Courage to be Curious with Adina Tovell

What Would a Photograph of your Soul Look Like?

October 27, 2021 Adina Tovell and Matt Mead Episode 164
Courage to be Curious with Adina Tovell
What Would a Photograph of your Soul Look Like?
Show Notes Transcript

With Halloween only a few days away, our question is not “What mask will you wear?” but “What mask will you take off?” In today's conversation with Matt Mead - wedding, portrait, and branding photographer - we talk about the impact of trying to ‘look perfect’ on ourselves and others and what we can do to show up genuine and real, both on and off the camera.

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What has been the most vulnerable place for you, as a photographer? Like, where do you personally struggle the most in your experience of engaging and that's

where I honestly struggle the most is I'm an introvert. And so really getting that connection with people. It's hard for me because I'm such an introvert and doing it and Terry is the exact opposite. She's an extrovert. That's why her and I are such a good pair is that during our initial planning meetings and things like that, she's there. To facilitate that communication. She's there to kind of bridge that gap. But she's not there on the wedding day. So I have to figure out ways to do that. And that's, that's hard for me because as an introvert, it's kind of like, I'd rather just go shoulders, hide behind my mask of the camera and go, I'm just gonna take pictures not have to talk. Well, it doesn't work that way, unfortunately. So I had to learn and I'm still learning how to be an extrovert.

Hi, this is Adina here with today's episode of Courage to be Curious with Adina Tovell. And if you have been following us during the month of October, you know that we've been talking about the masks that we wear, the facades that we often live behind, and how we come out from behind those, it, of course, makes perfect sense because in a few days, right, we're coming up to the ever favorite holiday of Halloween, where we do take that opportunity to formally put masks and costumes on and get to show up in some other way. But what we've been talking about is how hard it is sometimes to show up as our real selves, even when we don't have Halloween, and we're not formally putting on the masks so, but my guest today is Matt Mead. And I'm so excited if you have visited the hopefully by this time newly released website of Courage to be Curious, you will see some of Matt's photography. So Matt is a wonderful photographer, we did a great photoshoot, we had the best time and knew that he would be a perfect person to talk to about how we come out and really show our authentic selves and show how we become genuine and show our genuine selves to the world. Because we know that many times when we're taking photographs, we're really thinking about what do we want to show? What do we want to present to the world, and people are nervous when there's cameras in front of them. And so we thought it would make a really interesting conversation. So Matt, welcome.

Thank you for having me. It was my pleasure to work with you on your on your session. It's such a ball. And I think you're 100% Correct it photography really does flow well. And with this topic of masks and facades.

So one of the reasons that that I chose you is when I went to Matt's website, which we'll share with you all at the end, although it's not hard to find that. One of the things that I loved when I went to your site now was the conversation, you really talked about your philosophy as a photographer, and you don't do studio photography, and you don't do they let me touch up every single, you know, little inch of anything that might look absolutely imperfect, but you have a philosophy behind your photography that I'd love to talk more about.

Sure, yeah, um, our main philosophy with our photography is is we like to capture moments as they happen, the authentic moments in between those pose moments where people are their true selves, because poses studio photography, and I'm going to quote somebody that you are that, that we're both very fond of it that studio photography is, can come off as being cold and lifeless. And that's just not who we are. And it's not authentic that we are. So we really, really strive ourselves to get those moments in between. So even our posed moments, come off as being authentic come off as being unposed come off, come off as being candid. And that's really, really, really where I think the duty of photography lies, right, there's getting those moments. So time

seems so important about that, especially Matt, because you do a lot of wedding photography, and people kind of think of weddings as the time when you want everything to look and feel perfect. So you know, tell me what feels important to you about capturing people in this way. And how do you go about doing that?

Well, in the case of the wedding day that I need advise all couples like that is gonna be the longest 612 10 hours, or the shortest, I'm sorry, not the longest to me the shortest six, eight to 10 to 12 hours of your life. You're going to wake up at nine and then you're going to blink and it's going to be midnight, you're going to be in the in the limo going home and it's just and you won't remember any of it. Exactly. And that's true. And that's exactly why we're there to do is to document that day for you. And that doesn't mean standing you underneath the perfectly composed tree or backdrop and posing you in 50 different angles so that you get the 50 different points of no catch those moments in between it Gonna evoke your emotion and make you go jump back to that moment in time, that exact moment time of the day. And you're gonna remember exactly how you felt. And that's, that's, that's why honestly, that's why I do what we do. And that's why I strive to do that, because I love those moments.

