Matthew David Parker is an acclaimed New York, New York photographer who has a genuine appreciation for beauty. Beauty has been a motivating factor for him throughout his entire career. New York City is something that’s extremely close to Parker’s heart. That’s why it’s a driving force behind his photography.
What exactly does the word “photography” mean to you?
That’s a great question. Photography is about a whole lot more than just taking pictures. It covers a lot of territory. Yes, it’s about getting images. It’s also about capturing the hidden beauty in things, though. Beauty is everywhere in this world. The interesting thing, however, is that it’s not always obvious or immediate. You sometimes have to do a little work to find it. I’m perfectly happy to do that work, too. You can extract a lot of beauty out of things that may initially feel and look “ugly.” I like to spend a lot of time capturing images that don’t necessarily look conventionally attractive. I find it rewarding and satisfying to be able to uncover things that are more off-beat and quirky.
Does New York City affect your approach to photography in any way?
It most certainly does. New York City is in many ways the reason I want to be a professional photographer. It’s in many ways my biggest motivating factor. It may seem a bit silly to say that about a city but it’s 100 percent true. I’d be lying if I said New York City wasn’t a big stimulus. There are just so many things about the Big Apple that excite me. I love the fact that it’s a huge melting pot of sorts. I enjoy walking down the street at any hour of the day and hearing countless languages. I love all of the different styles of clothing people wear in New York City. I feel like New York is a place you can truly be yourself. No other place on the planet encourages individuality the way New York does. It’s unique in that sense. When I’m walking around the city, I honestly feel like the sky is the limit. I feel like no one else can stop me from achieving all the things I want. It’s an amazing feeling. I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I’ve encountered countless New Yorkers who share my exact emotions. I’ve met countless visitors who understand me as well.
Do you ever take pictures in your spare time?
Photography is basically my life. When I’m not working, I’m still working. Do you know what I mean? I never turn my photography mind off. If I’m enjoying a rare day-off in New York City, I’m still constantly on the lookout for potential photography subjects. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tree, a historic building or a large group of people hanging out in the middle of Times Square. I’m never not in “photography mode.” I wouldn’t have it any other way, either. What’s life without photography?