As an award-winning art director, Matt Crump had a highly developed sense of color and composition. But he would never have dreamt this would would grow into a hugely popular second career as a photographer synonymous with a candy-coloured, minimalist aesthetic.
Matt’s brilliance is to visit a location we think we are very familiar with – London, Israel, France, Miami, Disneyland – and then, through his lens, present it to us in a thrillingly unexpected way. His approach helped him amass 175,000 Instagram followers and spun off into a hashtag #candyminimal – which in turn led to a dedicated @candyminimal account (110,000 followers and counting).
We spoke to him about his work and about Instagram in particular, the platform on which his terrific talents have been given free rein…
What kind of locations are you drawn to? Are these particularly well-known because of their bright colors (like Disneyland) or do you find places based on other criteria?
My guiding light is color. Color is magic to me; that’s really all I look for when I’m searching for locations. I also like taking photos of iconic places so I can put my own spin on them. That way, I can show people familiar sites in a way they’ve never seen before.
What makes Instagram such a good platform to promote your imagery? What if Instagram ceased to exist tomorrow, which platform would you use instead?
Instagram has the most supportive, engaged community of any social network I’ve used, so it’s a perfect place to share my art. There’s no comparable platform, not even close. Without Instagram, I’d need to get creative to figure out how to get my work in front of people’s eyeballs. The next best thing would be blogging. Let’s just not imagine a world without Instagram.
Now that you are “Instagram famous” what do you think are the preconditions for a popular Instagram shot? What elements make an image go viral?
I’ll start by saying I hate the term “Instagram famous” and nobody should aspire to be Instagram famous! I also don’t think anybody should try to force their photos to meet certain criteria in order to achieve a high number of likes.
The only reason I’ve achieved success on Instagram is because I did me. I don’t try to make my photos like anyone else’s, and I post what I want. Trailblazing on Instagram with your own personal style is the only honest way to be “Instagram famous.”
Also, everyone’s audience is unique and they like different things. For instance, a photo I post on my feed might do great, but on someone else’s feed it might tank. So, my advice here is to post your own creative content that doesn’t fit anybody’s standards but your’s.
Your @candyminimal account and hashtag has lifted off and a lot of Instagrammers started to mimic your style. Has that, and in what way, influenced your way of thinking about ownership?
I only own my photos, nothing else. Part of the reason #candyminimal is so successful is because it’s an open-source movement. Anyone can participate. And seeing other people’s spin on a style I created inspired me and encourages me to be better.