Image: Boy in Dunes (detail) © Matt Hind

Matt Hind, one of twenty students currently exhibiting in The Art Fund Prize Gallery, part of the annual UCA Farnham MFA Photography Show, talks through his inspirations, his past work and what the future may hold.

The former fashion photographer discusses how fine art photography differs from commercial photography and how he uses maleness as his influence.

Your background is in fashion photography. How has that informed your fine art projects?

I was always drawn to shooting fashion in a commercial and editorial context because of the opportunity it gave me to travel and meet people from around the world. Increasingly, as I shot more men’s fashion, I became interested in how adolescent male identity was being depicted visually in our society and how traditional concepts of masculinity were being challenged.

Fine art photography is very broad and can almost include anything and everything. Have you found this harder to work with as a brief, say, compared to fashion?

Undoubtedly. When you embrace a so-called "fine art" approach, the essential difference is the level of failure you have to embrace in pursuing intensely personal projects. This is a challenging mind-shift but necessary to make the leap from a commercially-driven practice to a fine art one. 

Perast © Matt Hind

Your work on your Instagram account shows vintage style images with a nostalgic feel. Do you consciously do this, or are you naturally drawn to it?

I’ve always been influenced by past photographic epochs, especially when creating narratives for editorial fashion stories, but I’m also interested in how a photographic reference to the past, either real or manufactured, can heighten nostalgic sentiment in the viewer. I think this interest in the past originated from looking at family albums and studying the work of great fashion and documentary photographers of the mid-20th century period.

You mention in the artist statement displayed beside your work that you are very interested in the 'blurred lines between adolescence and manhood'. When researching a project, what is your creative process and how do you collate information?

I’m a father of a daughter and a son, both in their late teens. Their adolescent rite of passage is hugely evocative for me and gives me a sense of perspective of a similar time in my own life. My son has only recently recovered from a serious accident that made me question whether I was really embracing and pursuing my creative passions. It woke me up to the idea of engaging with themes around youth and memory. The starting point was the memory of my own youth, but the inspiration came from seeing my son recover from his accident right at the time he was becoming a young man.

Swimmer © Matt Hind

What’s the next step for you and your work?

I’d really like to challenge myself to create arresting contemporary work that is framed by my interest in memory and youth, but not overly reliant on manufactured nostalgic references.

I want to develop my research and explore my motives in order to commit to producing a body of work that articulates my emotional response to male youth, which is inevitably a constant reminder of my own mortality.

Sam's shoulder © Matt Hind

Looking at Matt’s work, there is a clear vintage influence: airy, grainy photographs with a nostalgic high fashion feel. There is also a candid element, where you don’t directly see the direct face of the subject – either from over the shoulder or a side profile is all you glimpse, making you feel like the images were not staged but caught in the moment.

The UCA Farnham MFA Photography Show runs until 2 February in The Art Fund Prize Gallery.

Would you like to exhibit your work at The Lightbox? Get in touch to hire the Art Fund Prize Gallery.