OUR WEBSITES
English
Basket
article added
Proceed to checkout

PORTFOLIO

28.03.2015

|
Share:
In collaboration with Photoworks, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation has nominated the winners of the inaugural, national Jerwood/Photoworks Awards. Leica photographer Matthew Finn is one of the winners. His award is endowed with a sum of 5.000 English pounds as well as a special mentoring programme to support him in realizing his long-term project, Mother. Since 1988, he has been photographing his mother in her home setting. In the continuation of the project, Finn will photograph his wife in similar situations and staged poses. We talked with him for the LFI Blog about his mother, Oedipus and photography, of course.


Why do you work in black and white?

It is a combination of several factors. Mentors at university like John Blakemore were renowned for their black and white practice; and my photographic heroes were, and still are, Lee Friedlander, Emmet Gowan, Garry Winogrand. The colour and space used by Americans like Richard Misrach, Joel Sternfeld, William Eggleston and later Nan Goldin seem a world away from the light and space available in Leeds, so black and white allows me to concentrate on formal picture making instead. I also love being in a darkroom making my own prints: having that control was, and still is, very important to my practice.


How did your wife react to the idea of her replacing your mother?

I guess it depends on how we interpret ‘replacing’? Maybe my idea and my wife’s are different. Photographically you could say it’s a straight swap. What’s interesting for me, is the notion of the relationship and how this may be conveyed through the photographs. From my wife’s perspective, she told me, “You can photograph me, but you can’t show me.” I’m still thinking about what we can show as a collaborative piece.


Is she dressed like your mother in the initial project? And if so, why?

No, but I hadn’t thought about approaching it like that; that’s something I may try out. But there’s a part of me that would find such an approach disturbing. It reminds me of Psycho and the relationship Norman Bates had with his mother. I’d be worried about how it would connect to the work on my mother and how that would be represented.


Would you say that your rather exceptional project has a bit of a Oedipus feel to it?

To want to keep going with any project focussing on one individual for such a long period of time (in this case 27 years) there has to be an element of obsession. As a son photographing his mother, you could see the work as a metaphor for ideas based around the Oedipus complex. I don’t think there’s anything in the formal arrangements of the images to suggest such a reading, but I understand the underlying tension in the work. For me the obsession comes from wanting to find out what happens next; maybe how it ends?


How will you continue the project?
I’m not sure. The backdrop of the home is very important and it’s the same house in all the images dating back to when the project started in 1988. The house became too large for my mum and has just recently been sold, so we’re looking to re house her in a smaller flat near her sister. On that level I see the project as coming to a natural finish, but maybe it’s just the end of a chapter. I may choose to continue the project in a new domestic setting. It’s difficult to let go of something you’ve been involved in for such a long time and I feel the project has defined my relationship with my mother.


A group exhibition of works resulting from the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards will open at Jerwood Space in November, 2015, as part of the Jerwood Visual Arts programme. It will later tour to other partner venues including the Impressions Gallery in Bradford. Further info at: photoworks.org.uk.
Untitled from the “Mother” series (1988 – present), in further development as part of Jerwood/ Photoworks Awards 2015
Untitled from the “Mother” series (1988 – present), in further development as part of Jerwood/ Photoworks Awards 2015
Untitled from the “Mother” series (1988 – present), in further development as part of Jerwood/ Photoworks Awards 2015
Untitled from the “Mother” series (1988 – present), in further development as part of Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2015
Untitled from the “Mother” series (1988 – present), in further development as part of Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2015
Untitled from the “Mother” series (1988 – present), in further development as part of Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2015

Matthew Finn

Matthew Finn completed his degree at the University of Derby in the early 90s and continues to pursue independent personal projects that deal with duration. His main photographic interest lies with the people he comes into contact with through life decisions, and in turning these relationships into long term projects. Matthew Finn was one of three winners of the inaugural Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2015 and this has enabled further development of his ongoing series, Mother.

www.mattfinn.com
Share this page:
via mail Mail
STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LFI NEWS CHANELS: GET THE LFI APP:
lfi
on facebook
lfi
newsletter
lfi
app
close