Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Chloe Dewe Matthews photographer

The ever eagle eyed Norman McBeath took time out from his hectic schedule of cornering the market in portraits of poets to recommend this photographer he had unearthed. As the last post was about rising stars in photography I thought we should add our own views and although I knew nothing about Chloe I was very pleased to see she once was at college in our home town of Oxford. This link for The Ruskin School of Art heralds her as one to watch, so maybe we are onto something.

Her images fit perfectly into a way of seeing that I find absorbing and beguiling, she reminds me of Nadav Kander in her approach although I do feel she is much more about people than atmosphere as many of Kander’s work exhibit.

The Telegraph featured Chloe as one of The five most promising new artists of 2011: in pictures

and The Guardian had this to say

“The 29-year-old documentary photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews was a few months into an overland trip from China to the UK in 2010 when she stopped in Naftalan, Azerbaijan. She had heard about a sanatorium where locals – since the days of Marco Polo in the 13th century – have sworn by the therapeutic benefits of bathing in sludgy crude oil heated to 37C and she thought it might make a diverting subject for a portfolio of pictures. Dewe Mathews says, “I remember thinking, ‘Would this interest anyone at all? Well, I might as well just do it anyway.'”

Validation was not long in coming: in June last year, she was signed to the photo agency Panos Pictures; then, in November, her series Caspian, including images from Naftalan, won the 2011 international photography award run by the British Journal of Photography. More enduringly, she now had a blueprint for a lifetime’s work: “I was away for nine months, but I realised it could be a long-term thing, almost a recce for my career.”

Dewe Mathews is smart and assured, and her approach is fearlessly single-minded: for example, she crossed Asia and Europe entirely by hitchhiking. “If you’re on a bus the whole time, you have that lovely staring-out-of-the-window thing,” she says, “but it’s not the same as going from one person’s car with all sorts of funny things hanging from the mirror and them telling you their stories. It makes for a much more fertile atmosphere.”

She returns to Russia this month to continue the Caspian series and will exhibit the new photographs next October at the 1508 Gallery in London. This time, however, she has been forced to make arrangements for the transport. “It will be too cold to stand out on the road,” she sighs, genuinely disappointed. “But I’m going to do couch surfing, so hopefully I will hear stories that way.”

I suggest you go to her website and see a selection of remarkable images, here is the link

One response to “Chloe Dewe Matthews photographer

  1. Alex Ramsay March 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks for this – the best work I’ve seen for a long while

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