I cannot graciously highlight my excitement towards our latest print series with Matthew Johnson without first explaining the path which brought us to working with this talented photographer. Matthew is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area – the East Bay, between Oakland and San Jose. He made his way to the East Coast to get a sense of the unique culture of New York – a city he describes as a “rite of passage”. It was around this time that we first met Matthew during a photoshoot for Cereal magazine at our storefront. Straight away we appreciated his sensitivity in each frame he captured and have been following his career path as a photographer ever since. We’ve traveled to Japan with Matthew (photo essays from an especially memorable trip can be found in a two part series here and here) and dived into numerous video projects.
The most valuable aspect of our collaboration has been the friendship we’ve developed over the years as we work alongside him and witness his personal life evolve simultaneously. Since our first encounter, Matthew has married his then girlfriend, Amy, rescued an adorable dog named Rye, and has moved to Hudson to embark on an exciting new retail venture of his own called Say Collie. We headed North one afternoon to catch up with our friend and see what’s new at his home and studio.
Matthew’s home is an inspiring mix of his wife’s interior found objects and wall art – many of which are his own photographs, and the works of other artists we admirer like Nicole Patel.
If the lens is where the mind meets the world for the photographer, then Matthew’s lens is out to tell a story. Each image has a narrative quality that undoubtedly stems from his background as a writer. His ability to create images that have a tacit familiarity yet stand out as something important to show the world is a rare gift.
Light is central to all photographs but especially in Matthew’s as it is his way of creating shapes. Accordingly his photos never feel like random snapshots. His use of light is intentional and his way of capturing an incredible black and white tonal range, especially in 35mm film, has always amazed us.
Whenever we look at the print series Matthew created throughout our journeys in Japan, it slows us down a moment to decipher the time and place. The photographs achieve a sense of timelessness in that manner – there is something so special about them but as I continue to search for the words to capture Matthew’s language in photography, I can’t find anything that will do it justice. So I’ll let the images speak for themselves.
View Matthew Johnson’s limited edition fine art photography series here.