Matthew Corcoran and His Camera

He wouldn't be the first, second, or even third person to call himself an artist but Matthew Corcoran is one hell of a talented Photographer//Luthier//Musician//Creative. We spent the morning talking about what he is working on and before we knew it, he turned his bathroom into a darkroom and he made a camera out of a mini cereal box (the kind mom would never buy for you)!

You experiment a lot with different cameras and types of film, why is that?

I think really good art is intentional--for sure--but I tend to experiment a lot because my intention is to have it come out not the way I expected. I think it is really hard to not do something that someone else has already done before. And I always think I can find something new and interesting when I am experimenting.

Do you see things like cereal boxes and other objects and just think, how can I make a camera out of this?

A little bit! When I was in visual arts class in college, it was my first experience with a camera obscura. My teacher made the entire classroom a camera. I was thrilled. Here's the deal, the reason I am drawn to photography is because it is the combination of art and science.  It's the reason I have kept with film and especially Polaroid because you get to see an image appear right in front of you.

Have you found yourself creating more often since moving to MPLS one year ago and not continuing as a luthier where you were working with your hands every day?

Oh, yeah. That's a huge part of it. In general, I just like making things. I like making Halloween costumes or making cameras or making other stuff. I get it from my dad.  He makes a lot of things. Since I stopped working with my hands in my day job, I fulfill that creativity in a different way–and I kind of like it more!  Now that I sit at a desk for the most part of my week, that environment actually drives me to be more creative outside of the office. While I had–what some consider an artistic job–it is a 300 year old profession with not a whole lot of room for experimenting.  And the perfectionist nature of that field has ruined me a bit when trying to experiment or try something new. 

Are there certain times that you feel more creative? Do you have moods where you feel like you need to create something or you can't focus on anything?

It's sort of like, you know how your brain is more creative right before sleep? It's like that. I can't sleep unless I made something that day.  It doesn't even have to be anything significant, I just want to make something. You kind of have to get it out of you before moving on to the next thing. It becomes investigative. I have to figure out a way to make it work; how do I fit the square peg into the round hole? That goes for my photography, stop motion videos, etc. 

What do you see as a challenge or frustration when creating?

There are a few tricks I stick with when creating but most ideas are fleeting.  I feel like that is the same with a lot of creative people. Isn't it the worst when you have an exciting idea for a project and you do all of this work for it but by the time it is complete you have so many better ideas that you would rather be focusing on? And that's such a cliché for an artist's life–of never being satisfied–but there is truth to that.


Matthew made a stop motion for us! 

Connect and collaborate with Matthew on his new website!

See his photographs and stop motion videos on Instagram: matthewandhiscamera

Photographs and interview created by KP