Matthew is a writer and a photographer based in North London, UK.
His first solo exhibition was Chora at Hagi Art in Tokyo in January-February 2020. It continues at Landabout in Ueno.
His photography has been included in group shows at Art Santa Fe 2019, in Portland, Minneapolis, Venice, and at the Museo di Casa Giorgione in Castelfranco. He will be part of an upcoming show at ARTEXPO 2020 in New York with NYC4PA.
Matthew’s first novel is The Waking (Wundor Editions 2017). His first collection of poetry is Sea of the Edge (Wundor Editions 2018).
Matthew’s poetry has been published in The London Magazine, Acumen, Envoi, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Orbis. He was a winner at The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2018. He also won the Orbis Readers’ Award in March 2019. Matthew has been shortlisted for various other awards.
He reads English Literature at Christ Church College, Oxford.
How did you decide to become a photographer?
Matthew: As a teenager, I was always trying to decide whether to follow my literary aspirations or my urge to make visual work. I would draw and make pictures but ultimately I decided against art school and studied English Literature at university. It was six years ago, around the age of thirty, that the visual work came back in the form of photography.
What is most challenging about photography for you?
Matthew: Aside from when you travel, as a photographer you have to work with what’s around you. It’s not like writing a story, where you can dream up a whole new stage set with everything you need. Seeing unexpected pictures emerge from time spent walking the same parts of London is exciting.
Who were your early influences?
What is the gear you have used in the past and present?
Matthew: I first took photographs with my full attention in Venice in my mid-teens on my dad’s old Olympus OM-1. Now I use a Leica M4 with 50mm Summicron v4 and 90mm Elmarit-M. I also use a Hasselblad 503cw with 80mm CF lens and 250mm C lens. I have a Sigma DP2 Quattro which I use occasionally for digital work. My tripod is an ALPA Novoflex with a RRS 55mm ballhead.
What makes photography unique as a medium, in your opinion?
Matthew: It is the only artistic medium where the world itself is the raw material. To take photos, I go for a walk, and every walk becomes an adventure.
Can you describe a real-life situation that inspired your artwork?
Matthew: Everything – it’s often the apparently insignificant events that seem to reappear later in photos and poems.
It has been said that “An image says more than a thousand words”. Is there a connection between your writing and photography?
Matthew: Yes, writing and photography come from the same creative place, directed into different media. Each can do things the other can’t. I feel the strongest sense of connection between my writing and photography when I am making a hidden narrative in a series of photographs. They can stand alone as separate images, but the novelist in me enjoys making the concerted whole.
Can you tell us a bit more about your collection of poetry “Sea of the Edge”?
Matthew: Sea of the Edge for me represents coming home to myself and my imagination. There are lots of references to home, love, and the vast distances we seem to put between ourselves and others, the way that the imagination can bring us together or divide us. Writing the collection for me meant reconciling the powers the imagination has to create and to destroy.
How has your photography and poetry evolved over the years?
Matthew: The more I evolve as a writer and a photographer, the more enjoyable the work becomes. I’d like to think the process of making things has become stranger and more familiar at the same time.
Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about (or canceled due to the Covid-19 situation)?
Matthew: My series Chora was showing at Hagi Art in Tokyo from January to February of this year. It has now moved to Landabout hotel in Ueno for the foreseeable future, but covid-19 means it’s not accessible for now. You can go to see it there when the lockdown is over.
What are your plans for the future?
Matthew: I’ve recently finished a new series of photographs. I’ll be showing some work at ARTEXPO NY in New York in October. I’m also working on my new poetry collection and my second novel. I have two girls, a three-year-old and a six-month-old baby, so they are keeping us busy for now, especially until life returns to normal!