Rosie Matheson is a documentary style photographer based in England. With her photographic journey, the artist aims to examine the emotional connection between people and places. With a goal of searching for extraordinary in seemingly ordinary everyday places and people, Rosie explores her own fascination with others’ worlds. Read our interview with the photographer below.
Please tell me about yourself and your photography journey. Did you always know that you wanted to be a photographer?
I would say I knew from the age of 17. Photography was my obsession. I was studying it at sixth form college but would also spend any spare moment I had shooting my own little projects and experimenting with film. I have always been surrounded by photography, a few of my parents’ friends were cameramen when I was growing up, one is photographer Zed Nelson and my grandad also worked for Kodak. Everyone always had a camera and it was a very normal thing for me. It wasn’t long before I carried a camera everywhere too.
Can you please tell me about the “Boys” section on your website? What inspired you to photograph them? What does your work aim to say?
Looking back at some of my first ‘proper’ photos, the majority of subjects were always male. ‘Boys’ started back in December 2015 when I photographed two boys named Elliott and Phoenix. These were some of my favorite images I’d taken and it was just the ease of shooting young males, there was no pressure, it could take five minutes or it could take thirty. Shooting girls, there was always an underlying pressure to make them look ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’. Whereas boys don’t really care so much, they have this effortlessly cool natural style and attitude. I selected the boys in the project through street casting, Instagram, modeling agency test shoots and even had messages from parent’s suggesting their son for the project.
The project presents a softer, more gentle look at the male experience. ‘Boys’ is an exploration of boyhood and masculinity; challenging the relationship between males and the idea of masculinity pressured by society. Portraying the allure and beauty of youth that our society celebrates, through personal, honest and revealing portraits. Examining the idea of self-expression in young men, capturing their emotions and looking at how they present – documenting a generation as a moment in history.
Do you have a favorite photograph/ a story to share of somebody who you photographed?
Lucky is one of my favorites right now. He’s from America and was recently signed as a model in London. His new booker emailed me over one photo he had of him and I replied within 2 seconds. I’ve never seen anyone quite like it. We shot around Central London, only for about thirty minutes. My friend Rob and I came up with a couple of ideas to really draw attention to his rich blue eye by shattering a mirror and finding a magnifying glass.
After meeting Lucky, I asked what he had with him to wear and as he was pulling things out of his bag a red du-rag fell out. I asked him to put it on, he threw it over his head without tying it up and we left it like that. The photo from that moment is one of my favorites so far.
What has been the happiest moment in your career so far? The saddest moment?
Being selected for the Portrait of Britain award 2016 – that really changed my world. The saddest – losing film/having it ruined by an old developer which caused monumental stress to the job I was working on.
As an artist did you have any struggles, and if you did how did you overcome it? What advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?
Being super shy and having to meet new people every day and come out of your shell, was always a big deal for me. It gets way easier though. It was almost therapeutic for me to be thrown into the photography world and force myself to be confident.
When you first begin, you have no idea of what you’re doing at all, so that’s a slightly stressful headspace to be in but you just have to soak everything up and any advice you can get, take it. There’s a lot to learn but trust yourself and your instincts and keep going, that’s the hardest part!
What are you most afraid of right now?
The overwhelming amount of work I have to achieve in the next two and a half weeks and the decline of our planet.
What is your goal for your photography?
Being known and booked globally for dope portrait commissions and documentary style fashion shoots. To keep going and keep growing.
For more information please visit Rosie’s website.