Mat Hughes b. 1964
I began my photographic practice with film. Just before digital photography really took off, I found myself taking a different career path. After the birth of my daughter, I resumed my photographic practice reskilling myself for the digital age. In the last few years however, I have returned to my photographic roots, namely film-based photography.
I work mainly with large format cameras. Owing to their weight and the amount of equipment involved, location work tends to be slow and carefully considered. As a stay-at-home Dad, I am not always able to get out, therefore I’ve been doing a lot of still-life set ups, despite the inconvenience to the rest of the household!
My work is pictorial. My heroes are the artists who embraced photography at the turn of the 18th & 19th century. My happy place is where photographic image-making overlaps with printmaking practice. As a result, my work carries these influences.
In a time where the everyday vogue is for imagery that displays granular sharpness and subject matter that leaves little to the imagination, my work contrasts with a far more traditional and reflective aesthetic. As a Photographer I am seeking the mystery and beauty that hide the shadows. And as a Darkroom Printer I’m looking to celebrate the handmade nature of the process and the work.
My practice is certainly not limited to film. I work in the confluence of both technologies, film and digital, with each providing their individual and combined range of possibilities.
I was born in Libya on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Whilst I don’t remember much, I carry with me a love of wide-open spaces. I am drawn to distant horizons and fascinated by the landscape as it unfolds along the way. And as a relative newcomer to this country, I continue to explore the land that surrounds me.
At the base level, my work is a personal response to my locale and the discoveries that I make along the way. I often fixate on the minutia of shape and form. The medium that I have chosen to work in allows me to distil a landscape or detail and reveal a simplicity that interests me. Through direct observation and translation, I can understand and make sense of my surroundings and enjoy their subtle forms.
It is important that my finished work includes a reference to photographic history and tradition. On a physical level I aim to create work that is both warm and tactile and describes a provenance and depth of thought.
2021 Flora - Heritage Hill Museum & Gallery, Dandenong Arts
2021 Heysen Prize for Landscape – Hahndorf Academy, South Australia
2020 Journeys & Discoveries, Bayside Gallery, Brighton
2019 Group Chemistry-Friends of Photography Group-Brunswick Street Gallery
2019 Extending Tradition 2 – Lightbox Gallery-Astoria, United States of America
2019 The Print Exposed-Gold Street Studios
2018 Group Chemistry-Friends of Photography Group-Brunswick Street Gallery
2017 City of Knox-Immerse Arts Festival
2016 Shoot V2-Melbourne Arts Club Gallery
2016 In Flux-Brunswick Street Gallery
2018 Quiet Time: Above Savage River - Gasworks Arts Park
2016 In Flux - Consulate-General of Japan
2021 Heysen Prize for Landscape – Hahndorf Academy, South Australia-Finalist
2016 Click 16-Finalist, Brunswick Street Gallery
2015 Click 15-Finalist, Brunswick Street Gallery
2018 View Camera Australia-Artist profile
2017 The Hand Magazine-Contributing Artist
2016 New Landscape Photography-Featured Artist
2019 Guest Artist-Exhibition Opening-Melbourne Camera Club
1981-1984 Plymouth College of Art & Design, United Kingdom