In 1997 “Cool Britannia” was at its height. Brit pop was flooding the airwaves, a new Labour government took power, and a sense of hope that had not been felt for a generation was palpable.
British photographer Matthew Finn was 24, had recently graduated, and took a job at a School of Art in the outskirts of London. Over the coming year he photographed the students and the school itself.
“It was last decade before cell phones and social media, we discussed, argued and tried things out, not because we were told to but because we wanted to. Everything seemed possible.” – Matthew Finn
Matthew Finn (b. 1971 UK) explores personal relationships both within the corpus of the family as well as the wider stage of personal relationships through long-term photographic projects. With no commercial constraints or deadlines, Finn cultivates a working practice of an auteur, in charge of all the elements of the work where the craft of the print and the process as a whole are equally important.
Finn continues to make significant long-term bodies of work including his series of portraits of students, which commenced in the early 1990s (Finn is a senior photography lecturer), and durational bodies of work that focus on the province of family life and close relationships. Finn’s most notable works include the thirty-one-year process of making intimate, domestic portraits of his mother and the twenty-eight years he documented his relationship with his uncle.
Today Finn collaborates with family members as he pursues the universal themes of love, loss, bereavement and intimacy. Through these current and completed projects Matthew Finn has expanded the frontiers of documentary photography, bringing a new and deeply psychological reality to the genre.
He is the recipient of the Jerwood/Photoworks Award 2015 and has published 2 monographs; Mother (Dewi Lewis, 2017) and School of Art (Stanley/Barker, 2019).