Interview With Matthew Tuffield from Australia

Interview With Christopher Behrend
February 2, 2024
Interview With Helene McGuire from United States
February 2, 2024

Matthew Tuffield | New York Photography Awards

Matthew Tuffield

Matthew Tuffield has been a photographer for 20 years, inspired by the landscapes of New Zealand on a family holiday. His knowledge and skills are self-taught, with a course in multimedia contributing to his learning. He regularly enhances his skills through independent research and self-directed learning.

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

I am Matthew Tuffield, a seasoned photographer with two decades of experience in the field. My journey in photography began about 20 years ago on a family holiday to New Zealand, where I was captivated by the breathtaking scenery. Motivated to capture the stunning landscapes we encountered on our travels, I initially used a film camera, as digital technology was relatively expensive at the time. Unsure of my affinity for photography at the time, I took the plunge. Upon returning home and developing my film, I discovered a true passion for capturing those exquisite moments, realizing the potential in my photographic endeavors.

I immediately loved capturing beautiful landscapes that I and others could see and love.

2Where did you study photography?

While I did not pursue any formal education in photography, I did undertake a photography course as part of my multimedia degree. Beyond that, my knowledge and skills in photography have been largely self-taught. I regularly engage in independent learning by researching techniques and concepts that resonate with me. Using resources such as Instagram, Google, and YouTube, I seek information to enhance my photography skills. This self-directed approach remains vital to my ongoing efforts to stay ahead of evolving trends and further develop my skills in the field.

3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
The first photograph that left a significant impression on me was taken with a film camera during my exploration of New Zealand. Positioned on a hill, the composition frames a charming town through a small section of the forest. The vibrant colourful surroundings and the quaint town below constituted a visually striking scene. Years later, my first digital capture featured a farm shed with a vibrant red roof, located near my family home. While exploring the neighborhood, I documented the weathered structure against a backdrop of an expansive and dramatic cloudy sky, encapsulating the rustic charm of the scene. This photograph was a favorite of my family and still hangs to this day on my mother's wall.
4What equipment do you use?
I currently use a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 24-105mm zoom lens as my standard lens. I also have a Canon 16-35 wide angle that I use to capture larger buildings. I use a range of neutral-density filters from+1 to+10 to help with long-exposure shots during the day. And last but not least, a sturdy tripod and shutter release cable.
5What do you hope to achieve?

I aspire to advance my photography skills with the ultimate goal of establishing a gallery to showcase my work for public appreciation. The prospect of consistently selling my artwork for both artistic enjoyment and career fulfillment would represent a significant achievement. Because of my love for capturing contemporary architecture, I am constantly pursuing new and innovative structures to capture. This inclination drives my desire to travel and explore diverse cities, providing me with opportunities to photograph remarkable buildings. I am always looking for ways to travel and explore new cities to capture impressive buildings. I hope to continue to travel and capture amazing buildings worldwide.

6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?

My professional journey has been marked by notable recognitions, including being honored as Australia's Black and White Photographer of the Year in 2017, securing third place at the Budapest Photo Awards 2022 and Silver in 2023, and achieving the distinction of winning the Black and White Architecture category at the New York Photography Awards 2023. While my earlier focus on landscape photography garnered limited acclaim, I underwent a pivotal shift in perspective, driven by a desire to explore new directions in my craft.

The turning point came when the first photograph I took of a building using long exposure techniques was featured in a well-known British photography magazine. This recognition not only validated the uniqueness of this style but also affirmed my joy in capturing these moments. Encouraged by this recognition, I am committed to further honing my skills in architectural photography, a decision that has since culminated in several accolades and awards.

Earlier this year I was allowed to write an article for the Australian Photography Magazine, Australia's most prestigious photo magazine. Being given such an amazing opportunity is once again a compliment to my work, and once again inspires me to research and hone my skills to a more professional and admired artwork.

7What inspires your unique storytelling?

Engaging with contemporary and exceptional modern architecture involves a comprehensive understanding of the intricate processes behind its design and construction. Modern architecture is inherently an art form, and I use my artistic expression to capture its essence distinctively.

I am particularly drawn to the brilliance of architectural design, where I add a fresh perspective to an already magnificent piece of art. This stylistic approach revitalizes and accentuates architectural developments that often go unnoticed by the casual observer. As much as I derive pleasure from others appreciating my art, I also relish admiring architectural designs crafted by fellow artists.

