Matt Mills McKnight

Matt Mills McKnight

Based
Seattle, Washington
Born
Los Angeles, United States
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 5D Mark II
“Even if you are tired and don't think there is another good image to be made, stick around. Some of the best pictures I've taken when working on projects or assignments have come about through patience.”

Beat

I shoot general news, portraits, travel and features. Some deeper topics I have been covering in the Pacific Northwest include gun rights and racism.

One Shot

. SANDPOINT, United States. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight
The moon casts a reddish hue over Lake Pend Oreille during a lunar eclipse as it begins to set behind the Selkirk Mountain Range
“One cold early morning of December 2011 in northern Idaho, I set out around Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River to make an image for myself of a lunar eclipse. I was struggling to find a good backdrop to illustrate the beauty of a reddening moon over the horizon, so I parked the car and walked through the snow to the riverbank. That's when the clouds started to clear and the lone wood cabin in the distance created a feeling of peace. I stood bundled up in the freezing temperatures and soaked in the fleeting lunar eclipse as it set behind the Selkirk Mountains.”

Profile

One of my first memories of photography is my father walking with an old SLR camera down the beach in Monterey, California when I was a kid – a place that we would visit every summer as I grew older. Some of my first pictures, although not my best, were made there.

My high school offered some photo classes back before the digital days, when we were given photo assignments and got to spend time in the dark room. That was when I learnt how much I love talking about and sharing photography with others.

After high school I pursued some other career paths, but I kept making photos, and later realised that I wanted to make photography my life's work. So I went back to school and immersed myself with the wonderful faculty at San Francisco State University, where I earned a degree in photojournalism.

While visiting New York City for meetings in 2011, I mentioned to an editor at Reuters, Gary Hershorn, that I would be spending time in Glacier National Park on a camping trip. His eyes lit up and he asked if I would like my first assignment for the company. A week later I was staring at mountain goats and glaciers.

I covered May Day protests in Seattle this year for Reuters, and it was one of the more intense photographic situations I have ever experienced. This year's peaceful protests turned to riots in the evening, and police aggressively fired into the crowd using devices that were a hybrid of flashbangs and pepper spray – the effects of which were not particularly pleasant. The mayhem that went on for a short time and the way police and protesters were treating each other made their mark on me. I'm hoping in the future there will be a non-violent way for demonstrators to voice their concerns on May Day.

Stories with social or environmental relevance excite me the most, and when I want to escape from the heavier topics I find shooting travel work is a breath of fresh air. I love the challenge of meeting a new person and making their portrait in a way that says something about who they are.

I love sharing photography from around the globe with other people, and I enjoy covering topics that interest a wide audience and can help spur discussion about the world we live in.

My biggest lesson has been to always stay a little while longer. Even if you are tired and don't think there is another good image to be made, stick around. Some of the best pictures I've taken when working on projects or assignments have come about through patience.

Behind the Scenes

. Spirit Lake, Idaho. Jerome A. Pollos
Matt Mills McKnight shoots pictures while covering wolf management protesters in Spirit Lake, Idaho.