On his YouTube channel, Jordan Matter has given photography a renewed sense of immediacy: in his “10 Minute Photo Challenge” videos, his goal is to garner as many photographs as he can of his models—mainly dancers and acrobats—performing in public places. During his visit to Monaco, where a retrospective of his photographs is being held at the Kamil Art Gallery, he orchestrated yet another 10-minute sequence, this time mixing circus arts with ballet. Needless to say, the artist was hugely inspired by his trip to the Rock! Interview.
How did you come up with the idea for this particular style of photography, with dancers performing in the streets or in public places?
Jordan Matter: I was doing a portrait of a dancer and he mentioned dance photography. I’d never done it before, so I took a picture of him and thought it was beautiful! And then I started wondering: what sort of dance photography have I never seen before? And I realized I've never seen everyday life being recreated through dance. So, he started posing for me, as did his friends. I had a desire to recreate everyday life and make it magical. Celebrating the small moments of the every day.
What is the ideal spot for a photo shoot?
J.M: I like to tell stories with my photos. So my ideal spot is not a beautiful beach at sunrise, but a street with lots of tourists running in and out of stores. So much fun!
How do you prepare yourself for a 10 Minute Challenge?
J.M: I do yoga (laughs). Usually, on location, I look around to see if I have any ideas and to get a sense of what feels right. I don’t like to plan it out too much. I like to be spontaneous. When the 10 minutes begin, I feel a little stressed, because I know I want to get a lot of material, and now it’s become a thing and there’s this expectation! Once you set the bar high, you have to match it over and over again. Fortunately, I always work with incredible performers who’re able to do a lot of my work for me.
Do you give any instructions or do you just let their imaginations run wild?
J.M: Both. Usually they prefer it when I give them some instructions, because I do this a lot and this is often their first time. The speed of it takes them by surprise! So I throw out ideas, but sometimes they come up with a better idea and that’s always really exciting!
5 things you should know about Jordan Matter
Author of the Dancers Among Us and Born To Dance photography books
Creator of the “10 Minute Photo Challenge” concept
3 million fans on social media
200 million views on YouTube
Countless exhibitions, including one at the Kamil Art Gallery in Monaco
Why did you choose Monaco as a setting?
J.M: I like to explore new places. There is a lot of beauty here, and there are a lot of stories to tell. I like to give my audience environments they haven’t seen before. I like to show people things they haven’t yet seen. My aim is to capture the very best of Monaco, like going to the palace. There are a lot of really gorgeous places in Monaco, it’s exciting! Also I like to do these videos, and as I haven't seen much of it myself, my own reaction to it is unique, too.
If Monaco were a color, which one would it be and why?
J.M: It’s obvious: red (laughs). Red is passionate and fiery and exciting, and I think that's what Monaco is. It’s an exciting, thrilling place. When I arrived at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, my mouth just dropped open. I was like, “Wow, this is stunning!” I almost don’t want to work, I want to sit on the balcony of my room and write, like, a memoir! The view from my gorgeous room was very inspiring, truly extraordinary.
What was your favorite moment from the Kamil Gallery exhibition?
J.M: When I first arrived and saw all the photographs. That was very exciting, because they did a fantastic job; the prints were gorgeous and all beautifully hung, it really was very exciting for me!
Make It Matter at the Kamil Art Gallery
The Gallery on Avenue Princesse Grace is hosting a retrospective exhibition of Jordan Matter's work until March 8. Under the patronage of H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco, the event has been organized in association with Fight Aids Monaco, which finances initiatives focused on caring for people with HIV.