And it's interesting in photography, Matt, because I think you and I talked a little bit about this, like the paradox of the photograph, right? That on the one hand, it captures this incredibly real moment in time. And it's only a snapshot that all the things it doesn't convey, right. And then you and I talked about the relationship between that and social media, what gets posted, and you and I both have Instagram pages, or Facebook and things like that. And so, you know, how, what's a good way to think about this paradox between, okay, we want this really real, but it might be projecting something that is maybe further pretty far from real.

Yeah, there's that that that Instagram paradox with a perfectly curated feed and perfectly curated life. But life isn't that way, as we all know. And your wedding day is not that way. It's never it's never perfect. And you know, you're going to make faces that you don't necessarily would want photographed, that wouldn't think you'd want photographs. Or maybe when you're laughing, you don't like the way you look. Or maybe when you're crying. And we all make the similar face me cry that nobody, nobody looks good when they cry, it's like but when you're crying, because your partner's reading those vows to you that they're giving you, they're telling you from the bottom of their heart, how they feel. That's the moment you're going to want captured, that's a moment you're going to want up on your Instagram feed, because that tells a true story that shows you for who you are underneath, all of that makeup in the dress in the suits and all of that preparation, that moment where you start crying during your vows. That's the moment that shows you or when you see your partner coming down that aisle for the first time from the from the from the altar, and you lose it. And it's like that, that's that authentic moment, underneath all of that preparation that really bring that really, really, really what you're really gonna want document and you're really gonna want show on your feet,

which is beautiful, because it's making me think about right, I remember even my own wedding day, and we spent hours like getting the hair done, and then the makeup done and all of these things. And, you know, those pictures were kind of fun, but it wasn't what really captured the essence of what was happening on that day. And it's making me think about all work we sometimes do of putting up our persona. But it's like when we let the realness of ourselves hang out that that's what people connect with the most.

Absolutely that it's I've noticed in my in my feed, if you're going to those are the ones that those are the photos that get the most traction. Those are the photos that get done in a court or our mentor, those are the photos that get printed out and put in silver frames on the mantel. Those are the photos that you want in your wedding. You know, those are the photos, you're the one you're with your family, in your family portraits upon your mentors, or in your office or probably display those right.

So let's just talk before we go into some more of the other things. But let's talk about that Instagram for you. Because you and I were talking about that like, well, you and I both have Instagram feeds, and it's part of a business these days to have Instagram feeds. And this how do we navigate this? Like, what are the considerations? Because you know, social media is out there. It's out there to help promote your business. And so there's this sense that everything should be perfect, and everything should look curated to the optimal of what people will have they choose to work with you. And yet what are the downsides of that? So how do you go about approaching the social media piece? It feels like one

of the downfalls of that perfectly curated feed is unrealistic expectations of yourself. And it's like, because the only thing that we're projecting out in that feed is how perfect our life is. Well, I think we all know that. So you have to kind of find that delicate balance, I think of here's the perfect feed. Here's a little bit of imperfection to show you that I'm actually a real person, I'm human. And it's actually me behind the feed not a virtual assistant or somebody else just curating all of my best photos to put out there. Because when people hire us in both of our industries, they're hiring us. They're not hiring our perfect Instagram feed. They're hiring the human behind it needs to be they're hiring the human behind the camera. So people need to know that human need to know that he or she is human.

