Matthew Finn

Matthew Finn is another photographer that my tutor has recommended that I take a look at for my assignment 3 preparation. Matthew Finn obtained his photography degree from Derby University in 1994 and thereafter went on to get his MA in Photographic Studies from Westminster University and was the recipient of the Jerwood/Photoworks Award in 2015.

Finn found a job at the Leeds College of Art and started photographing the students at the college. Finn’s “School of Art looks at the environments, where these creative young individuals cultivated ideas and opinions and made work that they believed in whilst still adhering to the old traditions still relevant in the Art School” (Finn).

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From the School of Art series by Matthew Finn
finn-soa01
From the School of Art series by Matthew Finn

Finn also has two other long projects: one of his mother who he has been collaborating with since 1987, documenting her day to day life going about her daily routine and gradually capturing the inevitable deterioration of old age as she suffers from dementia and has to be moved to a care facility. Finn states that his relationship with his mother was strengthened during the course of the project (Jerwood Visual Arts). Over the course of this project he has taken over 50,000 images of his mother.

finn-mother01
From Mother series by Matthew Finn

She started to arrange me, telling me where to stand, telling me how close I could go in with the lens and at which angle she was happy to be photographed. In a sense, my mother played the part of director and I was simply the technician pressing the button.

(Finn in Jerwood Visual Arts)

finn-mother02
From Mother series by Matthew Finn

The other project is a 25 year long documentation of his uncle from the age of 54 until his death at the age of 84, also going about his daily life. I found the series of his mother and uncle extremely poignant, sometimes sad and sometimes a little humorous. It is this documentation of everyday life, of the things and actions that we take for granted that are most touching.

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From Uncle series by Matthew Finn
finn-uncle02
From Uncle series by Matthew Finn

Finn’s use of light and dark and layering through reflections is of particular interest to me. Most of the work is in monochrome. The layering adds a depth and extra emotion to the images, while the contrasting light/darkness provides lots of visual interest and in the Mother and Uncle series also adds to the emotion of the images. I find that I have more of an emotional connection to these two bodies of work and find them intensely personal, perhaps owing to the fact that I lost my mother in June last year and my father is steadily fading.

I do not have the same type of connection with his School of Art series. While the work is good, it does not arouse any emotion in me. The students are either trying to pose as a celebrity or they just look plain bored (for the most part). Compared to his other two bodies of work these portraits are also very static. Some of Finn’s influences were “Nan Goldin, Nicholas Nixon, Emmet Gowin and Bernd and Hilla Becher” (Jerwood Visual Arts).

 

Reference List

Finn, Matthew (n.d.) School of Art [online] Available at: http://www.mattfinn.com/g-29-student-portraits.html?p=3 [Accessed 1 January, 2017]

Francesca Maffeo Gallery (2016) C0008 4 Matthew Finn Final 2 [online] [user-generated content online] Creat. Francesca Genovese 3 mins 50 secs Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsDwr0kNsJE (Accessed 1 January, 2017)

Lizzie Homersham (2015) Matthew Finn: ‘Mother’, the family home and photography [online]. Available at: http://blog.jerwoodvisualarts.org/?p=3104 [Accessed 1 January, 2017]

Images

Finn, Matthew (n.d.) Mother [online] Available at: http://www.mattfinn.com/g-28-mother.html?p=7 [Accessed 1 January, 2017]

Finn, Matthew (n.d.) Uncle [online] Available at: http://www.mattfinn.com/g-27-uncle.html?p=9 [Accessed 1 January, 2017]

Finn, Matthew (n.d.) School of Art [online] Available at: http://www.mattfinn.com/g-29-student-portraits.html?p=3 [Accessed 1 January, 2017]

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