• Matthew Chang
  • “Arizona Nights,” by Matthew Chang

Matthew Chang, Second Place Cover Contest Winner

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“Arizona Nights,” by 18-year-old Matthew Chang, was selected by our judges as the 2nd place 2019 Creative Outlook Cover Contest winner.

A freshman at Texas A&M University, Chang favorite form of artistic expression is photography.

He first started taking pictures in elementary school with his dad’s camera.

“Over the years, I developed a greater interest in photography, specifically in landscapes,” he said. “Seventh grade was the first time I started sharing my pictures on social media, and I got a lot of positive feedback. That was when I realized that my pictures were something that not only I could enjoy, but something that others could enjoy as well.”

It’s the unique perspectives presented by artists through their work that draws Chang into the world of art.

“There are infinite possibilities of what an artist can create, and no two pieces of art are the exact same,” he said. “I think that is the beauty of art – because it gives the audience a physical expression of how the artist sees the world.”

Chat with the Winner

In what ways has art impacted your life?

I post my landscape photography on Instagram (@moun10man) as a way to share my adventures with the world. I often get messages or comments saying that my photos are beautiful, but the most meaningful messages are the ones where people tell me that my photograph inspired them to get outside and explore.
What was your inspiration for the piece of art that won in our contest?

I had seen other photographers online who photographed “star trails,” but I had never tried it myself. On this night, I was camping with my friend in the Arizona desert, and it was too beautiful of a night to not try some star trails.

How would you describe your piece of art if it were in a museum and you were giving the museum tour to a group of patrons?

I call this photograph “Arizona Nights.” It’s actually not one photo, but a couple hundred photos of the Arizona night sky merged into one. It is a photography technique known as “star trails.” Star trails are created by photographing the movement of the stars through the sky, caused by the rotation of the Earth. I was camping with my friend, Blake, in Arizona and it was a beautiful night, so I decided to try to shoot some star trails. Since the stars appear to rotate in the sky around the North Star, I positioned my camera so that the North Star was behind a massive saguaro cactus. Then, I set my camera to take photos at an interval of 20 seconds for about an hour and a half. The result is meant to highlight the majesty of the saguaro by giving the illusion that the sky is rotating around it.

What is your dream job?

My dream is to be a missionary and engineer in the country of Nepal.

What would you say to other students who are interested in art but haven’t given it a try?

Try it! The awesome thing about art is that there are many types of art, and there’s not really a right or wrong way do things. Some people make a living off creating elaborate paintings, and some people doodle on their homework assignments. Whatever art may be for you, just have fun being creative.

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Alexia Lang holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. Lang has worked in newspapers, magazines, radio and blogs, producing award-winning content centered around community and the arts.

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