Yeah, I think that that piece about and especially, you know, we've been living through all this pandemic stuff and less connection that the people we're going to bring into our lives or allow into the doors of our life, that they are human that they struggle in the ways that we do And it's interesting because I thought many times over the course of this business that I've had to have, how much of personal struggles? Do you reveal? Right? You know, are people expecting you to have the answers? Right or my case? You know, have the good questions, at least that's a good thing. I have all the answers. I just have to have good questions. You know, but you might be own vulnerabilities. And I think you're right, the more we share those, and this is certainly thank you Brene. Brown, for holding us all understand how important our vulnerabilities are that the more we share our humaneness and our vulnerabilities that the more people are going to connect with us and not the less. I think the other thing I often think about in that case, and I'm, you know, curious how you say it as the photographer, but the perfect curated, I almost think that what that does is just prey on people's insecurities of how imperfect I am. And I've certainly seen businesses where I feel like people are almost hopping on board with the hope that they can become as perfect as that person out there. If they jump on board with their services, and I've never wanted people to aspire to an unrealistic sense of perfection.

Yeah, that's, that's a tough one. Because it's, when you see that and you try to live up to that unrealistic expectation, you end up I feel you're just bringing yourself even further away from that. And it's in my industry, especially, it's really difficult because you always playing the comparison game with other photographers. It's like, oh, look at their feet, you know, they have 50,000 followers. What am I doing wrong to that, you know, to that I don't have 50,000 followers? Well, what am I doing, right, that I'm serving all of my clients that

are not paying attention? Exactly. And I mean, I think when I go through, and I look at your feed, and I look at the pictures that are there, and even when because I have the privilege of coming to your house, the same photographs that are on your house that they are they're these beautiful real moments. And it is what made me choose you is I wanted to make sure that when I was going to project was a real may not know a perfect, idealized version of myself out into the world. And you know how what it takes to get comfortable with that what it takes to get comfortable to say, I just want to put the real out there and not the ideal out there. And so I'm curious, because I imagine you have some clients, especially on wedding days, or other people and maybe you even experienced it with me, right where, you know, someone is trying to put out their absolute best and is almost overdoing it, or the cases where they're so afraid of being seen that they have a hard time letting you photograph them at all. And so what do you do to try to help bring up the essence of people,

you know, this is gonna sound like a cop out. But I'm just for both instances, I'm just myself. I try to be very calming, very, not soothing, but just very kind of middle of the road. Not not too many highs, not too many lows, just kind of very, very calming and soothing. Because I know in either direction, it's a stressful situation. And nobody enjoys being in front of the camera, no matter how no matter what, no matter what they tell you. There was like I don't like being photographed or you know, I don't live there since some of this thing about me I don't like or there's this. Well, it's it's we had a we actually had a rash of brides Believe it or not that last year in the news previous even one issue that would just they would always pick something on one side of their face that they didn't like. And it's a and then I look at them and go, but you're perfectly symmetrical. But in my head, and so I'm like okay, well you don't like the left side of your face will photograph you from the right side. And what they don't realize is that they're mirroring me. So I'm photographing that side that they think they don't like and end up loving it when they see you in the camera. Because it's because I'm just like I said, and then I just I don't draw attention to it. I don't draw attention to anything. I just try to be calm and kind of be that one of our clients put it on the meditation, like I was the color of calm on the stressful days. And as she saw me, she the day was going to be okay, my role is going on around that try to bring that energy to every single one of my sessions. I also tried to make them light hearted and fun, like I try to just be real with it just make me be a little self deprecating, like, I'll make fun of myself. And then I'll do the pose. I want you to do the pose. I know I look ridiculous. So and then you're going to laugh. So it's like, I get that reaction right there. And that's the one I want to photograph.

And you did photograph that one. Because you kept saying small, small goes on until I would just like rack up and then go big and that's what you're

you get to be an observer of people. Like somebody like you, for example, you're a little bit more lighthearted, little more fun, a little bit more expressive. So if I try to curtail that, it's you're going to struggle. And then and then once you Get to the point where you can't hold it anymore. Go, okay, let it out. And I don't have to tell you smile, I just didn't let it out. And then you let it up. Or on the other end of it, you make them do the big, big, huge, ridiculous grin, knowing that they're very kind of serious. Then you go, okay, breathe, blow out your birthday, can we blow it out of there?

