Rosie Matheson - Boys will be Boys
As part of our ongoing photographer series, we are very lucky to feature the work of Rosie Matheson this week. Rosie is a 21 year old photographer from Brighton, currently based in London. You might have seen her work before in publications such as FT Magazine, or perhaps come across some of her striking portraits on Instagram, the subjects of which range from British and Irish rappers Big Narstie and Reijie Snow to British boxer Harlem Eubank.
One thing is for sure, Rosie is an extremely talented young photographer with a unique eye not only for portraits, but for capturing something real and honest in her subjects eyes. We were very excited to get the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her work and her ongoing project BOYS.
THE BALTI CLUB: So Rosie, when and why did you get into photography? Did something spark your interest in it from a young age?
ROSIE: Most definitely. My parents friend, and incredible photographer, Zed Nelson definitely sparked my interest from a young age. I was fascinated by his photography displayed around our house and I was always shooting my own silly projects. I really got into photography during GCSE Art and then as I took on my photography A Level. I found it so calming and therapeutic, spending time developing film in the darkroom. That’s when I got hooked on shooting film. Photography allowed me to come out of my shell and interact with a huge variety of people. After completing my A-Levels, I knew it was the only thing I wanted to do.
THE BALTI CLUB: Did you start out shooting film or digital? Is it a conscious decision to shoot film now? And if so, why?
ROSIE: Film! I was shooting on my parents Olympus Mju ii from the age of around seven, documenting parties, sleepovers and day to day life. My uncle then bought me my first digital compact camera when I was about 11 and that really kicked off my interest in photography. After that I would usually get a new camera or accessory each year. I then really got into Lomography cameras around the age of fifteen and had the fisheye and a couple of instant cameras. So with a couple of digital learning curves in between, it’s always been film really. I definitely choose to shoot on film now as there’s nothing like it. The colours, sharpness, and the way it captures lighting cannot be replicated. I like the mystery of not knowing what was captured and I feel like film is timeless, the images just last so much longer and have so much more feeling to them.
THE BALTI CLUB: What do you look for in a photograph?
ROSIE: Emotion. A sense of feeling/atmosphere. I look for honesty and integrity within a subject. If the photo really shows me something about someone and who they are and provokes a sense of feeling then it’s a great photo. When you have great lighting also, that makes me happy!
THE BALTI CLUB: Tell us a little about your ongoing project ‘BOYS’, when did you start this body of work and what was the inspiration behind it?
ROSIE: It began in late 2015 without the intention of a full project. I naturally was selecting boys to shoot, all within a similar age range, and I just found the process really enjoyable and the end results very rewarding. Boys definitely have an easier vibe to them, they aren’t so self conscious and don’t ever (to my experience) request hair & make-up/styling. They just come as they are and I really like that. You can pick them out online via Instagram etc... but the vibe of the shoot is as if you just stopped them in the street.
The project is an exploration of boyhood and masculinity; challenging the relationship between males and the idea of masculinity pressured by society. Capturing a generation and documenting a moment in history, through the youth of today who are shaping the future.
THE BALTI CLUB: How did you find your subjects for this project?
ROSIE: Through people I know, friends of friends, street casting, Instagram, parents emailing me photos of their sons, haha!
THE BALTI CLUB: You also had an interesting project called 'PONO' which was set in Hawaii, can you tell us a little about how that came to be and the inspiration behind it?
ROSIE: I have family in Hawaii who I try to visit once a year if I can! During my first visit over there I really noticed the strength of the Hawaiian beliefs and culture, which really shapes the Island and the spirit of Aloha that exists. As with many places in the world, the indigenous people are the ones struggling most and I wanted to document who they are and give them a voice. I feel it’s really important to tell stories through photography and this was a great opportunity for not only me but also for their struggle to be heard.
THE BALTI CLUB: Have you anything planned for the future that you can tell us about?
ROSIE: Working on something really cool for ‘Boys’. Can’t really say much but I have some really exciting plans I’m currently working on to release this summer!