Coventry Artist Shown at LOOP Photographers Exhibit

Copy of Matt Hunsaker and dogby Carissa Woytach

This past September’s ArtWalk exhibit at Loop (2180 W 11th Street), featured nothing but Cleveland photographers. Shortly after this exhibit opened, The Tremonster caught up with one of the exhibiting photographers, Matt Hunsaker, at Loop to discuss his work.

Hunsaker, who works and lives in the Coventry area, has been working on his art for approximately nine years, starting with a small point-and-shoot camera he received when he was 16. Since then, his work has grown into a distinctive style which mixes the aesthetic of film with digital color processes and technology to create emotive works for the local art scene.

“I kind of work with all the photographers in the area that use film,” Hunsaker said. “It’s pretty ironic…I always say I like film but reject the fetishization of it.”

Working in black and white and color, Hunsaker captures his subjects both in their homes, with friends and in nature — a natural theme can be found often in his work. Working with natural light filtered through the trees, his figures are dappled in the sunlight, creating simple photographs that capture his models’ beauty against an almost-as-beautiful background.

While these models may look professional, most are local photographers like Hunsaker. Preferring to work with other artists that understand his personal style, Hunsaker gives little direction to his subjects, preferring to capture them in natural poses.

As a male photographing mostly female nude subjects, Hunsaker understands why many people think, his relationship with his models is sexual, but this is not the case. While he has photographed past lovers, the majority of his subjects are friends and other artists that want to work with him.

“[Intersectional feminism] has helped really…inform my photography a lot, not just the art itself but how it’s produced,” he said. “When you [get] down to it I’m a mostly-straight white dude photography mostly-female nudes — the issue of privilege and oppression definitely comes into play and I’ve been really sensitive to that for a while. As much as I love doing what I do, it’s something I’ve always kind of wrestled with.”

Hunsaker is a master of perspective, and his work gives viewers the impression his model is floating through space or flying towards a mirror.

“A lot of my art nudes are very dream-like,” he said. “I’ve had people tell me that there’s nothing erotic about it — and that’s what they like, and I’ve had people tell me they’re somewhat erotic — and that’s what they like.”

Hunsaker is also a concert photographer at local venues, including Now That’s Class (11213 Detroit Ave.), the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd.) and the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd.). Acts photographed include Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys performing at the Beachland Ballroom, Aesop Rock performing at the Grog Shop and the band Nights, performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“I’ve always really loved music. I started going to shows and just started taking my camera with me when I finally got a camera that could actually do low light,” he said. “There’s a bunch of [photographs] I’m really proud of — real trophies.”

Currently, Hunsaker is pursuing both his art and concert photography. Working with regular people (mostly artists), rather than professional models, he works to create beautiful imagery of the wide variety of natural human figures with which he is presented.

“I think that when someone can just be themselves and be comfortable, and I get to be a part of that — or even just facilitate it in a way — there’s something really rewarding and validating about that,” he said. “I tend to photograph people all shapes and sizes. When someone sees a body type that is not generally represented…photographed with all the ‘flattering-ness’ of all the other [conventional] models, they look at themselves a little more positively.”

To follow his work visit or follow @bettersouls on Instagram.

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