Becca Mathias: An Interview
Flowers. There’s a lot of them by now. And you may be thinking: hey, I’m cramped up in this cubicle without a window anywhere. I need some Mother Nature. Right now. So, you go. Drive, walk—or sprint even—to your nearest arboretum and indulge in the flora and scents of the season. But then, you hear it, the subtle, yet mechanic, click of a Canon DSLR somewhere in your general vicinity. You scour far and wide and see another human equally as eager to see the flowers, but knows how to get all the right angles.
Josh Dale: Hello, Becca. Thanks for allowing me to interview you! Don’t let me get in the way of your next photo spread, though. Why not tell everyone a bit about yourself?
Becca Mathias: Hey, Josh! I’m so excited, thank you! Well, hello there internet, I’m Becca Mathias and I’m a photographer based in Northern Delaware. I primarily specialize in portrait and wedding photography, but I’m passionate about food, live music, and nature photography as well. I’m a volunteer photographer for Longwood Gardens and I joke that I practically live there… so if you ever see me around, say hi! Wow… talking about yourself is hard (laughs).
JD: Luckily, there isn’t a studio mic or anything. Like wuth those little screens and such. So, you’re the lady behind the lens. How long have you been partaking in photography? Do you have any formal training? Self-taught?
BM: Growing up I always had a disposable camera. I’d take photos of anything and everything. I always joke that my first portrait session was of my American Girl doll placed around my backyard. I took a photography class in high school and thought my “macro” photos of my eyeball and black & white photos of my computer keyboard were the most impressive. Yikes! I went to Wilmington University for photography and graphic design. That’s when I actually learned how use a camera correctly. It wasn’t until after I graduated college in 2015 that I really found my own “eye” for photography. You can learn how to use a camera, but you can’t teach someone how to see. It’s really cool to see how much my work has improved over the last seven years.
JD: Alright, fair point. I don’t see myself as anything better than an iPhone photographer, but I do know lighting is paramount. What are some techniques, in layman’s terms, that you utilize?
BM: You’re absolutely correct, lighting is important! I personally love natural light. I enjoy the bright & airy style of photography. You’ll notice that a majority of my work is bright, clean, and colorful. I also enjoy shooting through/around objects. If you take a look at any of my Longwood Gardens work, you’ll see that I like to frame flowers with other flowers to give a soft feel around the corners of the photo.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with iPhone photography! It’s a great tool to develop your eye for photography, without having to understand ISO, shutter speed, and aperture which can get overwhelming when you’re just starting out.
JD: Whew! And I thought engineering jargon was too much. You make food look so good (laughs) especially at that Moroccan Tea Party. What do you consider your favorite subject to photograph? Also, were the confections super delicious?
BM: Oh boy, food photography is quickly become my favorite subject. Taking photos and eating good food? Those are my two favorite things combined! Natural window light is the key to good food photos. Recently I’ve been networking to get more opportunities in the food photography industry. I’m hoping it’s something I pursue more seriously.
I’m also extremely passionate about music photography, which stems from my love for listening to music and discovering new artists. Combining the two is a dream of mine. I’m always attending shows and the opportunities where I’m able to photograph a show are the best. I photographed Firefly Music Festival last summer and I’m still convinced that was a crazy dream. I love capturing artists emotions while on stage and then turning around to see how the crowd is reacting. It’s a beautiful moment to witness closely.
JD: When photographing people, do you feel the synergy of the moment? As in, do you feel the clients act or look differently when behind the camera?
BM: Photographing people is challenging. You have to earn their trust and make them feel extremely comfortable. Being in front of a camera is nerve wracking (laughs) which is why I stay behind the camera. I believe in capturing real, authentic moments. Feeling silly? Express it! I want the capture the real you. At weddings I try to be a fly on the wall, except for the formal photos which are more staged. I’ve been told numerous times from wedding clients that they didn’t even realize I was there most of the wedding… which is my goal!
JD: Don’t flies see in like sets of 8 or something? I think we’re better off with just two! That sounds impressive though. I was at a wedding in Virginia last summer and the photographer was all over the place! I’m sure You mentioned before that you frequent Kennett Square, PA. As an artist in your own right, how do you see the community there? Is it budding? Acceptive of different creatives?
BM: It’s funny, I drove through Kennett Square to get to Longwood Gardens for years before one day I finally decided to park and walk around the area. I can’t believe it took me so long to check it out! There’s great coffee at Philter, good local beer at Kennett Brewing Company, and tons of awesome small businesses such as WorKS. I’ve met a lot of friendly creatives in that area that I keep in touch with regularly, ranging from chocolate experts to writers to artists and photographers. I love surrounding myself with other creatives.
JD: That’s great to hear. I’ll have to make it out there sometime soon. Ever hear of East Coast Creative Collective (ECCC)? They are based out of Philly/South Jersey.
BM: I have not! But I do love finding local photography groups. Meeting and connecting with people is so important in the photography industry.
JD: I highly recommend checking them out. Could be right up your alley. Ok, so, total throwaway question: is a picture really worth 1000 words? Like, is it 1000 in one collective viewing or 1000 lifetime words? Do you change the frame every 1000 miles or?
BM: The cool thing about photography is that you can capture a moment and in that moment it could mean one thing, but later down the road it can have a totally different meaning. Everyone sees a photo differently and can apply their own meaning to it. That’s what’s so interesting about art.
JD: I see you have adopted two lovely kitties…I must know their names and horoscopes.
BM: Yes! Those cute, little, plant-eating torties. They’re named Sage + Basil and I adopted them last September from a kitty cafe/rescue in Kennett Square. They were born June 13th, four days before my birthday, so we’re all Geminis. I already hear a collective sigh from the audience… us Geminis have a bad rep.
JD: I guess I’m a novice at all this. I know I’m a Cancer and that I’m probably too sappy for my own good…But anyways, thanks again for the interview. It was a lot of fun. If I could close out with one last question, and this is for my own personal satisfaction: is fisheye lens even a thing anymore? I kinda want to make a mid-90’s style band photo (if I ever end up in a band again that is).
BM: Thank you so much for thinking I’m even remotely interesting enough to deserve an interview (laughs). It’s been fun answering these questions. If any of your readers have any photography questions, they’re more than welcome to contact me through my website or Instagram! (below)
I personally never owned a fisheye lens, but they’re fun. There’s really no rules in photography. Do your own thing and go for it!