A Perfectionist‘s Guide to Seattle’s Architectural Wonders

Being a perfectionist can be frustrating at times – for the perfectionist as well as people who surround them. Nonetheless, it’s often underpinned by an insatiable passion for the thing that one is perfecting – as is the case with Seattle photographer Matt Reames and his love for capturing architecture.


Matt likes to play with light, shadow, and symmetry. Just recently, he started working with colour – much to the liking of his followers. Changing up the hues of his images’ skies has taken his skills a step forward and opened up new opportunities: “I want to take that even further.”

Find out what Matt wants to convey with his work and what his first photography destination outside of Seattle will be next year.

THE PLUS: Tell us about your fascination for architecture and design.
Matt Reames:
My fascination for architecture and design comes from my love for minimalism, controlling complex environments and situations, and being a perfectionist. I work on my photos for hours in Lightroom to create perfect lines and angles that are balanced. Architecture, to me, is simple and complex at the same time, and being able to capture that and portray it in my work really pleases me.

TP: What are your favourite architecture styles?
I really love shooting all types of different architectural styles, but the ones that really catch my attention are neo-futurism, avant-garde, structural expressionism, and deconstructivism.


TP: You like to play with light and shadow. How do you know when it’s the best moment to take a shot?
A lot of my work does play with light and shadow quite a bit, and that’s really what got me started with architectural photography. Timing my shots is sometimes difficult, especially right now with it being December in Seattle. But when the sky is clear, I’ll head out in the early afternoon when the sun is just starting to shine directly overhead and stay out for hours to capture the shadows first touching buildings.

TP: Why is Seattle especially challenging?
It starts to get dark here around 4:30 pm in December, so I’m able to get some really nice shots in the afternoon. The main challenge at the moment is waiting for a sunny day.


TP: Colour plays a special role in your images. How does changing your images’ colour palette enhance your work?
It was not until recently that I started playing with colour in my photos. My first real photo where I manipulated colour was “521”, shot in the International District here in Seattle.

TP: How did your viewers react to that?
People really responded to that photo. I saw a lot of interaction when it was posted and made shirts available for a limited time upon request. With my recent work, I’ve combined contrasting light and shadow with contrasting colours, which I believe create a strikingly surreal scene that makes my work unique.

TP: Is there an underlying message or emotion you want to convey with your work? If yes, what is it?
There’s not so much a message or emotion that I want to convey, but inspiration. I want to encourage people to observe their surrounds by looking up, instead of looking down at their smartphones all the time. I have a few friends and acquaintances, like Paolo E.T. Hugo, that are always sending me photos or tagging me in photos saying, “spookymatt vibes” and I really love that.

TP: Tell us about your personal feelings while working.
Much like I do when I’m out shooting, I’m frozen with my equipment in hand moving ever so slightly to get the perfect angle. I listen to soundtracks by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, including my favourite, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’m usually focused only on what I’m doing in that moment, whether it be shooting or editing, thinking only about what the final piece is going to look like.


TP: Where do you go to take your shots?
I usually go down to 2nd Ave in Seattle and start with a cup of coffee at my favourite coffee shop before heading out and walking for miles around Pioneer Square, International District, and downtown Seattle. I haven’t really shot in other cities, but I’m extremely excited about shooting during my trip to Japan in the spring and am thinking about visiting New York City for the first time sometime next year.

TP: Do you have an idol or someone whose work you like especially?
Some of my favourite people whose work I follow and especially love include Simone Hutsch, Eric Randall Morris, Matthieu Venot, Kevin Krautgartner, Jacek Nowak and Jeroen Peters.

TP: What is the story behind the numbers in your images’ titles?
The numbers that I use for my photos’ titles are the street number of the building. Sometimes, I do forget to write them down though and instead take three or four letter words and convert them into numbers using a keypad.

TP: In terms of developing your skill and style, what is the next step you want to take?
To further develop my style, I want to travel a lot more and continue to work with colour. When I started to work with colour, I was really stepping out of my comfort zone, but I want to take that even further.