speaker interview: Mattion Grazier

Mattion Grazier will be teaching a session about the history of photography at Inspire Boston.
What do you love most about your job? I'm a visual thinker, so creating images comes naturally to me and being able to do what comes natural to me for a living is amazing! The best part of my day (when I'm shooting) is when I see something really amazing - according to my couples I get "giddy". This always cracks them up and then we get an amazing image of them. If it's an engagement session we usually end up at a pub that evening having a beer. That's pretty cool :)
What do you hate most about your job? The amount of time I have to spend behind the computer. I'm a one-on-one and hands-on kind of person. I can't talk on the internet, it always comes out weird and not how I want. If you want to get to know me let's get together for a game of pool and a beer. I also don't see anyone for several days because I'm in my home office editing and such. Get me out of here! Help!!!!  ;)
Where do you find inspiration? The trust people have in me to create an emotional image of them is my inspiration. When couples choose to hire me they hand themselves over to my creative side. This trust is an enormous honor and source of inspiration for me.
What was your first experience in photography? I loved being the guy with the camera in high school. I took the photos of the weekend ski trips, camping and hiking with my friends. My senior year I took a photography class and that next summer a local business saw some of my portraits and hired me to do some promotional work for them. But it was many years after that before I decided to go pro.
Is there a defining moment in your growth as an artist? Several, and they keep happening! I love it when I discover a new way of seeing and presenting an idea. One of my favorite moments was when I finally understood the zone system so well that I could envision the final print before releasing the shutter. Understanding the zone system allows me to see and use light in such a beautiful way. I encourage all who want to become a photographer to study with black and white film.
Aside from photography, do you have other creative outlets? Mainly wood working. I worked in the construction business for a long time building custom kitchens. I've even built some of the most amazing bars in Boston. I loved doing it because to be creative with it you must first have great skills. But I also enjoy fine art mixed media. I have worked with sculpture in my photography and have plans to continue this work.
If you could go on a trip where would that be and what would you hope to do there? I've always wanted to go to Iceland and see the northern lights. I love the cold!
What advice do you wish you had received (or followed) when you were starting your business? That efficiency rules. Your clients will hire you because they love your work and personality, but efficiency is what will keep them coming back and sending you referrals.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? It was a dead tie between Larry Bird and Steve Martin. OK, I guess that's who I wanted to be:) and I guess that would make me a pretty funny kick-butt basketball player! Or a comedian with some serious hustle! The one real constant was to be self employed and doing what I love. One realization I had this year is that I believe subconsciously I built a business where I can work from home with my wife as a partner. I grew up with my parents working together in an office in our house and never imagined my life being any other way.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I think being able to see baby pigeons would be pretty awesome. Have you ever seen a baby pigeon? Do you know anyone who has?
What do you think of the current state of the wedding industry? There was big influx of folks wanting to be wedding photographers when digital cameras became the norm. This huge influx over-saturated the market and their lack of business knowledge drove prices down. This of course coincided with the start of the economic struggle, so couples became more likely to hire based on price. Now as the wake settles I hear a lot of horror stories from couples about the poor quality of the work because they hired an inexperienced under-priced photographer and the result is that this year when I meet with couples they share their friends' stories and realize the value in hiring the right photographer.
If they made a movie of your life, what would it be about and which actor would you want to play you? I think the focus would be about dealing with the loss of my three good friends. They died young and it dramatically changed my life. I think about them constantly and wish they were still with us. I was never a serious trouble maker, but I wasn't exactly an A student either. Together we partied pretty hard and had a lot of laughs. Their passing made me realize how short and precious life is. Each one had a different reason for their death, and yet their deaths were oddly similar. It drove me to find meaning in my life and go to college when I was 25 to study something I loved - photography. I have photos I took of these friends stashed away in a shoebox and wish I could add more.
What are your pet peeves or interesting things about you that you dislike? I have a tough time reading for long stretches. I tend to read in short spurts and it drives me nuts! I also have to clean the entire kitchen before I can cook a meal. That drives Enna nuts!
Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours. No real habits. But I love bugging the hell out of my two little boys by dancing in front of the tv or pretending to suddenly fall asleep ontop of them. I guess being a bit of a wise ass is my quirky habit. I crank call my mom at her office and mail odd objects to friends with no explanation. Did you know you can mail a 2x4 board? Just address and stamp it!
If you had to describe yourself using three words, they would be… Well, the first three that come to mind are rather innappropiate. LOL!
Last song you listened to?

White Snake "Here I Go Again". I Love the 80's! (that also drives Enna crazy:)