“Some people enjoy going to the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, where everyday at 4.30pm you can see a re-enactment of Christ’s Crucifixion, except on Sundays.” Matthew Murray
Since achieving a Masters Degree with distinction, in Documentary Photography, British photographer, Matthew Murray has managed to successfully combine commercial commissions with his own personal projects. In this exhibition we showcase, his latest and striking personal work.
‘His upbringing, where he has lived, the one-week break every year at Pontins Holiday Camp, his favourite bands and films he has seen, all play a part in his photography’: i-D Magazine (2004). Murray draws on his direct environment and what is around him, feeding on his everyday visual experiences. Using an almost diary-like manner, he portrays what appears to be an insight into his periphery vision.
Murray’s signature style of abstract angles and his use of obstructions within the frame, combine with his unique ability to capture humour simply within a single moment. The result is a winning combination, which entices the viewer to look deeper into Murray’s images.
However, images which at first glance, may seem effortless, are not. Murray works incessantly researching new locations, exploring safari parks, back gardens, theme parks and neighbours homes, seeking the perfect image. However, “Once the photographs are taken,” he says, “I don’t have much to say about them really…that is up to whomever is looking at the work.”
When questioned about particular images Murray is not flowery or ostentatious, in fact he has little to say. His answers like his work are refreshingly frank and direct.
Murray clearly has a genuine passion for everyday people and ordinary things, alongside the bizarre. Asked why, he say’s that he “…likes the interaction and unpredictability of people…I like to shoot people off-guard, (when they’re) unsettled and unaware.”
So, whether Murray creates an image of a man exiting a public toilet whilst enjoying an ice-cream in Birmingham, England; a dog on a surf-board in the middle of the ocean in Rio; an aging over tanned Elvis-wannabe in Benidorm, Spain; or a man seeming to put a very cute dog in a dustbin, on a beach in Florida; his images compel you do a double-take. They make you want to look deeper into them, to try and understand the moment and their insight that these images offer into the wonderfully weird and bizarre in everyday society.
Also, Murray’s unpretentious treatment of his subject, tempts and 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 and to enjoy the absurdity within the mundane, without (judgement) cynicism or sarcasm, as Murray’s images are never mocking or condescending.
The result is that unintentionally Murray has a remarkable ability to make the viewer smile, as he invites us to share in these unguarded and often bizarre observations.
Murray has exhibited internationally, including England, France, China & The Netherlands.