Visiting Speaker – Chloe Dewe Mathews

I have always been a fan of Chloe’s; style and technique and attention to detail is always been one of those motivating instincts I aspire to achieve.

Chloe’s instinct of examining, seeing and owning the images makes her work different and stands out from others.

Interpret, Chloe learns every day, enquires and examines her narrative, whatever the medium. This inquisitive mindset I feel is something within us all but we need to learn the skills to question what are we seeing and how does this make me feel.

Humans create identities within our landscapes, our stamps of change on our past, reflect, probe and makes minds inquisitive. Should we have made those decisions, those actions that we make are questionable in our morals and ethics. Should we drill for oil when we have an abundance of sunlight to create power, it’s something that we can question within the project “Caspian”.

Something that I realise, that Chloe, was re-confirmed to me, the length of time it takes for these industry-leading projects to finish, that are years, they are not created overnight. As the project involves the narrative sometimes changes and so does the finished article whether, book, article or exhibition, which these formats could’ve been dismissed at the initial concept.

Something that I recently resonated with, looking at the story through materials; materials being the elements within the image the architecture, texture, contrast as well as the being, are all voices that meaningful work portrays. Then balanced with our ethics and morals, not just whether we should take this image but what is our voice saying and feeling; empathising with the visual effects.

Your last project is actually a business card or gateway to your next, Chloe demonstrates this by sharing her work and receives enquiries which lead to commissions because institutions publications and others see the uniqueness of her feelings and narrative.

This is demonstrated within her Thames log project which was something that she shot at the beginning of her career but actually did not get publish till this year. Again demonstrating Chloe’s dedication to a particular narrative project waiting for the right moment to capture, explore, romanticise and then publish.

Projects are of discovery not to be blinkered, as within search for Frankenstein Chloe discovers that Switzerland has enough nuclear shelters for the whole population buried underground. So where a project starts, is not necessarily is where we conclude.

The project Shot of dawn was one of those critical moments for me within the re-evaluation of my practice. Imbalance with the statement of Dr Simon Standing when I first met him; “what do I like to photograph”. I’ve never been asked this question before, I’ve never thought about it, being directed by the client was something that I was used to. Re-visiting my childhood, exploring the things I used to enjoy, which was dinosaurs, and the history of the first and second world war, two things that I actually jumped out of bed in the morning of those lessons at secondary school. Chloe’s shot at dawn book was inspirational for me in allowing me to see what somebody could do with a narrative that inspired me.

I will be forever in Chloe’s debt and aspire to her level of work which is my ultimate aim.

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