Right, then they've got some sort of relaxed sense to them. And that can come through. I'm wondering about, did you ever have a client, whether it was like me for branding, or a bride or groom, who just really had a hard time and like, when we started for photographing them, they just really couldn't let themselves be seen or be them. And then, you know, over the course of time, just sort of suddenly came to life. And, you know, what are the differences? I'm always curious, what are the differences of what you can see through the lens between that person who's really struggling to be revealed, and when they actually allow themselves to be seen.

It's a lot of body posture, like you can really from for me, it's in the shoulders. Like people who are uncomfortable and people who don't want to be photographed or people who are not having a good time, tend to shrug and tend to do this and hold everything right here.

Actually, it looks I'm I'm in the video everywhere. Because if you're listening, you don't say but I'm like I'm showing, it actually looks a little super nice and square.

But that is square or slightly drooped, that means they're comfortable. So when I get my start getting that person's fronting their shoulders and their shoulders getting closer to their ears, that's usually when I'll put the camera down and just talk to them. And they go, okay, you know what's going on and give them a good day, bad day you having fun? What can we do. And then once they get to talking, while I'm talking to them, the camera will slowly come up, and then they'll start taking pictures, while I'm talking to them. So it's like, I take the way it's like, I'm taking away that barrier between me and the person. They see that camera as a barrier. And then when I remove that barrier, they loosen up. Yeah, and

I think it's because I am very eager to remember our photoshoot. And at one point, you know, we had somebody here, you said, just start talking to them, right, you know, putting ourselves in situations where we feel most comfortable, where we feel most natural. And, you know, I I do think a lot about it. Because I think about lots of times, people feeling like every environment that they're in, that they're not, they can't feel relaxed enough to be natural and to be themselves. And they feel like they have to come presenting themselves all of the time. And then I think about things like well, what if we just started talking about something else, like whether we're talking about sports, or you know, something of interest in like, hobbies, or things like that as to how we let that down. But there's so many of us who I feel like we hold and we cling so tightly to the persona that we want people to see. And did you ever have anybody come back? And I have no idea because you haven't told me this or not, but come back and be like, I don't like these photographs? Like why? Because they were looking for those picture perfect studio things in the end? Or did everybody kind of know what they were getting into in terms of the real?

Not one time? Have we ever had anybody come back and say I did not like what we got. Because it's we, we coach our clients into, because they can if I can back up for a second. When people initially meet with us, they come in with an expectation they come in with like, you know, we have we want to these particular photos, we want to do this particular thing. And we want to have this way, but then we want to have them on calls, right. But then once they once we meet with them, we kind of coach them on some of the things that they didn't know they didn't know. Then it can then on the day the shooter did a wedding. They need that they have in a certain X they have a different level of expectation. And then when we meet that level, which we always do knock on wood. Knock on wood. They know what's expected they come back goes man, you were 100% Right? We love these black and whites. We love these moments. It's never been the opposite. There's never been a wish you would oppose this more.

There was one thing that you said when we were talking about the distinction between color and black and white. Or maybe it was actually Terry who said it who said if you want to project the feeling go for black and white if you want to feature the outfit go for color, right?

Yeah, that was our the people that we took some mentoring sessions from Justin and Mary Moran's says Mary had said to Terry, that you know, that similar quote, where if you care what people are wearing, photograph them in color, but if you care about how they feel what they're feeling you photograph black. And hence that's the reason why the if you look at our red, my portfolio website, 90% of its in

black and white. It actually makes me think of that, as somebody who thinks about questions all the time, that you know what questions reveal or allow people to reveal about themselves and I'm kind of thinking if you want to kind of understand what a person knows right? To ask them a question that really is very intellectual, and you can get that back. But if you want to know who they are, right, we have to ask a question that sometimes feels scary. I mean, when we talk about courage to be curious part of the courage part is that sometimes asking questions can feel scary, because maybe they feel a little bit vulnerable to somebody on the other side, or if we're asking them of ourselves that it opens the door of a place where we feel a little less secure and more vulnerable. And so, you know, those kinds of questions that might be the black and white questions, right, the ones that, you know, get deep inside the heart as compared to those questions who were like, share with me what, you know,

the questions that are hard to answer that you can hide behind the mask.

