Apr 29, 2019
Matt is a South African photographer who bases his practice on the use of various techniques and puts emphasis on the manipulation of the photographic image. In his series "Efflorescent Cherry", Matt explores the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, which represents the impermanence, the acceptance of transience and the serenity that comes with the process of ageing. Influenced by Japanese aesthetics, this series lovely exalts features such as asymmetry, irregularity, roughness, minimalism, modesty and intimacy.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
MS - My name is Matt Slater and I’m a visual artist currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. I studied photography at the Cape Town School of Photography. At the moment I’m working on some new projects, exhibitions and a book.
am - How did you start in photography?
MS - My first memory of taking images was when I was on camp in Grade 3 or so. After that I started using my uncle’s film camera to take photos of my friends skateboarding. When I was in high school I loved to explore the materiality of film and started splicing, bleaching, and pretty much any way to disrupt the negative.
am - What is “Efflorescent Cherry” about?
MS - It’s heavily influenced by the Japanese’s idea of Wabi-Sabi, which in short, is about the acceptance of impermanence and transience as well as the honouring of ageing process and asymmetry. Most of the work involved experimenting in the darkroom and using analogue equipment.
The whole project took about two years, from first images to completing the book. Making the book was an integral part of the project. I wanted to make each copy by hand, from the binding, to making up the hardcovers.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
MS - I love the work of Sally Mann, Robert Adams, Jeff Cowen, John Gossage, Anselm Kiefer and Brian Eno.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
MS - I’m a big fan of the both ‘Lost In Translation’ by Soffia Coppola and ‘Her’ by Spike Jonze, I think what makes the films really special is the relationship between the directors. Another influential film for me is ‘Stalker’ by Andrei Tarkovsky.
am - What is your favourite photo book?
MS - ‘The Pond’ by John Gossage.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
MS - Thank you, it’s been a pleasure.
All images © Matt Slater