Exhibition: “Matt Irwin: Punk. Perfect. Awful.”

Our friends at Dazed sent us this press release and we thought it well worth sharing:

The son of devout Mormon parents, Matt Irwin spent his teenage years dividing his time between working in a tractor factory and tying miniature explosives to his bike and riding around like a lunatic. Fast-forward a decade or so, and he is pretty much one of the most sought-after young photographers working in Britain today. Starting out, in his own words, “taking pictures of f***ed up, lo-fi punk kids”, Matt Irwin is now pointing his lens at supermodels for Vogue, Self Service and V Magazine among others, and shooting campaigns for leading high street stores. Needless to say, he dispensed with the Mormon sensibilities some time ago.

Mentored in the beginning by Dazed & Confused’s Creative Director, Nicola Formichetti, Matt’s breed of bright, candid, fashion and portrait photography was an instant hit with London’s disaffected generation. Rather than trying to emulate anything big and glossy, Matt was – and still is – interested in capturing stills from his subject’s own personal films. It was, and always will be, about the subject. Matt’s photography is instantaneous, unaffected – a diametric opposition to the over-saturated stuff we’ve become used to over the years – and fashion editors across the world simply can’t get enough of it.

So what can we expect from PUNK. PERFECT. AWFUL, Matt’s third solo exhibition in London? And more importantly, what is that name about? “It’s stolen from â??Awful’, that Hole song,” he explains. “I feel like I’ve gone through a complete cycle. You start out being viewed as a punk and super-cool, then you go on to being â??perfect’, in a sense, when you’re at a place where you’re consistently happy with what you’re producing. But then everything becomes super-commercial and everyone (including myself) thinks you’re awful.” So what’s the answer? “You just have to go back to the beginning. F*** what everyone else is doing. Start again. Just like that song says, Just build a new one/Make it beautiful.”

“[The exhibition] acts as a connecting thread between my very first pictures to the stuff I’m doing now,” says Matt. “They’re all moments of novelty.” Featuring Natasha Poly, Natalia Vodinova, Lovefoxx, Alice Dellal, Lara Stone, Georgie Jagger, Coco Sumner, Gareth Pugh and, most importantly, Matt’s personal icon, Bjork (“the highlight of my life”), among a whole host of other recognisable faces, PUNK.PERFECT.AWFUL is like stepping into a mini time capsule – capturing the very essence of what it means to be young, sexy and creative in 2009. As Vodinova says herself, “he has this kind of energy that comes from him… it makes it hard to stop”.

“I still approach everything in exactly the same way,” says Matt. “And I haven’t grown up at all. Maybe only in the sense that I take what I do a little more seriously. Before it was all a big joke.”

Exhibition runs 20th Feb-11th March at Cordy House, Curtain Rd, London.
Opening times Tuesday-Sunday 12-7pm

2 Replies to “Exhibition: “Matt Irwin: Punk. Perfect. Awful.””

  1. JM – I respect your right to have your own opinion on anything on this site and to have your say. What would be really interesting (to me, at least) would be to find out a little more about what it is you dislike about this work/photographer.

    I’m not looking for an argument as I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about his work, especially as the three pictures here are the only Matt Irwin images I have seen, but I am genuinely interested to hear your views.

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