July Member of the Month

Matthew Roharik

by P. Berberian July 5, 2017

Matthew Roharik

Matthew Roharik is a Los Angeles-based advertising and editorial photographer creating imagery for brands such as The Limited, MTV, Chase, Nationwide Insurance, Kraft, Wendy’s, Dupont, Learjet, GM, and Merck.

His work has recently appeared in publications including Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmo, People, InTouch, Seventeen, Women’s Health, Life & Style, Woman’s World, First for Women, Entertainment Weekly, Adweek, and Communication Arts

PB: What made you first decide you were going to be a photographer?

MR: My love affair began at age ten when l received a 110 camera for my birthday. I soon after upgraded to my dad’s 35mm Nikon FG. After graduating with a BFA in painting and drawing, I identified commercial photography as a professional career goal and put all my energy into shooting film with a 4×5 camera and building a portfolio.

PB: Is there a photograph you loved as a kid that pushed you into being a photographer?

MR: I wanted to be like my father after witnessing his passion for his new found hobby of photography. I would look at his Popular Photography magazines and see all those provocative photos and thought wow this is so cool, a professional photographer must have the best life ever! I recall a humid evening in the Ohio country with Dad hunched over a flimsy silver tripod looking through the open garage door, into a stormy dusk. He was trying to time his shutter to capture lighting strikes. When we got the slide film back I was astonished to see one image in which the lighting tore across the sky in a magnificent pitch fork design. We examined the slide through a magnified back-lit viewer and at that moment I realized the power and allure of freezing time.

PB: What do you primarily photograph?

MR: This past year has been people and still life.  I find it refreshing to work in two separate disciplines. I get bored easily so I work on a still life series in studio for a week or so and then change gears and shoot models on location or studio portraits.

PB: Do you do anything before a shoot to prepare yourself?

MR: I prepare mood boards and written concepts to share with the photo shoot participants. Nothing beats a board full to tear sheets for inspiration. I try to work out as many details and possible stresses prior to the shoot, so shooting is less troubleshooting and primarily a creative workflow encouraging spontaneous captures to happen organically.

PB: What is your favorite set up (camera/lens) to shoot with?

MR: I am loving the Sigma Art Lens glass. I pair a 50mm or 85mm with my Nikon D800 on my shoots. That’s all I use at this time. I phased out my zoom lens a few years ago and using the two focal lengths brings a continuity to my work.

PB: Who are your greatest influences in the art world?

MR: I consume and perceive art on the whole as a social contentiousness/collective, including music, 2D art and motion pictures.  We are experiencing a time of such rapid visual evolution it becomes challenging to identify who may be influencing my work or visual vocabulary. There is so much input to filter.

PB: What is your favorite photography quote?

MR: “ The best photographs come about when you take off the lens cap”  Matthew Roharik

PB: Who are your three favorite photographers?

MR: Lucas Samaras and Diane Arbus were my favorites in College.  Mary Ellen Matthews has what I would call my dream job.  She’s the photographer who shoots the bumper images for SNL. I love her range of lighting, color palettes and use of minimal props to tell a story.

PB: What is your favorite photo that you have taken?

MR: I think back to favorite photo shoots rather than individual photos as favorites come and go but many shoots as a whole come to mind. I have had access to people and locations from editorial assignments that I look back with fondness, like shooting massive bomber jets and pilots on a tarmac, space travelers, tigers in swimming pools and models on stormy exotic beaches .