Mat Hughes b. 1964
I started my photographic practice in film. Just before digital photography took off I found myself taking a different career path. Following the birth of my daughter, I resumed my professional 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’m 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. I find myself working in a happy space where in my mind, photographic based image-making overlaps with Printmaking practice. As a result, my work carries these influences. Indeed, photopolymer-based photogravure has increasingly become part of my workflow.
In a time where there is a prevalence for imagery that displays an appetite for granular sharpness and subject matter leaving little to the imagination, my work contrasts with a 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 the horizon and fascinated in how the land unfolds along the way. And as a relative newcomer to this country I continue to explore this landscape around me.
At a base level my work is a personal response to my new 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 with 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.
2018 Quiet Time: Above Savage River - Gasworks Arts Park
2016 In Flux - Consulate-General of Japan
2020 Journeys and 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
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