compagnon of inspiration - Part 18: Matt Granger

compagnon der Inspiration - Teil 18: Matt Granger

Matt is a legend in the YouTube photography community. If you want to learn about new techniques and equipment, Matt's channel is probably the best place to go. Although Matt is an internationally sought-after tutor, teacher, tester, photographer and artist, he took the time to meet us for an interview. We are delighted to welcome the newest member of the compagnon Ambassador team: Matt Granger

compagnon: Many years ago, if you wanted to learn about photography on YouTube, you could subscribe to the channel of 'That Nikon Guy' and be well supplied with a wide range of content. How did you decide to go down this path and share your knowledge on YouTube? What do you think has changed since then, almost a decade ago?

Matt Granger: "Has it been that long? Wow! *laughs* First, the [account] name - I looked at my gear and saw a lot of Nikon logos. I went straight for the name when I opened the account. I filmed my first video and uploaded it, thinking that maybe some Nikon users would follow me. The actual impulse for the channel was a bit naive. I had been looking for a camera bag online and saw a review about it. I thought to myself: "Ha! Someone has made a video about a bag. I'll do the same when mine arrives."
That first video is still on my channel... Of course, the quality of the products I use and probably also the quality of my videos has steadily improved since then. And what else has changed? A lot. I now live in New York, I spend half the year traveling, I collaborate with nice, creative people and my camera bags are now the most stylish and high-quality ones there are."

compagnon: Some of your viewers might not realize that you are actually Australian and not American. You've also spent a lot of time in Asia. Now New York City is your adopted home, how did that come about? Unless a direct assignment calls for you, how do you decide where your travels take you next?

Matt Granger: *laughs* "Oh really? Then those followers must be watching my videos without sound. Most people quickly recognize that I'm Australian. But I chose New York because, well... it's New York. I love this city. There's no excuse for being bored or unmotivated here. There's so much energy and so many opportunities. It's much harder to think about downtime/leisure time in New York.
There are usually several factors that determine where I go next: I always have bumblebees in my butt when it comes to traveling, I love it. Well, at least I love being in a new place. The journey itself usually gives me less pleasure. Ideally, I'm drawn to a place that I really want to discover, where I can fulfill client assignments or where I can do some exploration and research for future photo tours. And it usually works out that way, because the places I'm drawn to as a photographer are usually also the places where a photo tour is always a good idea. I'm currently exploring and working on Laos, Mongolia and Cuba."

compagnon: That sounds very exciting. Your tours and workshops are also very popular. Do you ever get the feeling that you are teaching more than you are able to press the shutter button yourself? Do you worry about your own style or do you even miss being able to be creative with the camera yourself more often? Does creative work still work for you the way it did when you first started out?

Matt Granger: Very good question, everyone in this field faces this difficulty when they want to make the step from passion or hobby to profession. At some point, the customer's needs and wishes become more important than your own. My participants & guests are also my first priority on my tours. I spend my time making sure that they get the shots they want, that everything runs smoothly and that any inevitable problems are carefully resolved. If I have time to photograph something myself, then I'm happy about that, but it's not my actual goal on these trips. It is therefore true that my best shots come from the first exploratory trips to the country in question. I have more time to take a few shots for myself. As for my style and creativity, of course it's more difficult now, I have to keep extra time free to take photos for myself, alongside YouTube, clients and promotion. I also work on projects related to my personal passion, of which I allow myself a few shoots every month.

compagnon: Your community has seen you active in almost every genre of photography, from sports, portraits, landscape, wildlife and much more. You often combine these excursions with recommended gear for the purpose and test the pieces along the way. Considering the limited time you can devote to your own photography, we'd love to know which photo shoots you particularly enjoy.

Matt Granger: I would have two answers to this question. First and foremost, I regularly work on my nude photography. Of course, social media doesn't allow me to share these results with the community in a meaningful way. I'm also currently working on two new books and an exhibition in New York. I'm also actually a bit of an introvert, I need private quiet time for myself to recharge my batteries. I really enjoy walking alone in a new area (preferably a city). I photograph scenes, people or buildings that inspire me.

compagnon: One could estimate that you have tested and reviewed at least half of all the cameras and lenses that have come onto the market in the last 10 years. In the beginning you seemed to be closely associated with Nikon. Is your favorite camera today, whether for a professional job or your personal leisure time, still a Nikon? Is it easy for you to still be enthusiastic about new equipment?

Matt Granger: I actually started out with Kodak *laughs*. Hardly anyone knows that. They were instant cameras from my grandmother. Then I learned more about photography on my dad's Olympus SLR. My first real camera was a Yashica SLR. When the digitalization of cameras followed, I had a few Olympus DSLRs before I switched to Nikon. Today I still shoot primarily with Nikon. But I still have Sony cameras in my arsenal, I still love using my Hasselblad 503CW and I also have a digital Hasselblad X1D to shoot for me.
As for enthusiasm - I'm honestly still a fan of technology. My nickname growing up was 'Inspector Gadget' because I always had to have the latest cell phone, camera or whatever. Even though I now have a clearer and more enlightened view of the whole thing and can gauge the reaction of the community, I still get excited about getting to know new parts and trying out new features.

compagnon: With this amount of impressive knowledge about technology and equipment, your camera bag undoubtedly contains exquisite material, no matter what you're shooting for. We'd love to know if there's an unusual item in your camera bag that not everyone usually carries. Be it for practical or sentimental reasons.

Matt Granger: I only have one boring answer here: no. I pack my bag specifically for the day or a particular trip and pack what I absolutely need. What I do stash in every bag, however, are business cards, because I never have enough of them in my wallet.

compagnon: While we're on the subject of business cards and business relationships: Your name has become synonymous with an institution in the creative industry. Are there nevertheless other photographers or creative artists who inspire you and whose work you admire and/or particularly appreciate?

Matt Granger: Of course. There are so many! Creative photographers, filmmakers, storytellers, strategic business trainers or even my students and course participants inspire me. The last point may seem a little surprising, but when I see my students, either at an in-person workshop, grasping and applying the lesson, taking it to the next level, or when I see an online student's work evolve and improve, it's incredibly inspiring. That's probably the best part of my job. I'm usually surrounded by creative, dynamic people and that motivates me a lot.

compagnon: This ultimately confirms that you are made to teach and guide your students and help them to the next level. You have chosen the field of photography for this, which is one of the things that led you to meet with us today. We appreciate you taking the time for this interview. Thank you very much. We wish you every success with your upcoming projects and plans. As you always seem to be very happy traveling and working with your compagnon products, we are also happy to have you join our Ambassdor team. All the best, Matt.

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