A picture can paint a thousand words and in the age of social media it has become an intrinsic cog in the way we receive and relay information. Photographers play a crucial role in this cycle and Delroy Matty, who is becoming one of the UK’s most sought after photographers in the music business, has been on the frontline on the movement.
Delroy caught up with Ray Sang to discuss his journey so far.
When did you first pick up a camera?
I would say back in 2002 When grime was just starting. A friend of mine who you guys know as Risky Roads started documenting the scene and invited me to shoot. I did this up until about 2007 when the demand for it kinda stopped. I didn’t really get back into it until the resurgence of grime later on but I never lost touch with my love for photography.
At what point did you realise that photography was more than just a hobby and what was your game plan?
It was always something I had a passion for growing up but I never had the right opportunity to pursue it. I realised along the way that I knew quite a few people in the industry who were on the come up and decided to take advantage of this. As for a game plan? The only I had was to be the best music photographer in the UK
Why the music industry of all sectors?
There’s a real gap in the market right now. The one thing the music industry is lacking, especially here in the UK is music photographers.
Most people documenting the UK rap and grime scenes are doing it for themselves and not necessarily for the public.
If you could summarise your journey so far in 3 words what would they be and why?
Amazing– The response to my work has simply been amazing
Satisfaction– the people I take pics of I am actually a fan of Ama visa versa
Excitement – for what is coming in the future.
What are some of the unexpected hurdles you’ve had to overcome during the course of your journey?
I can think of one particular event that epitomises the challenges I have faced as a photographer. I remember being on tour and organising a shoot for the day time.
Due to artists running late I had to move a shot that I originally planned for the day to night. This effected everything from location to lighting, it definitely taught me how to think on my feet.
What’s been the biggest lesson of 2018 so far?
You have to remain consistent, or you’ll end up falling behind. When I say being consistent I mean being prepared to do double the work rate of any photographer out there.
Highlight of your career so far?
There are three moments that come to mind, Wireless 2018 working with big artists like drake and French Montana and the Chase and Status. I distinctly remember being told I could be the UK equivalent of Kodak lense which was actually huge for me. It was also nice to have French Montana repost my work.
What’s the one thing that’s surprised you the most about life as a photographer?
How supportive and how helpful everyone has been on my journey, people have literally been going out of their way to assist and that’s been a pleasant surprise.
Would you say your approach to photography changes depending on who you’re shooting? If so how so?
Not at all. The protocol is always the same. I always remain professional how I direct and deliver is always the same. I don’t treat anyone any different, regardless of who they are. If you treat people different depending on who they are it just means that you’re not being real.
What would you say is your signature style?
I would say that my signature style is catching people in the moment – unexpected if you like. I am definitely all about capturing natural beauty.
What would you say is harder the actual photography or the editing afterwards and why?
With pictures you are constantly working against the clock. Let’s say you’re shooting an artist at a festival and he/she is only out for like 3 songs. there is a lot of pressure to get it right in short amount of time. You can’t control what side of the stage the artists decides to stay on or anything like that. Regardless of where you are stationed you have to do your best to capture the moment.
With Editing everyone’s contrast and brightness is different on their mobile device so there is no guarantee that the editing you did will translate.
You’ve worked with Nike Adidas and Arsenal amongst many others, how did these brand collaborations come about?
The two main ways things like this usually come about are through the companies reaching out directly or through recommendations.
Social media has definitely been instrumental with roughly 95% of my new business coming from Instagram.
If you weren’t pursing a career in photography what would you be doing?
I would still be doing something visual, I have a good eye for things like that, so maybe something surrounding video.
What advice world you give to those considering a career as a photographer?
• Be consistent
• Learn how to use a camera
• Stay focused – social media can be such a distraction
• Start with any camera even your phone. 80% of photography is understanding composition so learn the basics from there.
• Learn the rule of thirds
• recommend editing software: light room, photoshop app
Do you have any upcoming projects that we should be looking out for?
Reading festival for one, I also just confirmed that I will be shooting with Cardi B in a Miami festival, I also be involved with crop circle 2 and many other projects to come
Any final shoutouts or Plugs?
A huge shoutout to Remina, Litty Lightz, Sir Spyro, Bugzy Malone, Laughta, Cat Park, Slix, Chas, Link Up TV, GRM Daily and BBC 1Xtra.