So yeah, and so I'm sitting here and thinking, what am I going to ask Matt? That because I feel like I've been asking you to some of the questions that are like the color questions like, What do you know about these things? And what you experience about these things? So let me ask you a black and white question is, you know, what has been the most vulnerable place for you as a photographer? Like, where do you personally struggle the most in your experience of engaging in this way with people?

Where I honestly struggle the most as I'm an introvert. And so we getting that connection with people is hard for me, because I'm such an introvert. And doing it interior is the exact opposite. She's an extrovert. That's why her and I are such a good pair is that during our initial planning meetings, and things like that, she's there, to facilitate that communication, she's there to kind of bridge that gap. She's not there on the wedding day. So I have to figure out ways to do that. And that's, that's hard for me, because as an introvert, it's kind of like a rather just gonna shoulders, hide behind my mask with a camera and go, I'm just gonna take pictures and not have to talk. Well, it doesn't work that way, unfortunately. So I had to learn. And I'm still learning how to be an extrovert,

right? Or how to be allow your ex, your introverted person to be comfortable enough in those settings that require that extroverted side of you to come forward. And you know, I can see that because you are the one that needs to make the person being photographed, feel comfortable. And yet, you'd like to just be behind the lens. What happens when people take pictures of you?

Oh, it's rare, but it happens. The shoulder shrug happens, the, you know, I hide, I try to hide, I don't. I don't like having my picture taken. I just don't. And it's and then, but a colleague of mine once told me he's like, he said, is it that you don't like having your photo taken? Or you don't like the photos that have been taking? You say which one is it thinking and I thought about that. And I'm like, huh, he's got a point. It's like, because the only other outside of our wedding photos, the only other, I've had maybe one other session that I really liked. And it was like, that was in Dublin. So in Dublin, Ireland, because when I was, and even then I was relaxed. Because I was in a foreign country on vacation. In Tehran, I decided to have some photos done. It was like, I was really relaxed, and I was outside of my comfort zone, I was able to rip the mask off and let myself be myself. And every other time, outside of our wedding photos has been the opposite. I've hid and I've just never liked with it.

Actually love thinking about that, though. Because again, I'm thinking about the way we show up in the world. And that question that they asked you is it that you don't like having the photos taken or you don't like the way you look in them? And, you know, I think if we asked ourselves that kind of question about the things that we shy away from or feel afraid of, right? Is it the thing we're actually afraid of? Or is it what we imagine the result of it is going to be? You know, like whether it's a difficult conversation? Is that actually having the conversation? Or is the fear that the conversation might not come out the way we want to or hoped or you know, if I asked somebody out on a date or something is it the actual asking or is it the fear of the outcome of it of not having a go well, and I'm thinking to myself, like all the relevant pieces or even people who tell me simple things like I don't cook well as you don't cook because you actually don't like cooking or as you don't cook because you get afraid that the thing you're going to cook is not going to taste good

boy and it's and it's funny you mentioned cooking because it's I feel like cooking is the most vulnerable thing you could do for somebody it's because it's their maybe it's my Italian American upbringing but it's it's that's what we do we feed people we that's how we show that's our love language. And it's like so if you're cooking for somebody and it flops are you more upset by the fact that you could something terrible or by the fact that the person you care most for ate this thing you put your whole evening your whole heart and soul into and they just didn't like it like which which part of that was more So, but I would argue that the fact that you just cook for somebody, even if it's garbage, they're going to tell you they liked it if they care about no matter what. So just go ahead and cook the thing.

And it's interesting. So I will say one of the things that was just sort of mind blowing is after I met you, guys, we had the whole photoshoot, which was such a fabulous, good time. And then the reveal of the photos. I mean, anytime I've ever had these rights, somebody just sends them to you electronically, you get the photographs, but you're like, No, why don't you come over to our home studio, and you and Terry cook something right, Terry cooked up something and, you know, you wanted to care for me, and let in that moment, too, and wanted the reveal of the photographs to be personal in that way. And it was a very, it was a much more intimate experience than just what you would get in the studio. And then suddenly, you will get pictures or a link just sent you somewhere. But it was more we want to and we want to see your reaction. I imagine that was true for you, too. Like, we want to see how you react to things.

