MATTHEW FINLEY | LOS ANGELES CA, USA
For years Matthew existed in front of the camera. Modeling and acting were his artistic expression and what happened behind the lens and the lights was a mystery. Eventually, curiosity overcame him and the allure of capturing images took hold, giving him an even greater control of his imagination and expression. Perhaps it was this time with the camera trained on him that developed in him a facility for motivating his subjects to achieve the emotional states, physical forms, and expressive nuances of his photographs. He is fond of the relationships he has developed with his subjects and always seeks to make sessions a creative workspace where his ideas mix with theirs to make fresh, collaborative art.
What is your work about?
This series has become a reflection of my own struggle with being a shy introvert who seeks connection, yet more often hides or “puts on” what I think others want of me. Anxious, self-conscious, awkward. I have made literal our societal programming to pack away those “unappealing” qualities, felt by many but hidden. In our cultural history, the person with the bigger personality and the biggest mouth is often the most prized. They are the squeaky wheel that gets greased. Those who struggle with expressing their thoughts and feelings are told they are not good enough. Or, more tragically, they are simply ignored. The “less thans”, must box away our fragile hearts, affix the correct face, and head out to try and be noticed.
How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
Shooting in wet plate photography has really slowed me down, made me pre-plan even more and allows for more collaboration between me and the subjects. Given the long exposures (30-50 seconds) we work together to find positions they can hold for that extended amount of time. With this process you also have to learn to embrace the imperfect. It may not turn out exactly how you planned but that could be the alchemy of the chemicals, the long exposures, or the light doing something unexpected… and often it turns out even better.