiration with respect to using some of these pieces as art. That's about it really
Why do you share your resources with people, what motivates you?
The only analogy I can use to describe why I do what I do is that of 'Where's Wally'. I can happily sit and stare at a patch of rust for hours and hours. Thousands of colours, shapes, patterns, hints of symmetry and chaos... it's spellbinding. Who wouldn't want to share an experience like that? We're surrounded by amazing natural artwork that most of us take for granted every day. I like to think I make people stop and look by isolating these wonderful artistic instances. Sharing these as stock and seeing these little wonders further utilised to enhance an image is just an added extra! We're all here in one way or another to not only display our skills and receive encouragement / criticism but also to share what we've seen and what we've discovered. There's nothing better in my mind than finding an intricate and subtle natural pattern and seeing that incorporated into 10 different images by 10 different deviants. It's indicative of how limitless the concept of art really is.
What tools do you use, and how does it influence your work?
You name it... hammers, blowtorches, paint... but mostly just a camera. I like finding things as they are and showing them as they are. I enhance most of my images with Photoshop subtly and may combine a few to get an effect that I like... but mostly it's just a contrast and colour balance tweak or two.
I use a 400D and a 70mm Sigma macro lens. Gives me plenty of flexibility, good working distance and allows me to indulge in a little insect photography should the need arise. I rarely if ever take the 70mm off.
Where do you find this stuff? What kind of exploring do you get up to?
I have a few favourite places that I keep to myself. A train yard that I'm not supposed to be in and another where I know the guys are my two favourites. There are some old mine workings nearby that have cool outbuildings. I work near the docks in an old part of town so I'm surrounded by rusty shit and decay... and then there's the abandoned station-house and its resident spook. That's a story for another time though...
I carry the camera with me at all times and think nothing of stopping in the middle of the road if I see something particularly disgusting. There's always somewhere to find cool textures, natural, synthetic or otherwise - woods, industrial parks, churches, garages.... If not, and you live in a hermetically sealed white plastic bubble, make your own! Scratch, peel, bite, burn and smash! You'll be surprised what you can come up with and it's good for the inner demons!
The UK, as well as other parts of the world, don't seem to like people taking pictures in public places these days. Has this affected you yet?
Totally. Due to the locations I go to I get approached a lot - but I look angry and most people leave me alone.
I usually grin widely, start into "God is in his Holy Temple...", stretch my arms out and walk towards them. Works every time.
Scaremongering by governments with overactive imaginations and totalitarian tendencies will always ultimately result in a reduction in freedoms. It's each of our responsibilities to fight against this. I'f I'm wrong, they can throw me in jail... because all photographers are terrorists and paedophiles, right?
What makes a good texture?
What kind of relationship do you have with the people that use your textures - do you watch for their trends/needs and source out and create textures for them?
My time here has become more and more limited of late and I dont keep up with my users and watchers as much as I used to this saddens me but its a fact of life. Ill always respond to print and stock provision requests and give feedback where required and to me thats the least anyone can ask of a stock photographer.
Pick a few of the textures from your own gallery, and tell us the story behind them
Oh they all have stories
was taken at the site of an old factory that had been knocked down exposing all the old tiles floors to the sky. There was a security guard and a few dogs around so I snuck into the compound and down into the recessed cellar where no one would see me. After five minutes worth of shooting I decided to sit on the steps and have a cigarette then a huge wet thing pushed into my ear. I turned around quickly and got another wet slap in the face from the hugest German Shepherd Ive ever seen. He was cool we sat there and passed the time of day for about 30 mins, then he loped off some guard dog.
was taken by dangling upside down in a dumpster full of food and shit and nappies. I am nothing if not committed to my calling.
was my first foray into the wonderful world of blowtorches. Using old Sainsburys carrier bags strapped to a piece of slate. This day was a sad day I dropped my Nikon 8800, it died horribly and I cried lots. I really should do more of this synthetic stuff, I enjoyed the experience.
You must have some favourite textures by other deviants, care to share some?
Heres 3 of my favourites the list is huge.
is absolutely stunning. One of my all time favourites. I would certainly have this on my wall.
by ~aqueous-sun-textures is a high quality piece thats infinitely useable. Steves account is wholly underrated, he has some magical pieces in there of which this is but one.
is my all time favourite. Ive used this one for ageing so many times and its the one texture I always turn to when Im lost for an effect.
How about work that has made use of your textures, care to share a few?
What do you think of the Texture gallery as a whole?
I love it. If I didnt, I wouldnt be here. It certainly needs some major reorganization though and I seriously think we need to start quality vetting the very very poor submissions (i.e. those that are either very small, very out of focus, or both). Unlike external stock communities and websites that you have to pay for and the images are licensed formally and vetted, dA, by its nature has a tendency to be a little hit and miss in terms of quality. Thank goodness we have the GDs there to move things around and keep the place as sweet as possible however, with some reorganization and monitoring within a streamlined framework I feel the gallery could be a much more user friendly place and easier to manage for the GDs concerned. Im not trying to be elitist, I just want people to be offered the best possible stock they can get and have a pleasing browsing experience whilst doing it. Flat always makes me laugh.
...and I'm sure you have some thoughts on 'icon' or 100x100 textures
NOW Im being elitist. They need their own category somewhere in the main Resources root. Icon Stock or Icon Resources. Im still curious as to what general purpose a 100x100 clip of part of an image can serve that the majority of deviants can knock up in a few minutes.
Any last thoughts to wrap it up?
I CAN HAZ PLUSHIEEZ?