Mathew Hasegawa – Electrical Engineer, Photographer

February 1, 2013

A few weeks ago, we interviewed a great up-and-coming photographer. We took a couple weeks off from photography to talk video producing and web development, but this week we’re going to jump back to photography for just a minute.

As I explained before, I love photography. No, I’m not a professional photographer, nor is that where I’m headed. It’s strictly a hobby, but one I enjoy immensely. For that reason, I want to dive deeper into the minds of some still-frame geniuses.

On deck this week is actually a friend of a previous photographer interviewee by the name of Mathew Hasegawa. While he came recommended to me, we coincidentally went to the same high school and college, even though we were separated by a year.

Take just a couple minutes to get to know an indirect friend and photography expert, Mathew Hasegawa!

What is your name, title, and the company you work for?

My name is Mathew Hasegawa and I work as an Electrical Engineer with a large defense contractor in Orlando, FL.

If asked what you do as an Electrical Engineer, what would you say?

Without divulging too much (because I’m not supposed to), I provide engineering analysis on faulty test equipment for the Air Force. I also write software that helps facilitate testing various electronics. Overall, I’m a problem-solver. I spend a lot of time trying to solve various issues whether that is testing hardware or writing code.

What made you want to become a photographer?

From a very young age, I had always had an interest in photography and images. I remember looking at pictures through those toy View-Masters. As I got older I remember playing with Polaroids and then the Polaroid Izone’s that would make little 1 inch pictures.

I was always fascinated with this technology; I could take a snapshot and have this memento frozen in time. When I got my first few digital cameras I remember starting to think about how I wish some of the photos weren’t so dark or bright and started learning how to do really simple edits. For years it became more obsessive for me to “fix” these photographs or make them more “efficient” by re-compressing them (I know better now).

Then I started reading more and more online about how to take better photographs. I finally decided I was enjoying it enough that I wanted to get a camera that was better than my current point-and-shoot Panasonic TZ3…so I bought my first DSLR. I actually didn’t even use it that much the first year or so and engulfed myself in reading about photography.

When I finally got around to actually taking photos I was hooked. I loved having an outlet for doing something creative. In my day job, things can be very regimented. Sometimes there’s no room for creativity. Photography allows me to still do all the technical geeky stuff with equipment and number ratios for exposure but it also allows me much more creative flexibility in trying to frame shots the way I want. I like being able to snap a photograph of someone at a specific time I choose, doing so because that’s the emotion or feeling I want to portray. Or I like looking at a landscape, cityscape, or other subject and determining what kind of interesting shot I might be able to get out of this.

Who are some of your inspirations in the field of design, photography, or the arts as a whole?

I still consider myself an amateur hobbyist and I’m always looking for inspiration. I’ve found having my own photography blog has helped me connect with other photographers where I’m able to look at their work and take cues and inspiration from them and often learn a thing or two.

Outside of the blogging world I really enjoy the work of Blair Bunting, Joe Edelman, and Scott Bourne.

But more so than following a specific photographer, I just enjoy looking at photos that appeal to me and often I try to learn from them, whether it be technique or creativity.

What makes you most excited about working with photography or any part of the medium?

I enjoy the fact that it’s really up to you as the photographer to determine what your photo looks like. Even if you overcome the technical part of taking a photograph, that doesn’t necessarily make a photograph mean anything. I enjoy the challenge of trying to make a photograph mean something. Even if it means something only to myself.

What do you expect (or want) to see happen within the photography field over the next several years?

I see technology making photography a much easier art form for people to get experience and become involved with. Actually, I would say that’s already taking place with increasingly improved cameras in smartphones and new social sharing sites like Facebook and Instagram. But I see that also in terms of post production. The advancements in Photoshop and Lightroom continue to impress and I see those two applications becoming more powerful yet easier to use as time goes on.

Video will also become more prevalent. DSLRs are great for shooting video, but sometimes it can be extremely cumbersome currently. I see the next biggest advancement, as far as DSLRs are concerned, in the technology evolving to allow shooting high-quality videos with greater ease.

If you had to choose a different, completely unrelated career, what would that look like?

In a fun, no worries world, if I had to choose a completely unrelated career than my day job, and it wasn’t photography related, then I would have to say some type of entertainer (actor, comedian). That would probably come as a shock to people that know me, but I think acting would have been really fun to try. But in reality, I probably would have become a math teacher or doctor.

Is there anything else, personal or professional, people should know about you?

I’m currently working, going back to school, and raising my first daughter but I do plan on updating my photography blog as often as I can with new work. I actually created it to make sure that I don’t neglect to do something photography related for long periods of time.

I enjoy my photography and I’m looking towards expanding more into the world of portraiture photography. That’s an area I enjoy on a personal level when I’m out with friends and family on vacation or hanging out, but I’ve always been deterred from getting into it in a more serious/professional manner because it is a lot of pressure to try and make sure your subjects actually enjoy the results. However, I’m definitely looking at venturing into that world now that I have had some time behind my camera.

Some of Mathew’s Photography

By Mathew Hasegawa

By Mathew Hasegawa

By Mathew Hasegawa

By Mathew Hasegawa

By Mathew Hasegawa

By Mathew Hasegawa

By Mathew Hasegawa

By Mathew Hasegawa

Where You Can Find Mathew

Official Website – An Asian and His Camera