I first noticed the work of Laith Matic several months ago. His gritty style of street photography contrasted well with a series photographs in the back streets of Saudi Arabia. They featured children in the street and shop keepers resting from the days heat. Laith’s work has been featured in the Mobiography ‘Capturing the Moment’ showcase as well as in the debut issuse of the Mobiography iPad Magazine and his image ‘My Uzi Weighs A Ton’ was featured in The App Whisperer – Flickr Group Showcase in May.
Laith is from Birmingham, UK but is currently based in Saudi Arabia where he teaches first year engineering students technical communication and writing. He described himself as an avid gamer and Aston Villa supporter with a penchant for women with nice feet.
I have been intrigued by Laith’s street photography and wanted to find out more about him and his mobile photography work.
How did you discover mobile photography?
My discovery into mobile photography began back in February 2012. I purchased an iPhone and started to take candid shots of things which caught my eye. Sal Famous, a friend of mine from Acetoys EU made a comment on a picture I posted on Facebook. He said I have a good eye and if I could take some pictures of places within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I asked some friends of mine who lived in that particular City if they would take some snaps and send them to me to forward to Sal. After weeks of waiting I decided to make the three-hour journey myself and it all started from then.
What is it that you love about iPhone photography?
I love that with my iPhone everything is at an instant. If I see something that catches my eye I can immediately use my iPhone and click away.
Your photographic work documents gritty street life. What is your approach to shooting street photography and do you have a set process or methodology that you apply to your post production editing?
My approach to street photography is simple: I go out and shoot. If a subject catches my eye I will remain patient until the elements align themselves to me and then I will go into stealth mode and click away. The post editing process is something which i really enjoy, it’s salubrious. I do not have a set post production as such, I like to listen to Roy Hargrove Quintet – Close Your Eyes/Strasbourg St Denis and Lhasa de Sela – Love Came Here when going through the post editing process then I feel out what looks good to me
What would be your top tips for anyone wanting to do street photography?
My top tips for anyone wanting to do street photography is to be confident when shooting and enjoy interacting with your subject. Focus on detail. We all have our own interpretation of observation and personal vision that is unique to the subject we are shooting. Be an observer and take your time. Get as close to your subject as possible and do not be afraid of their response. I tend to shoot in stealth mode. However, if my subject becomes aware I am on the mooch then I’ll compliment them on a distinguishing feature they have or I’ll say ‘my bad’ give a comical, apologetic facial expression, smile and move on. Do not ask permission and practise, practise and practice until you train your eye to frame instinctively within the rule of the third. Experiment with light, framing and post editing.
What apps do you regularly use and which are your favourites?
There are many apps out there but I tend to shoot with Procam for photography and go through a number of post editing apps such as Snapsneed and Lo-mob. My favourite and most used app would be Snapseed.
Are there any photographers that have influenced your work or have inspired you in some way?
Oh yes! I am always inspired and amazed at what mobileographers have achieved and are achieving through images captured, manipulating the apps and the post creative editing process. There are too many to name, however, i admire the works and talent of the following:
_an__ka – I love her perspective and how she seeks out light and shadow in her BnW images. Her Cathedral Series on Instagram is serene and beautiful.
The exceptional Katzuyoshi whose images range from the sweet and simple to jaw-dropping, complicated abstract genius.
_woodava_ is another talent who inspires me. His nyc_faces series is a classic example of being up close and personal with your subject. He is simply fearless and shoots with confidence which is evident in his images and approach towards his subject.
Italianbrother is another exceptional talent. One of the first i came across in the beginning of my iPhoneography journey. I would exclaim phrases of wonder and amazement at his images. He constantly keeps it moving, pushes the boundaries and i admire his work highly.
I am also inspired by other talented photographers in the black and white communities such as; #bws_worldwide #bnwlife and #thebestbw
Could you select a few of your favourite photographs and tell us the story behind them?
It was a windy day. My friend and I were out and about minding our own when a random stranger approached us. ‘Excuse me. You gotta light?’ He asked. My friend replied: ‘Sure.’ He pull out his lighter and I pulled out my weapon of choice to capture the moment.
Lil Miss Road Runner
It was an extremely hot day in Oshawa, Toronto and my friend was carrying his daughter on his shoulders. She wanted to come down and walk. As soon as he put her down she was off in her road runner element. I was walking ahead of them and was able to capture her mid-flight filled with ebullience in what looks like a ‘Air Jordan’ shadow moment.
I would see this woman everyday standing at the traffic lights seeking provisions on my way home from work. I was 6 months or so into taking pictures with my iPhone by then and wanted to capture her.
I see humans but no humanity
B12_Passing – They have each other…
I was on my way to my friend’s house to watch the Copa America Final between Brazil and Spain. I was a minute away from his house when through my peripheral vision I noticed three subjects in the street sleeping. I reversed back, pulled over and parked my car. By that time one was awake and a bit tipsy. I kept snapping and promised him that it would not be used to mock or make fun of. I spent 30 minutes chatting to them all and ended up calling a cab and paid the fare for the woman Gloria to go home. A worthy diversion yes.