The life of birds
This project was inspired by the work of 19th-century natural history illustrators such as John Gould, Edward Lear, and Friedrich Specht.
Their illustrations were beautiful compositions designed to describe to the viewer what these strange worlds might look like in a stylised and idealised way. They played to the viewer’s imagination and curiosity and exported them to faraway places. Perhaps it is a form of escapism or a way to experience nature’s perils and harsh realities from a safe distance.
Each image is built from multiple elements, all photographed separately and composed using various techniques used successfully by artists for hundreds of years alongside more modern variations.
Matthew’s work focuses on the natural world, with his hyperreal images featuring tableaus of animals in dramatic poses, interacting in an anthropomorphic manner. Though his work is a hybrid of both reality and fiction, the two sit harmoniously together.
“My work is a visualisation of how nature lives in my imagination and how it affects me emotionally. My images are not a clear report of events, but rather the story that you might recount to your friend; a poetic and rousing account full of emotion, exaggerations and embellishments…and all the more beautiful for it.”
Matthew continues to develop his understanding of the science behind what makes an image ‘work’. He studies colour theory, composition, our vision, and what happens in our brains when we look at an image. He implements many concepts and techniques that have been used successfully by master painters for hundreds of years.
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