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Meet Joseph Matthew Barber of Joseph Barber Photography in Newport Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joseph Matthew Barber.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Joseph Matthew. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It was during a trip to visit a good friend in Portland, Oregon in 2009 when I first realized I wanted to be a photographer. I had never experienced a proper Autumn in all its glory, especially having grown up in Southern California where perpetual blue skies and palm trees make it hard to differentiate the 4 seasons apart. I knew the Portland trip was going to be special and vibrant, and I wanted to bring those colors back home with me. I could never have foreseen how that trip would be the dawn of a romantic journey with my camera.

I initially was on a different career path with a degree in Finance and then shortly after graduating, going on to study theology which eventually brought me to live in New England and then England (the Olde one) for two years. I had the opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life and cultures throughout the Western world and to see each person as having a unique history and story. During these formative years in my photography, my camera and I traveled through Europe, throughout the UK, and across the United States and all the way up the West Coast multiple times, documenting the beauty of life and nature and bringing those sites and moments to be shared with the world via my images.

These experiences and journeys further inspired and pushed me to think outside the normal bounds of photography – allowing me to capture experiences that were enlightening, intriguing and at times, polarizing. During my time in England, I had the opportunity to photograph a few friends’ weddings, including one which was at a 300-year-old mansion outside of London. Although I had never photographed a wedding before, I had the strong desire to, and these couples had the complete confidence in me to document the most special day in their lives. Thank God, everything went well. They loved the photos, and I fell in love with wedding photography because of these opportunities. This was my first initial realization with how wedding photography resonated with my creativity and my need to give something timeless and beautiful to the world. These experiences were extremely rewarding and stimulated me to take my photography in the direction of a full-time career. After returning to California, I was attracted more and more by the creative outlet that photography offered me and the never ending inward pursuit to accomplish new vistas with this art form.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road. And I believe I am still paving that road and to some extent will always be exploring new roads.

Much of the struggles are inward and find their origin in my psyche, but there is also the outward struggles that relate to learning the business side of photography and making money to survive in order to keep doing photography professionally.

The inward struggles mainly relate to self-doubt and a continual searching for uniqueness with my creativity. I remember many times being crippled by the self-doubts and being overwhelmed by my lack of progress or creativity when I would become introspective. These demons would intensify even more when I look outward and compare my work to photographers on social media with thousands and millions of followers. It seemed and still seems impossible to become a world famous Instagram follower, but that, I realized, is not my goal. I actually deleted my Instagram at one time and although I am back on it, I don’t let it regulate my self-worth regarding my photography. I won’t say it doesn’t affect me at all, but I am learning to be happiest when I am simply just happy with my own photos. I specifically have a personal Instagram account where I post only what I care to post and I give no attention to followers. Most of these images are with my iPhone and have a darker, minimal, and abstract style (@JosephMatthew2.o) which is polar of what you find with my professional work.

Outward struggles with learning to market myself and figuring out how to reach new clients is something I wish I didn’t have to do (even though I have a degree in Business). It does take away from the artistry side of photography which is where I truly wish I could spend all of my time. Maybe there is a magic button or certain point where I can put this all on autopilot or where I can be 100% purely an artist.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I actually have two websites.

One is for my wedding and portraits

and the other is for my Landscape and Real Estate work

My Style with weddings is candid, intimate, vibrant, and natural.

I let the wedding day unfold before my eyes with minimal obtrusion on my behalf. I anticipate and remain keen of the people and the emotions flowing around me as I stealthily compose and adjust my camera dials to freeze the essence of the intimate moments I see before me in the form of an image. These images become portals that transports the viewer back again and again to the time and emotion where it transpired. In addition to my love for candid photography, vibrant colors, expansive landscapes, and luminous natural light attract my eye. The bride and groom portraits which I love to take are somewhat posed, but in a way which keeps things natural and authentic. This time with the couple also gives me the chance to express my artistic vision for them using my landscape and long exposure techniques.

I also shoot 35mm film throughout the wedding day along with the majority of the images being captured digitally on my Sony cameras. I prefer to use black and white 35mm films with my Pentax. I was inspired by Joe Buissink to start shooting a film on the wedding day. He is one of my favorite photographers and is incredibly passionate and clear in his approach to photography. Film is amazing, it brings me into another state of mind which sees in black and white tones and which is more deliberate in what I am previsualizing for each exposure. I treat each exposure as if it was going to be printed and displayed permanently on my wall (or their wall).

What were you like growing up?
I was pretty shy growing up (and still am in new situations), but I have come a long way to where many people would find that hard to believe. I used to go hide myself in big moving boxes in our backyard where I would escape and just sit and think and read. Now that box is probably my room or my car.

I was always very involved in sports like baseball and then in high school, I got into skateboarding and surfing which I still do almost everyday. Surfing is a big part of my life still.

I excelled in school, especially in math and science. I even received the Physics award in high school. I think my fascination with Physics and Science still continues today in my photography when I incorporate landscape and the Milky Way into my compositions.

Astrophotography is another one of my photographic subgenre hobbies.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Joseph Barber Photography

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