Interview with Matt Lumb, our Luscious Photographer

Pi the Mime, photograph courtesy of Plainview Media


Ever wondered who takes all the fabulous photos of our Luscious shows? Wonder no more, for this Friday we are interviewing Matt Lumb, founder of Plainview Media and card-carrying member of Team Luscious. Read on to find out what inspired the name of his company, why he enjoys shooting cabaret and variety shows, and how he ended up photographing The Klaxons in the middle of a snowstorm in the Alps.


Tell us a bit about your background. Did you always want to be a photographer, or is it a career choice that arose spontaneously?

I never had any grand plan to be a photographer but I’ve taken photographs and made (ridiculous) videos since being a youngling. After university I worked for 15 years in IT, mostly in the finance industry, and in 2013 through a series of events that are way too dull to describe here, I decided to do something for myself, so set up as a freelancer.


How did you first begin to work with Little Lady Luscious?
We can thank my local pub for that – the world-famous Cavendish Arms in Stockwell. A friend who was running the bar at the time put me in touch with Emily who was looking to get some photographs done. We met in the pub, probably over some beer (me) and gin (Emily), and arranged to do a shoot. The next time we met, Emily was on stage and I was behind the camera. One of us had fewer clothes on than the other.


You are the founder of your own company, Plainview Media. How did you choose that name?
People who know me are acutely aware that I am particularly fond of the film ‘There Will Be Blood’. And by ‘fond’ I mean I’m obsessed with it. The main character, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, is a determined yet slightly grumpy oil man called Daniel Plainview who happens to sport a tremendous moustache. You can work out the rest. By the way, if anyone’s interested in learning more about the film I’ll be running a lecture series later in the year.


Describe what an average day looks like for you.
Being a freelancer, it varies from day to day and week to week. This week is a good example: I’m writing this waiting for a flight home from Geneva after taking headshots for a Swiss bank (two days, 40 people, 1200+ images, so lots of editing to do tomorrow). On Monday and Tuesday I was at a dance studio in Fulham filming and photographing auditions for a big Christmas variety show. Next week the diary is half-full editing some interview footage as well as a morning filming in Paddington. So as it stands it looks like I’ll be able to get a good few hours in on the XBOX next week. Downtime is important, kids.


Many of your clients come from the entertainment industry, theatre and cabaret. Is there anything in particular which draws you to this world?
It’s a great environment to film and photograph because it’s so varied – from music to burlesque to comedy to mime to whatever else may be on the bill. It also makes you work, think and improve your technique because what’s in front of you is always changing. You’ve got to know how to deal with different lighting, different subjects, you’ve got to remember that it’s a show too, so being aware of the audience is important. For anyone starting out it’s a great place to learn the technicalities of taking photos.


Symone, photograph courtesy of Plainview Media


What is the craziest thing that you’ve witnessed while working as a photographer?
I’ll offer one serious and one not so. Serious first: I do a fair bit of work for a ski company and a couple of years ago I was lucky enough to cover the Rock the Pistes festival in Portes du Soleil. On the last day I found myself meeting then photographing The Klaxons through a snowstorm at the top of a mountain after a very boozy lunch. I think I pulled it off. Just.
And the not so serious one: Emily and I worked on a music video for the annoyingly talented Laurence Owen (you can see it here). During the shoot, Emily gave birth to a fully grown tattooed sailor. There was a wet fish involved too.


Describe your photography style in three words.
Tremendous, sublime, amazing, unique, modest. Is that three?


You can find out more about Matt’s work and Plainview Media on the company website