Photography/Video

Chauby, VMA ’17, Strives To Make Work That Stands Out

Despite being in his third year, Matthew Chauby shot his most recent film on a Bolex– the kind of inconvenient, past-its-prime film camera most students drop and run from the moment they get the chance. It’s a music video for a song by experimental glitch-hop rap duo Death Grips, titled “Death Grips (Next Grips).” As of writing this, it’s still *technically* unfinished, but you can still watch it below, if you’re so inclined. 

death grips (next grips)//from emerson with love from Matthew Chauby on Vimeo.

On the title dg (ng):

“I don’t think it was really that thought out. It’s more of just a cool stylistic thing that I thought would kind of capture people’s attention.”

On getting those triple exposure shots:

I was inspired by this Battles music video for a song called “Ice Cream.” I think they use a digital exposure, but they back lit everything so everyone’s pretty much an outline of themselves, and they put all the image over each other and it had this really cool effect of all these outlines so I was inspired by that.

“Basically I back lit for my subject, I got the exposure for the highlights, and since I had to do three exposures I knew it was be between two or three stops that i had to accommodate for each shot. I forget what I did exactly, but I split the difference or something and with the bolex you rewind so you shoot, and you have a frame counter where you know how many frames went by, then you wind it back the exact amount of frames and you shoot over that same part of film.”

On how much of his work is thought out, and how much is spontaneous:

I would say –sadly– it’s what I think looks cool most of the time. A lot of stuff comes from my gut, and lot of the stuff I do is naturally the kind of stuff that pops out at people or catches your attention. I’m a young, unknown media maker so I kind of have stand out. To me, part of art is to get people to look at your stuff, especially now [in a digital age] where there’s art surrounding us everywhere we go. It needs to be pleasing, and cool, and capture people’s attention.

What was the first time you made something with a sense of aesthetic in mind?

Acid Film was the first thing I did that I thought was mine –aesthetically it was what I wanted to portray in film for the first time. What I thought was my style, and what I wanted to make. I directed a project my freshman year that was a film, an FPS film. I was happy with the end product, because we got a goal finished, but it wasn’t the same feeling I got from making my own project.

Shot on 16 millimeter film, creating Acid Film required coloring in every single frame with a dusty old classroom projector and some loaned dentist tools. The process, he says, took up 4-8 hour a day for the entirety of Thanksgiving break.

Acid Film from Matthew Chauby on Vimeo.

Do you feel like your ethos has changed during your time at Emerson?

I’m a lot happier now, I’ve realized that I like to make visually stimulating most experimental works now, that’s what my general aesthetic is with my photography too. A lot of the stuff you see in the Death Grips video I was practicing on 35mm film with photos in the fall. A little bit.

How much do the two blend together?

“Lately, a lot. My last two projects, my 16 mm projects I did i almost emulated them completely as film series. I find myself being kind of draw to the idea of having multimedia presentations in my portfolio that I can have for myself.”

“Oh, Hi. Yo!” is about Ohio, the state that I’m from. And a lot of my photography when I go home, I like to do a lot of stuff there and now i have a collection– I don’t know if i can use it some day or not, but it’s kind of personal too, so…”

Oh, Hi. Yo! from Matthew Chauby on Vimeo.

“It becomes part of you and I feel like the shooting that I do when  i make those kind of projects are more like organic and on the go. I have a feeling that I want to get across, and I have a pretty good plan of what I’m going to do. But I just like the, i like being able to do whatever I want to do in that moment because i’m not on a set, i’m not shooting a narrative necessarily. I am, but it’s more– it’s loose, it’s um. I mean, it’s experimental.”

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