Remember the Name: Photographer Matthew Paskert

Name: Matthew Paskert

Age: 22

Year: Senior

Major: Marketing

Hometown: Tampa, FL

Dream Job: War Correspondent

Zodiac Sign: Taurus

Courtesy: Matthew Paskert 

Matthew is so money baby. I genuinely know this guy is going to make it big by turning his passion for music and sports into more than just a hobby. His incredible eye for detail in movement makes his photos seem as if you were standing in his shoes, and in front of some of the biggest names and events that have topped charts in the past few years. 

Her Campus (HC): When did you first get into photography?

Matthew Paskert (MP): Well, in middle school I started doing video for the school morning show because it would get me out of class. I sweet-talked one of the nuns who was in charge and was able to get me pulled out of class on a pretty regular basis to take videos of anything from a teacher interview to kindergarteners playing on the jungle gym. It kind of snowballed from that to taking photographs of my friends doing stupid stuff, then to photographs of squirrels and my dog.

HC: Did you take courses or anything to nail the techniques you use now?

MP: I took one class over a summer at TCC. The teacher was a total… well let’s just say she wasn’t too kind to me, but now after being friends with her I realized it was because she knew I actually wanted to pursue it so she was just pushing me. I’m still salty about the “B” I got though. The most crucial thing I did when trying to “master my craft” (which I’m far from doing) was studying other people’s photos and trying to figure out how they did everything in them from the exact camera setting to the lighting and basically everything. It was much harder to do that though once I got heavily involved with the live music and sports photography… that was just mistake after mistake and hoping I’d fix it the next week.

HC: How are you involved on campus?

MP: Well, besides going to class and working two jobs… well four if you include my girlfriend and my frenchie… I have been the photo editor for the FSView & Florida Flambeau for two years now and am a founding father for FSU’s Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) Chapter. We just won homecoming, so shout out to our HC Committee.

HC: What’s been the biggest challenge when getting into the industry? You cover concerts and games people would kill to get a ticket to. That can’t be easy.

MP: Getting into sports wasn’t too hard for me. I just proved my abilities. I started shooting tennis for FSU Sports Information and then worked my way up. The shows on the other hand are a challenge. Artist management is basically impossible to get along with. Most bands and artists have their own photographer so they don’t really care if other photographers are there or not as it doesn’t really affect them. It takes a lot of calls, texts, e-mails and believe it or not letters. But the payoff is incredible. 

Courtesy: Matthew Paskert 

Courtesy: Matthew Paskert

HC: Speaking of which, what was the craziest event you covered and why?

MP: A lot of people ask me this and it’s kind of hard to answer because so many events have been so amazing in such different ways. The BCS Championship was pretty incredible. Flying out to Pasadena, getting the open bar and buffet basically 24/7 and then obviously the game and all the events surrounding that were incredible. But the one that always sticks out was last year’s shooting on campus. I was on the scene very shortly after the gunman was subdued. Seeing the body, being interviewed until 7 am on national and international news, going to press conferences, talking to witnesses… it was truly an eye-opening and very tiresome experience. Most of our team worked close to a 24 hour shift. If I could do anything, I would make that event not happen, but since it did, I’m glad I was able to provide people with information, content and photos.  

Courtesy: Matthew Paskert

HC: Who are some of your biggest influences?

MP: Dustin Rabin, forsure. He has taken some of the greatest concert photographs of all time. His Paul McCartney photographs are absolutely unreal.

HC: Who was the most influential person you got to photograph and why?

MP: Justin Timberlake was probably the biggest artist that I’ve photographed. He just amazed me. I thought I liked JT, but then when I was standing up against the stage watching his set, I really just gained an immense respect for him and his talent.

HC: Did you get to talk to him after the performance? How was it?

MP: When he was walking to the stage, we made eye contact and he gave me a “what’s up” head nod. It was so hard not to fan girl.

Courtesy: Matthew Paskert

HC: What’s the most ideal place or thing you could capture if you had the connections and ability to travel where ever? Why?

MP: If where ever includes back in time, September 11, 2001. Anywhere in the world, I would absolutely love to do wartime photography in the middle east. Not the prettiest of places, but I think the art produced out there really touched people on a very emotional level.

HC: Do you have any other hobbies?

MP: I’ve played music since I was a child, so I play a lot of guitar and piano when I have free time. It’s very cathartic and relaxing.

HC: Who’s your favorite artist? Song?

MP: It kind of depends on the day. Artist would probably have to be Eminem. Especially after seeing him in London last summer. But song… I don’t really know. Drive by Alan Jackson sticks out right now. I just remember riding in my father’s jeep as a kid listening to it. Plus, it was written about the lake my Nana lives on so that’s cool too.

Courtesy: Matthew Paskert

HC: Favorite movie?

MP: I really like anything by Darren Aranofsky. The combination of his direction with Clint Mansell’s scores is pretty moving.

HC: If you could change the world with your influence in one way, what would you do?

MP: I would love to travel the world and photograph social, political and economic issues in different areas of the world and really open people’s eyes to everything going on around them.

HC: Spirit animal?

MP: My puppy is my spirit animal because he’s definitely one fry short of a happy meal. He’ll go nuts for like fifteen minutes then sleep for two hours. I kind of just want to be him. 

HC: Where can we see more of your work?

MP: My site: http://www.matthewpaskert.com.