Monday 16 September 2019

matthew thompson

Julia Molony

He was a runner-up in the prestigious Observer-Hodge photographic award. His entry was a shot taken while he was camping out in the Sahara desert. Getting so far in the competition "provided the vote of confidence that I needed to go 'bugger it, this is going to work,'" says Matthew.

He was a successful graphic designer and art director, but before long the impact of his sideline photography projects began to overtake his primary career. Taking pictures started off as a part-time hobby for Matthew, but as his distinctive style took off and commissions started pouring in, Matthew realised it was time to reassess his priorities.

He's greatly in demand for a wide range of projects. Matthew's work combines a rare mix of a socially conscious heart and a ruthlessly commercial ethic. His portfolio demonstrates an eclectic mix, ranging from his pet project, Lifelines -- an emotionally charged study in humanity featuring people's faces and hands -- to projects for Ulster bank and Cruickshank and Co.

He regularly travels the world, waking at 5am in the morning to get the best light. He knows no limits when it comes to his art, and has already travelled all around the world, to places such as Mongolia and India, in search of the perfect shot.

His work speaks for itself. Though his favourite projects are ones which allow him to take an "academically rigorous" approach, ultimately it's the emotion that counts. "In a way, every photographer tries to explain what they are doing but nobody can," he says. "In the end, you can't help bringing your emotion and the way you feel about your subjects to the work."

When fashion designer Helen Cody saw examples of his work, she loved it so much she trusted him to showcase her collections. That he had no experience of fashion photography was immaterial to Cody, who fell in love the dramatic intensity of his photographs.

He did the photography and graphics on album covers for JJ72. The crisp style and creative flexibility that he developed while working as a designer has allowed him to be an edgy, rounded professional.

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