And to be in touch back and be completely honest about that. It took me probably three years to comfortable doing it. Because you go into, and I'll get into the reason we do those in a minute. But as a photographer and artist, you you put every ounce of your soul with every photograph you take, at least I do. And it was I was thinking like, man, what if they're sitting on a couch? And they just don't like them? Like could I? You know, could I deal with that kind of rejection, it's like, you're gonna have to learn because it's gonna happen. I mean, you need to have thick skin for this business. But then as more we did these and the more we saw that people's reactions and the positive reactions and the emotions, it's like, man, it's like they hired us for a reason. So they're not going to come and sit on our couch, if they don't trust that we're going to give them is going to be good. So, you know, I took me a while to get over that. And the reason we do those is we spoke about earlier about cooking is our love language here and I both being a tiny American upbringing, that's our love language, cooking and wine and just entertaining people. And with a photoshoot, or wedding, or it's, we basically, I don't want to say we, stripy Rob, we don't, we kind of expose the nerve, and it's a raw, it's a very raw thing. So you didn't want to kind of go, Okay, it's over and done with now we can take a sit, step back, relax, have some food, have some wine, have some coffee, tea, whatever your thing is, and then we can walk through that day, walk through your session, again, we can leave your session. For a more casual standpoint, we can laugh at some things we can cry at some things we can cringe at some things we can, you know, it's, we can remember how we felt in those moments. And it ends up being just a nice little party. And we love that.

It's really seems like it's the whole experience to have. You're not just our clients that are these nameless, faceless people out there that we're taking these pictures, but you know, you're real people to us. And I think when you do that, right, everybody drops that outer layer that facade, or those masks and things like that, because you've invited them into such deep personal relationship with you by opening up your home and you're there. And you know, cooking and being that vulnerable is, I mean, what I love and like, the reason I want to have this conversation with you is it's so many of these things that you do. I really do help people just drop all of this, you know, where they could be trying to be as perfect and it's everything as they want to be, but you're showing up as you're just introverted, but light hearted and real self and then you and Terry, opening up your arms so widely to people and for taking the time to see them as you're photographing them to to really, I mean, I noticed like you just look right in the eyes of the people that you photograph. And how beautiful that is that you don't let there be masks.

Me the eyes are the window to the soul. And you can't you can't your eyes don't hide anything. And that's why I always make it a point to like, as you said, Look, everybody in the eye that I photographed. And and it's like his that's going to tell me hey, if you're having a good time, then besides the shoulder shrug and be it's going to tell me Okay, is this the Is this the master? Is this the authentic person that's in front of my camera? And if it's the if it's the former What can I do to get the ladder?

I think what a great thing for us all to take from this is that how often do we really pause to look somebody in the eye you know whether we're on Zoom or we're face to face or we're in a business meeting or even friends because we can get so busy like we can be running and doing all of these things that I imagined weddings as I remember I'm pretty chaotic events. But part of what you do in the photographer is like special For those two people, like you slow everything down to that moment where it's like, we just have to be here. We're just here. We're just in this space. And the profoundness of you as the photographer, even pausing to like look people in the eye. And to let them be seen that that is such an incredible gift. And that's a gift that we could all give to each other if we made that conscious effort.

And it's, it's gotten to the point where to like we're can people are so not used to be looked in the eye that actually at the prep is going on not being creepy. I'm just, this is just my process of just trying to see things, see how I can do things and say I'm not absolutely not being creepy, I always have to preface it with people are just used to that used to the computer screen, the phone screen, they're not used to one on one interaction and having someone stare them dead in the face and tell them what to do. So it's kind of like okay, and you know, it's okay.