8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Unique, Compelling, Dark.
9Congratulations! As the winner of the New York Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
Being recognized by a prestigious photography awards organization is truly remarkable. New York, with its rich cultural and artistic flair, serves as a captivating backdrop for these awards, attracting submissions from a global talent pool. Emerging as a winner in the black-and-white architecture category, competing against photographers around the world, was a realization beyond my initial expectations. This significant achievement serves as a powerful motivator, affirming that my artistic endeavors are making a meaningful impact. It also provides a pivotal platform for broadening the global recognition of my work.
10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 New York Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

In early 2023, I visited Perth, Western Australia, marking my first trip to this Australian city. While on holiday, I stuck to my normal practice of carrying my camera, tripod, and filters, embarking on an exploration of Perth's streets. At first, I expected basic or unremarkable architectural styles, but my perception shifted as I discovered a more modern side of Perth than I had anticipated. I spent several days photographing the buildings, capturing as much as possible within a limited time frame. Upon returning to my hometown, I invested hours in post-production editing of the photos, a process that is still ongoing due to the amount of photos I captured.

Impressed by the portfolio of photos curated during my time in Perth, I sought additional opportunities to showcase my work by researching online photography competitions. Although I usually attend the Australian Photography Awards, I inadvertently missed it this year. Nevertheless, I found a new avenue in the New York Photography Awards and submitted my work, an unfamiliar venture that yielded success. I am grateful for the recognition of my work through this platform.

11How has winning an award developed your career?

Gradually, with each entry and subsequent victories in similar awards, my work gained increased recognition. My ambition to participate in the New York Photo Awards was to reach a wider audience to enjoy my work. I believed that by entering the prestigious awards, I could share my art with one of the world's leading art capitals; New York. I aspire to constantly share my work with international awards and admirers to appreciate and love my art. And in time with further wins and recognition, I can create a full-time career capturing and selling beautiful art to those who admire photography, landscapes, and modern architecture.

12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
Two photographers originally inspired me to capture architectural photography with long exposures. I saw an article in a photography magazine years ago, based on some of their best and award-winning works. These photographers are Joel Tjintjelaar and Julia Anna Gospodarou. They have been a huge influence on my photography over the years.
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
Discipline and patience are essential in photography and editing. Previously, I rushed through photographic and editing processes, inadvertently compromising the quality of my work. Now, I approach both stages with a deliberate and patient mindset, ensuring that the final product, be it the photograph or the editing, meets the standards that I consider worthy of sharing.
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

Thorough research is paramount in honing one's photographic skills. Identify specific areas of interest within photography and conduct comprehensive research on these genres. Also, practice different styles and techniques associated with your chosen area, and learn from other photographers who complete similar work. Never compare your work to others, but learn from them and remain committed to continuous research and practice. With every day of effort, improvement in your work will be discernible and continuous.

15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Enjoy and have fun in your pursuits and draw inspiration from fellow photographers. Regularly engage in research, review the achievements of other photographers, and aim to undertake similar endeavors in your unique style. Whether photography is a hobby or a profession, it requires a substantial time commitment, so make sure your passion fuels the hours dedicated to your craft. But the main thing is to have fun!

16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
I engage and sometimes go too far, in comprehensive research through platforms like Instagram, photography magazines, and online searches to learn and stay up-to-date with emerging technologies and trends. Instagram, in particular, serves as a valuable resource for information and tips, offering insights that contribute to the enhancement of creative ideas and styles. Just be careful as Instagram can be very time-consuming, and it's better to just get out and practice with the camera, and play with Photoshop layers and effects.
17Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
I express my sincere gratitude for this opportunity and the entry into the winning category. It is truly an honor to receive esteemed recognition in a remarkable photography competition, especially after hours of dedicated effort invested in my photographic art. My substantial involvement in photography was inspired by accomplished international photographers. To have the potential to influence and inspire fellow photographers brings me profound satisfaction – knowing that my art can be shared and appreciated on diverse levels, especially on a global scale.

Winning Entry

The Modern Perth | 2023

During my first holiday to Perth, Western Australia, I found solace and inspiration in capturing the dark essence of its architectural marvels through my ..…
(Read more at New York Photography Awards)

Matthew Tuffield

Matthew Tuffield has been a photographer for 20 years, inspired by the landscapes of New Zealand on a family holiday. His knowledge and skills are self-taught, with a course in multimedia contributing to his learning. He regularly enhances his skills through independent research and self-directed learning.

Read more about this article from Christopher Behrend of Rennandi Ísland, the 2023 Gold Winner from the New York Photography Awards.