Street Photography Interview: Math Roberts
It's been a while since I've done a interview, or blog post at all for that matter. What better way to get the flow going again in 2020 other than to do an interview with the infamous Math Roberts?
Math's work captures the essence of life in Britain. He packs a variety of characters, excitement and moments only a trained eye could see in to every photo. Thankfully this interview should shed some light on how Math works his magic on the street to produce quality images time and time again.
1. Let's get started with the who, where and what? Who are you, where are you from and what is your weapon of choice?
My name is Math Roberts, I'm from just outside swansea in South Wales. I generally shoot with a Ricoh GR2, although I'm shooting with a Fujifilm X-T20 at the moment as I opened up my Ricoh to clean the sensor myself a couple of weeks ago, and had some spare parts after putting it back together - doesn't seem to work now.
2. How did you become interested in photography, and more importantly, street photography?
I got into photography seriously after buying a Sony camera from a boot of a car outside my local pub for £20, say no more. Started taking photos of waterfalls, sunsets and beaches etc; landscape photography essentially. I got bored of this after a couple of years and put the camera down for a few months, then I came across some work by Martin Parr and was blown away. I then started looking up other street photographers and came across Alex Webb, Joel Meyerowitz, Maciej Dakowicz, Robert Frank, to name a few. And obviously I had to try it for myself - I think I took my first "street" photo in March 2015.
3. Staying motivated in street photography can be hard. What keeps you going back out on the hunt for more photos?
Haha I've quit 20 times! I think its good to take a break sometimes, it can give you a fresh perspective. Looking at other great photographers' work is a huge motivation and inspiration for me, it makes you want to go out and shoot! It's like all those people who take up tennis when Wimbledon is on!
4. On a typical day of what does shooting street photography look like for you? Where do you like to shoot and what are you looking for?
I'll generally pick a location the night before, which could be anywhere that's dry within a 100 miles, but usually Swansea or Cardiff. I like to start out early, I've captured some of my favourite images, early in the morning when the city is just waking up! I'll generally shoot for about 2 hours, depending on how well its going, I've done a few 8 hour stints - but that can be mentally draining trying to stay focused. Cities are definitely my favourite place to shoot, although you can find some small towns with some great characters! But I'm always looking for interesting people.
5. Is there something in particular you are looking for when you're out taking photographs? What spurs you to pull the trigger?
I don't have any preconceptions before I start shooting. I just wander around haphazardly and I'll shoot anything and everything I find personally interesting. Sometimes I'll see a shot every 500 metres, other times nothing for hours.
6. What's your project 'PRETTY SHITTY CITY' about?
I'm not 100% sure what Pretty shitty City is about yet, its fundamentally a series of photos documenting the City of Swansea which is going through some massive redevelopment at the moment. The name comes from the film Twin Town, which is based in Swansea - you can look that up :)
7. Are you currently working on any projects in particular or have any work you're keen to share?
Nothing concrete as far as projects go at the moment, I am meant to be working on a book - but things keep popping up. Should have a few things unfolding this year so we'll have to wait and see how things pan out.
8. Do you have any tips for anyone new or interested in street photography?
Make sure you always carry a camera at all times, and the first shot of the day you take, take with confidence, your first shot defines your whole day. If you take your first shot half arsed or with trepidation, that's the way it will go for the most part.
Thanks to Math for agreeing to do the interview. It's a great way of seeing how others work and spreading the love of street photography.
To see Math's work head over to:
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