So I wonder like thinking about people listening to this shortly before Halloween here, when I Who knows what will be happening, maybe we will be having zoom Halloween parade. So I don't know what that looked like a zoom masquerade party or something like that I imagined we could be printed pretty fun things. If I did that I could actually 15 outfits on the same party, that would be kind of fun. That'd be sorry, you might have we might have to organize this right? Halloween party, things like that. But you know if we even took these days leading up to it this day, where we do traditionally put masks on or put costumes on. But if we took these couple days to really consciously say, Who am I going to look in the eyes today? Who am I actually going to pause to really see today. And as though as you said, like I'm looking into their soul, and not just you know, kind of attuning to what thing they're saying in that moment, but actually really experiencing and looking into their soul. And for us just to know what that would feel like. And I think that even zoom or a mirror works equally well to if you're wrong, but you know, is what would it be like to look at ourselves that way too, right? You know, to just take a pause, and I was recently looking at something on LinkedIn, with a teacher, you know, teachers are doing all kinds of amazing things in school that are trying to just kind of work with the fact that kids are in masks that they're been on Zoom or virtual for all this time and coming back to school. And I saw this beautiful image of a teacher who had a big vertical mirror that she hung up in when the kids came to school and had a little tag on the top that said I am and then each kid would step in front of the mirror and look at themselves, and I am and then I you know, I'm guessing saying their name, right. And just the power of every day having each child come up and face themselves first.

Who is really powerful? Well, that's awesome. That's really awesome.

And it was interesting, I was watching the kids, the kids who could, you know, were standing there pretty comfortably. Because you know, it was a little bit of a video reel, but you know, the kids who could stand there and really be standing in their presence. And then the kids are like, kind of come off and got away as fast as they possibly could. And so just want to make this invitation is worth thinking about this here that what if we all take these opportunities? What if we look in the camera and look into our own souls? What if we pause for somebody we really care about? And take a moment to pause and look into their soul in the same way that you do that with your clients. I think that would be such

an amazing gift. That's that's a serious black and white assignment.

Serious black and white assignment. So I've totally unprepared you for this man. Because I realized in the preparation for this, this is one thing I didn't tell you, but we'll see what comes out. So I asked you a bunch of questions. But in this kind of bonus episode that comes at the end of our series, because we have an episode that's about living with the courage to be curious, loving, leading, and then this is the wild card right, where we bring in some other perspective on the theme. And so this is ours. So we also offer an opportunity to ask a wildcard question. So you're getting to ask me something that's like totally a wildcard question. And I might ask you a wildcard question too and it could be anything it could be anything it can be anything has does not have to be related to the scene whatsoever. It's an anything so wildcard

Hmm. So anything anything okay, well, let's say you're kind of put me on the spot I can we come up with this if I can pop the nice little black and white question here for you. Um, so Okay, um, when it comes to curiosity, do you find that people are less curious now than say they were 1015 years ago due to Instagram due to technology due to social media, due to that perfectly curated feed or perfectly curated, curated life that everyone's supposed to have, that they just feel, that's how it's supposed to be. They're not getting in. They're not getting deeper than they should and are getting into those black and white.

No, do I feel like it's different? I mean, I will say the things that I feel like I love the question that I feel like are impacting our curiosity is I do feel like our education system impacts our curiosity, that we have a system, which is what we all grew up in which values answers more than questions. And I think that that significantly impacts our curiosity on a global scale. The kind of curiosity though, that I work with a lot is around the intrapersonal, intra and interpersonal like being curious about myself, and how I work and then being curious about somebody else. And I do think that this is where social media, and things like that that have created these ideals of perfection, perhaps keep us from becoming more genuinely curious. Like, we're afraid to be curious about ourselves, and be vulnerable with ourselves. Because we feel like the outside world doesn't have a lot of tolerance or room or, you know, grace and acceptance for imperfection. And then with anybody else, like it's amazing how many times I'll hear why can't ask that question that's too personal, or I can't ask that question that, you know, would be too vulnerable. Yet, as you've said, it's those very things that actually bring us into deeper connection with each other. So I think in terms of historically, whether it's more or less, I do think that Curiosity has a negative impact. I mean, that social media has a negative impact on our curiosity. And I also think the the other way that social media has a negative impact on our curiosity is through all the comparative I mean, social media, by its nature is comparative. Let me show you what I'm doing today. How does that measure up to where you're doing, let me show you what I look like or what I'm wearing, or the greatest achievement I've just made. And for most people, that activates a sense of comparison, which as someone else looks bigger and bolder, we look smaller, it takes a lot, a lot of I think personal confidence and self insecurity in oneself, to always be graciously celebratory and happy for other people's successes without having any pangs of self doubt or comparison. And it makes us as you said, Curlin, and you get small, and we're not curious, when we kind of curl up and go into our shells, we're not curious about us. We're not curious about others, we just fall deeper into a sense of insignificance. And that worries me, right? That worries me with young people I see where he's always worries me about people, because I think we're all subject to it. And that curiosity is one of the reasons I do what I do, right, we've got to provide more tools and strategies and safety and inspiration for that curiosity to grow. Alright, now I get to ask you a question. Oh, as if I haven't already asked you. Things like that. Alright, but I'm gonna go somewhere here. So you interior both Italian. So what is your most perhaps, what is the Italian trait about yourself that perhaps you are most proud of and least proud of?

