As someone who prefers to be behind the camera rather than in the spotlight, the thought of a photoshoot can be harrowing (unless it's with Jessica Leibowitz that is).
What to wear, how to stand, how to flip my hair. How will I be perceived?? But what if a photoshoot wasn't at all about what you were wearing, how the lighting was, but instead about expressing your soul in plain black and white?
After stumbling upon a photoshoot of the unofficial Mayor of Boston, Christine Liu I was enthralled to find out who the photographer was. Christine said I must talk to Matt Demers, about women, body image, and beauty, so I reached out to him. He was nice enough to take some time out of his busy day to meet me at Eastern Standard and talk about The Pearl Photoseries, and find out a little bit more about this man behind the lens. A man of many coats, he has been a bartender, personal trainer, social worker/therapist, food photography, and wine purveyor, allowing him to see a whole slice of the world. 4 years ago, in a state of fever he came across the Louis Brooks photo of a young flapper's sillouette holding a strand of pearls. "In a delerium I thought, 'I could do this.' Its a cool pose, striking contrast and so artisitic. I know many powerful women in my life, I want to capture them like this."
the original inspiration
While it started with just an artistic vision, he says the project has transformed into something else entirely, something greater than he could have ever imagined. The photos are breathtaking, and exude such beauty, confidence, and expression in a high contrast black and white. Christine used the word "therapeautic" to describe her session.His models have ranged from his mother, 2 year old twins, yogi friend, neighbor, LUPEC ladies,friends from highschool (captured at a 10 year reunion) strong women in his life-150 of them with still a few more to go.
There is a freedom of movement in the photos, a sort of liberation. All the women wear black against the black backdrop, so weight, body shape, fat, thin, wrinkles, spots all disappear. You don't see any imperfections, you just see expression, beauty, and a strand of 100 pearls. He insists that the creativity comes from his models, and emotions can be stripped down in these two hour sessions. It's not about you being glamorous or superficial, it's about you being part of vision.
I find people like Matt inspirational. Not only does he showcase the powerful, strong women, but he highlights the opposite of what magazines do now, embracing real beauty and real women. He is showing true beauty and strength, raw, real, and imperfectly perfect women. We hope to see a big gallery gala soon!
What is beauty to you?