‘Jack is twenty-years-old, I found him interesting because in a time where most young people his age are into social networking and popular culture, Jack is totally into the Ska scene. He immerses himself completely in this sub-culture, despite the fact that he gets quite a bit of stick from Nazi Skinheads about the way he looks and the fact that neither he or the other subjects share their same racist views.’ – Matthew Murray interview with Dazed Digital, Dazed & Confused, 2012
Since achieving a Masters Degree with distinction, in Documentary Photography, British photographer, Matthew Murray (born in Birmingham, England, 1969) has managed to successfully combine commercial commissions with his own personal projects. In this presentation we showcase, his latest and striking personal work: SKA.
Murray images draw on his direct environment and what is around him, feeding on his everyday visual experiences.
Murray’s unpretentious treatment of his subjects, encourages the viewer to feel like a participant, rather than just an observer. We are invited to view the world through Murray’s unaffected and honest eyes, without judgement, cynicism or sarcasm, as Murray’s images are never mocking or condescending.
Ska, is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s, as a precursor to Rocksteady and Reggae music. In 1960 the first Ska record was cut and with the migration of many Jamaicans to the United Kingdom. Ska was picked up by many of the white working class kids that the Jamaicans moved next door to and by the late 1960s it became popular with the British Mod movement.
Then perhaps, somewhat ironically, later with the controversially racist Skinhead movement. However, the Skinhead roots weren’t originally political, but based solely on the sleek styling of the Mod culture of the 1960s and Jamaican Rude Boys, and their music. It was only later that the word Skinhead became synonymous with Neo-Nazism.
However, during this varied and influential spread of Ska music throughout British music and culture, over the past 60 years, a section of dedicated Ska followers stayed firmly true to its original roots. Not only in the tunes themselves, but also equally as important within the striking visual style, which has become key to the Ska movement.
These people photographed by Murray and that follow Ska music and regularly visit Ska clubs are not political, they just live for the music and quite simply love to dance.
Murray has exhibited internationally, including England, France, China & The Netherlands.