Ah, I think we'll start with the least proud of is I'm gonna I'll probably end up with what my mother calls Sicilian Alzheimer's where you forget everything but the grudge. The most thing that I'm most proud of is our sense of family and our sense of, we want everybody to be part of our family where we want everybody to be, you know, it come into our home we want and that's why I was soon as you sign on the dotted line and as you become part of the Gulen family, and it's being very family oriented, and being very close with the people, we work with people and our friends in our friendship group. That is the one thing that I'm most proud of our our Italian American heritage and upbringing is that we have a strong sense of family and community.

Well, I will say that is absolutely true that as soon as you become a client of mass Antares, you become part of that Antares family it's no mistake that he's sitting here next to me because I'm in so much fun that day. I was like alright, we have to keep this relationship going. So Matt, if people are interested in your photography, how and where did they find that niche photography?

Honey internet is Matt me photography or the shorter version Matt meet and on Instagram, my wedding handle is Matt need weddings. And then we have a portrait account too, which is just mapping portraits. And our Facebook is just started business Facebook with Mattamy photography.

And so if you, right, you're located in the Erie Pennsylvania area, right? And so, but do you work with people who might be in other places?

We do? Yeah, we are. We have passports a way to travel. So we, as far as not using our passports, we usually work a lot in Pittsburgh, and like Ligonier in the Pittsburgh surrounding area. Occasionally Cleveland occasionally buffalo, but mainly Pittsburgh, and all points in between Pittsburgh area.

Awesome. And, you know, I would say just from my own experience to that. I think people who are if you're thinking about photography for any reason, you know, whether you're close enough, are able to bring that in, or you're just thinking about your photography, I think a great outcome of today's conversation is for people to really think about, what do I want to have portrayed through the photography that I take, whether it's for a website, or for a job board, or resumes or any of those kinds of things? What is it I really want to have portrayed? What do I want people to see about me through this photography, and that that is such a, it's a would be a beautiful question for people to consider before they make that choice as to who is going to do the photography, or what picture the pictures they're going to choose to show.

In the NLB condition, some great questions to ask your photographer and if it doesn't even necessarily have to be me. Even if your photographer can't answer those as a straight, give you a straight answer that maybe they're not the photographer for you, then keep looking for that person that's willing to do those things for you. And they're out there, trust me.

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the episode today on the podcast today. And, you know, once again, the reminder that as you had into Halloween, maybe in the days leading before it, you really take that time to look at yourself, honestly in the mirror and zoom camera, and to look you know, deeply into the souls of some other people that you care about in your life before we all go putting on our Halloween masks and costumes. Thank you, Matt.

Well, it's my pleasure. My pleasure. Thank you for thank you for hiring us and making now that you're part of our family want to do that. Let's do another one of these.

Absolutely. And join us back in November because in November, this I believe will be couraged to be curious as fourth year being a sponsor of the you matter marathon one of the sponsors of the you matter marathon and it's the you matter marathon no running required but it is a month during which globally, people are really considering how they can convey to people that they know and that they don't know you matter. My colleague and friend Cheryl rice founded the you matter marathon you can go to you met a marathon I believe it's dot org and check it out. But we are going to have Cheryl on we're going to have other people really talking about how do we cultivate and create a sense of people belonging kind of the way Matt's talking about how do we make people part of our family or make people feel comfortable and safe and as though they really matter in the world. So that's where we'll be going in November. So stay with us and keep joining us all the way through the end of the year.

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