Matt Stuart for Photography on a Postcard

“I am not sure which came first, being nosey or an interest in ‘street photography’, but a fascination with people and the way they live their lives is why I enjoy the business so much.

I can’t hide behind lights and technology, I am reliant on a small camera, patience and lots of optimism. But what I get in return is the chance to make an honest picture which people know immediately is a genuine moment and which hopefully burrows deep into their memories.”
— Matt Stuart

We are delighted to have Matt Stuart as one of our contributing artists to Photography on a Postcard. Matt is a British street photographer, a member of the In-Public street photography collective and a nominee member of Magnum Photos. As well as making his personal work, street photography, he works as an advertising photographer, and leads street photography workshops. In 2005 Photo District News considered Stuart one of their 30 "New and Emerging Photographers to Watch".

Stuart learnt his craft on the job as Marcus Lyon’s assistant for three years. Lyons is renowned for his precision, detailed symmetrical composition and amazing technical ability. It follows that Matt learnt the art of shooting from him. Matt’s street photography is immaculately composed; creating narratives, humour and satire out of everyday moments that occur in situ. He does not digitally manipulate his photographs, he spends ‘a great deal of time walking the streets trying to capture moments.’ In fact, he uses at least three rolls of photographic film a day and says that he never leaves the house without his camera. He is obsessed by his work, and his rigour is evident in the precision of his vast body of work in which every image is exciting.

He is a veteran in his craft, shooting for 21 years. His advice to young Photographers is to ‘buy a good pair of comfortable shoes, have a camera around your neck at all times, keep your elbows in, be patient, optimistic and don’t forget to smile.’ Being a street photographer requires nerve and charisma. That is the ‘smile’ that Matt is talking about. It is the ability to get away with photographing people by being gracious and unassuming. He says that he very rarely runs into problems with strangers he photographs. ‘I have learned to be quick and discreet photographing in public. If I am ever stopped or asked about what I am doing, I try to be polite and move on as quickly as possible.’ 

We are pleased to present his Photo Postcard. It was taken this year in Buñol, Spain. Marking the end of summer, on the last Wednesday of every August, thousands of revellers head to the town of Buñol, near Valencia, Spain, to take part in the world’s largest food fight. Over 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown during the festival. This year Matt Stuart was one of the crowd, capturing the food fighters from the moment they climb a greasy pole, opening the event, and during the entire hour that the tomato fight lasts. “I soon realised that this was a once in a lifetime experience when I was being moved by the sheer flow of people, it became a human tidal wave of bodies,” notes the photographer. “I still have the adrenaline running through me,” he exclaimed, 24 hours after the event ended. Indeed, the festival is considered one of the 10 most dangerous in the world. His photo postcard was taken in the aftermath.

Buñol, Spain 2017, Matt Stuart.

Buñol, Spain 2017, Matt Stuart.

Marking the end of summer, on the last Wednesday of every August, thousands of revellers head to the town of Buñol, near Valencia, Spain, to take part in the world’s largest food fight. Over 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown during the festival. This year Matt Stuart was one of the crowd, capturing the food fighters from the moment they climb a greasy pole, opening the event, and during the entire hour that the tomato fight lasts. “I soon realised that this was a once in a lifetime experience when I was being moved by the sheer flow of people, it became a human tidal wave of bodies,” notes the photographer. “I still have the adrenaline running through me,” he exclaimed, 24 hours after the event ended. Indeed, the festival is considered one of the 10 most dangerous in the world. His photo postcard was taken in the aftermath.

We are very pleased  to have Matt's work as part of our Photo Postcard exhibition in October. For more info on the project and other participating artists go to http://bit.ly/2r0MUE4. To read more about Matt Stuart specifically and to take a look at more of her work visit his website here.