Artist Spotlight: Matt Smith

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for an Artist Spotlight! If you are new to the blog, this is a  feature, where we spotlight photographers and artist that are inspiring others with there instant film work. While we try to provide our readers with a new spotlight each week, I’ll be the first to admit we have been lacking in this department lately. Feedback from the community are the best way to make these spotlights happen, so if you would like to be featured or know of someone you would like to see on the blog, drop us a line.  We love putting people in the spotlight!


Today we are featuring Matt Smith. Matt reached out to us couple weeks ago and sent us some links to his work, along with a few images. After a quick look at his social media feeds, we knew our readers would love his work. Matt basically lives at the beach, and he has done a fantastic job of capturing his surroundings on instant film. Please be sure to click the links below and show him some social media love.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr

A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.

I’m 38, I was born in Cornwall and live here now with my wife Abi and two young children, Ned and Jess.

I work as a website manager, spend all my free time with the family and friends, surfing as much as possible and taking pictures when I can, which is often either side of surfing or when out walking with the kids. I have perfected carrying a child and shooting a polaroid…

How did you get into instant photography?

I remember it clearly, it was 2006 and some close friends had bought and were using polaroid cameras, I was initially skeptical of these old big fiddly erratic objects they were showing me, but it only took them to peel one shot in front of me, and I went home and bought one that same day.

What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?

I’ve tried many and sold ones I didn’t use much (normally to buy more film), all the remaining are favorites: polaroid 195, self converted 110b to use packfilm and a 101 converted to a manual lens, SX70, a Speedgraphic 4×5 camera and a Holga with polaroid back. All different but fun in their own way.

What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?

I’d like to try a Fuji-fp1 or a Konica instant press if one ever came my way, or have a go with an 8×10, but ideally just to take one shot with the 20×24!

What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?

Any and all expired polaroid film, with 108/669 and time zero being particular favorites. I like the impossible BW 2.0 but haven’t used a lot of it yet. Hoping to get hold of some of their Gen3 colour film soon.

How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?

It’s pretty much my only workflow… I occasionally shoot some medium format but it’s pretty much exclusively instant film.

How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)

I’m just trying to capture the people and places in my life, with a particular interest in the surfers and surf culture I’m surrounded by. Using polaroid and instant film to do this, especially when it’s really expired film, continues to fascinate me and I think lends itself to the spontaneous way I take photos. I also love to drag a polaroid camera and film with me whenever I travel anywhere, which is always a challenge that is worth it – I love to shoot in new and interesting places (and my carry on luggage generally starts a conversation at customs).

Any personal projects we should know about?

I’ve finally got around to building myself a website, A few people have recently suggested making a book of polaroid surfing pics, which could be fun and I’m going to look into. Mainly for this year it’s portraits, which are something I would like to be more confident at, and I aim to push myself to do more.

What other photographers do you look up too?

Ohh too many to list here, but For instant film work just look in the polaroid or Roidweek groups on Flickr, search #polaroid on Instagram, browse around this site, and you’ll see many that inspire me… I’m not going to list them as many have become friends and I don’t want to miss anyone out.

In photography generally Joni Sternbach, Anton Orlov, Ryan Tatar, Chris Burkard, Leo Sharp, Tim Mantoani, Matt Georges, and many many more.

What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?

Well I guess this advice has recently changed with the demise of Fuji 100c… there is no relatively cheap entry to instant film anymore… So at the moment I would encourage people to look around the internet and get an idea of what they like, then buy a camera that takes impossible film or perhaps Instax film, read as much as you can about it and prepare for some amazing photos but also expect a few mistakes too, it takes practice to master these old cameras and any instant film, and we have all wasted many shots to get here, but that is all part of the fun.

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?

It comes from the things in life I love, my family and friends, surfing, the outdoors. I don’t plan a lot, I just try to capture things I see when I am out and about. That said, I would be lying if I said the work of others didn’t inspire me to go out and try things, most recently emulsion lifts and more perspective control with camera movements.


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