Photographer Spotlight Matt Armendariz

 In Photographer Spotlight
© Matt Armendariz

Client Matt Armendariz shares the experience of finding his calling of professional photography and eventually upgrading to the Phase One system. Matt is now shooting with the Phase One IQ180 and DF+ system. Check out more of Matt’s work through his website and blog. Matt’s photo clients includeTarget, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Coca Cola, In N Out, Pom Wonderful, Coastal Living Magazine, Time Magazine, Food + Wine, and various cookbooks.

In His Own Words

You might say that I came into photography through an accidental backdoor. I began my career as a graphic designer turned art and creative director for the largest natural foods retailer, Whole Foods Market, before leaving and pursuing the larger world of natural and specialty foods. My background in design and marketing was rewarding like no other, but it was the photo shoots I was producing that really drew me in. I realized that being on set of a commercial shoot crystalized and supported all the things I love: great food, people, technology, art, design and the creative process. Pretty soon I found myself wanting to do nothing else but spend time in studios, and it was at that moment a little lightbulb went off in my head: If I was a self-taught designer and creative director, couldn’t I take that passion and apply it to a camera? It wouldn’t be easy, but I was game.

I felt I already had a strong foundation of photography’s other principles like storytelling, color, proportion, negative and positive space, theory and application. It was the pesky camera details that alluded me, so I spent the next few years absorbing and learning as much as I could about the technical aspects of photography. Any camera was fine for learning, so long as it did not leave my hands. I photographed anything and everything, much to the annoyance of those around me. And somewhere along the way, something clicked and I began to understand the mechanics of what makes an image. Pretty soon my own photographs snuck their way into my design work, and I also began missing much more work to accept freelance photography gigs. Realizing a difficult choice would have to be made eventually, I left my corporate job to become a full-time photographer in 2010. I haven’t looked back since!

Around the same I began working on freelance photo gigs, I also started a food blog called Mattbites. I credit the blog with the opportunities that began to present themselves, as I was not only able to share images but also stores about food, my life, and my path. Social media was new and I adopted it with open arms.

It was through social media that Phase One found me, and having been a Capture One user for years I couldn’t have been more excited. While I knew the software well, the cameras were a whole other story; I had only shot medium format a few times a year when I used a rented system for big advertising gigs. When the folks at Phase One asked if I’d be interested in giving the entire system a try for a few weeks I jumped at the chance, and it was at that moment in time that my love for medium format, high resolution, and a gorgeous sensor officially went into overdrive.

I joke that being lent a system like that is a ploy to get photographers to drool enough to invest in their systems themselves. And really, how could you not? The images I began to shoot and process and deliver were of the utmost quality, and having to return the system back to the fine folks in Denmark left a hole in my heart. Realizing this was an unacceptable situation, I began to research what it would take to own it myself. In what is nothing short of divine intervention, Capture Integration opened a west coast office, hiring a friend and colleague of mine named Ryan Galloway. I’ve worked with Ryan for years on shoots, and when he told me he would be joining Capture Integration I knew I’d be in great hands. It was all meant to be.

As photographers we work hard. We have an extremely close and reliant relationship with gear, and forking over a small fortune for a camera is never to be taken lightly. I wanted to work with a group that understood this, a company that offered personal care, knowledge, service and history, and all those things I’ve found in Capture Integration. It only took a little bit of research to realize that these were the people I was meant to work with, especially considering their history in selling and serving Phase One systems. From beginning to end Capture Integration made it a delight.

And in a twist of not-so-happy events, only a few weeks after delivery of my system, Murphy’s Law kicked in full force and caused an accident to my brand new camera. After seeing my life flash before my eyes, it was Ryan Galloway and Capture Integration who had me back up and running in no time at all, staying in constant communication with me during servicing and making sure I was taken care of. I really can’t imagine any other company doing that.Images © Matt Armendariz

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