Pittsburgh’s photographic scene has changed dramatically since the 1990s, as more photographers are coming into the business and photographers have been working longer hours.
There are now hundreds of photo shops in Pittsburgh and photographers like Matt Dillard are working to keep them alive.
“The industry has gone through a transformation,” Dillard said.
“I think that’s a great thing, because it’s a natural evolution for any creative business.
We’ve seen a lot of changes in the past 20 years.”
Dillard has been a photographer for five years and started his career with a digital camera in 2002.
Now, he’s a certified digital landscape photographer, and his clients include the Pittsburgh Steelers, the United Nations, and more.
“I think what I bring to the table is that I know what I’m doing,” he said.
“When I’m creating, I think about it as a digital photographer.
I’m not a professional in any way, shape, or form.
I can’t create a product for the customer.
I’ve always been a filmmaker, a photographer, a storyteller, a filmmaker.
I really love to tell stories and I want to do that in a way that’s as authentic as possible.”
With his professional image, Dillard is known for his versatility, and he’s also been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association as one of the best photographers in the country.
He said that since he started working in the business, he has learned a lot about his clients and how they use their photos.
“They like to get a sense of their surroundings, they like to be able to see things, they want to know what’s around them,” he explained.
“It’s a very collaborative process.”
One of his clients, the Steelers, is one of Dillard’s most important clients, he said, because they’re a big fan of his work.
“He’s like my brother,” he recalled.
“He’s my biggest fan.
I don’t know if he’ll ever have the chance to work with him again.”
He said he hopes to see a resurgence of the photography industry in the future, but it’s up to photographers to take action.
“What I want people to understand is that the best photography is done with a passion,” he added.
“You have to do what you love and make it better for your audience.”