Matt Lingo interviewed on Bikeminimalism.
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You’re without doubt the most renown photographer covering the ever-diversifying facets of fixed gear culture. Who is Matt Lingo, where do you come from and how did you get involved with bike photography?
I’m from San Diego, California. I always kind of took pictures since my dad bought a 2 megapixel Fuji point and shoot when I was in 7th grade, but started taking it more serious after highschool. While in college taking photo classes, my roommates started getting into riding fixed gears so they talked me into going on rides with them where I’d bring my camera and post the pictures up on sdfixed.com. Patrick at Pedal Consumption found them and started reposting them, and it all went down hill from there.
In school I was really into super dense, urban landscapes and shooting street photography. I saw cycling as a way for people to bypass the stress, chaos, and sort of disillusionment people express in those places. They made cities look like playgrounds, so I began photographing cyclists in traffic similar to how I shot street. Your style has been described as strongly portraying, very graphic — almost painting-like. What in your opinion constitutes to a great bike or cycling photograph? How do you know you’ve succeeded particularly well?
A good photograph is born from a photographer’s deep fascination with the subject matter. The more interested the photographer is in what’s happening in the picture, the more interesting the picture. People that know their subject matter even before they pick up a camera make good pictures, while people that pick up a camera first end up shooting sunsets, close ups of flowers, and pretty girls for flickr. Every single photographer, rider, filmmaker, manufacturer and blogger Bikeminimalism has talked to in the past namedrops Matt Lingo as one of the biggest influencers on the… scene. Who are your personal influences and favorites — and why?
I love the way Benji Wagner shoots adventures, and I’m really into Tim Barber’s work. Even though I’ll be in the same situations as Edwin Delarosa also with a camera, I’m always blown away with what he pays attention to in his pictures that I miss. His work with Animal’s last look book was great. Recently I’ve been checking out the work of a photographer I met named Tony Harmer. The scene has quickly grown to an industry, with serious sponsors investing on talented riders. Do you think the FGFS scene has the same potential as we’ve seen with skateboarding and snowboarding in the past? Where do you think it’s all going, and is it the right direction?
A lot of heavy hitters and key players who have potential to blow it up have expressed interest and are really paying attention to what’s been going on, but are reluctant to jump in on it’s current state. These coming years are going to be key in deciding which direction this goes in. Any exciting new talent, new businesses or interesting events bubbling under? Who should we look out for in the future?
I’m betting Red Bull Ride + Style is going to be insane again this year, Woodward West is currently working on doing a fixed gear weekend that registration should open for soon. There’s a few other things, but nothing certain enough for me to mention. What’s next for Matt Lingo? Any interesting projects in the pipeline?
DC Shoes recently hired me as the team manager for their BMX team, so I plan to be focusing heavily on my work with them. I’m continuing on with my work as SE Bikes fixed gear team manager with a few projects we have in the works, and right now as of writing this I’m currently on the road with their BMX team shooting their new catalog at Woodward West as well as other parts of Southern California. I’m also working on shooting a COG article down in Tijuana Mexico with local riders there. Do you ever get on a bike yourself? What is your weapon of choice and why?
I’ve been riding the same Fuji Obey since 2008, but haven’t had the time to ride it as much lately as I’d like. And finally, our standard killer: Three items for the ultimate desert island gig for Matt Lingo?
– a .22 rifle,
– solar powered fuji x1 pro
– lots and lots of toilet paper