Weekly Grind: Part VII With Matt Black


Once again, I had the rare opportunity to sit in and listen to one of the very few photographers that I greatly admire speak about his work. As part of SIPF 2016, Matt Black is in town this week to conduct a Magnum photo workshop and it all accumulated to an hour of sharing session.

One of the greatest things that can happen to you when you are given these opportunities is that you get to learn maybe one or two extremely invaluable pieces of advice. Granted, if I have disposable money worth around SGD$1800, I would have taken his workshop where I am certain I can learn so much more too but as reality has it, I don't have that surplus in savings. Therefore, an hour with him is all that I could make do with.


Magnum Photographer, Matt Black, The Deck 2016

In any case, he still shared with us two very important and yet very simple words of guidance. Firstly, he said that if you want to start on your journey as a photographer, particularly as a documentary or reportage photographer, always start with your front door. For him, this means California where his Geography of Poverty project began. So in reference to myself, I always have these ideas of going abroad and pursuing stories all over the world but since I am forcibly stuck here for the next six years, it comforts me to know that I can still do something with my own development as a photographer within Singapore.

Secondly, he also said to follow your ideas because you can be surprised where it will bring us to in the future the same way as it did for him. As simple as that. Gary Knight mentioned about the quality of ideas and Matt Black wants you to go after them. So it all comes down to  ideas, ideas and execution. I have all these ideas in my head and sometimes too many of them which often clogs up my own head as well. So maybe on top of all the advices I have gotten so far, I also need to learn to be more disciplined in organising my ideas on future projects too.

Hopefully, with all that I have learned in the past two weeks, I can start putting them into practice in the coming months.