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Matt Banahan - Creating Art from Everyday Moments

This article appeared in the January Issue of Up and Away Magazine It is reprinted here with permission. Click here to see the original version: Up and Away.

A creative journey that started as a visual journal of his travels has taken Matt Banahan into the creative world of Fine Art Photography.  It is a journey that started with a photography class on a semester abroad in Queensland, Australia and led him to the art nurturing community in Delray Beach, Florida.

How it all Began

Coming from a family that loves travel, Matt cut his “photographic teeth” on travel images. He craves new and unique experiences, as many travelers do. This craving drives his desire to grow and experience new aspects of photography. It led him to work in fashion, surf, and lifestyle photography in Southern California. 

Matt is cerebral about this work. His time in lifestyle and fashion photography allowed him to develop his style based on the inspiration of the great fashion photographers Helmet Newton and Peter Lindberg. Slower paced lifestyle and fashion photography provides a balance to the spontaneity of travel photography.

Finding the Right Camera

Starting as many photographers do with a inexpensive (in the camera world) Canon, Matt transitioned to the Sony camera when he began shooting more action/surf photography. He then transition to the German developed and manufactured, Leica Camera.  Attracted to the overall design, he feels the Leica camera is “significantly unique and unmatched.” 

This camera allows the photographer to shoot in full manual.  Matt enjoys the fact it allow that it “forced me to slow down how I shoot and compose an image. Going from fast shooting with the Sony to the slower process of the Leica provided a new perspective for me.” He describes it as reminiscent of shooting with film but in a digital format.”

Developing His Style

Matt’s photographs have an art feel to them, developed by trial and error. Through his photo processing and camera choice, he adds a touch of blurriness and muted color to his images. Whether processing black and white or with a touch of sepia, his photographs have an “old Dutch masters” feel to them. He slightly underexposures his work which adds to his signature moodiness to his images.

Evoking emotion is a main goal for Matt when shooting and processing his work. You can feel the delight of diving into the crisp Caribbean Sea or the erotic voyeurism of catching a woman in a private moment, through his photography.  He captures the everyday moments that may go unnoticed and adds a level of emotion to them through photo processing.

Capturing Everyday Moments

 He looks to highlight what is unique in an everyday scene or occurrence or a random moment in a public place. His goal is to take an image of everyday life, draw the viewer in and leave something of his image etched into their brain.

Some of the lessons Matt has learned on his photographic journey is to shoot what your heart tells you, not what is fashionable or expected. Don’t  worry about the rules of photography, shoot what your eye tells you is an interesting image. 

For him, the hardest thing to know is when the processing is complete, and the image is ready to show.  Also, how to tell an engaging story through the presentation of his photographs. Matt’s mindfulness about his work is apparent as you engage and absorb his images.

You can find more of his images at or for purchase at

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