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A few words about, a few words from – Matilda Temperley

~ Joanna Pietrzyk

Matilda Temperley, a London based photographer with a impeccable capability to capture beauty even in the most obscure and unexpected, chats to us about her current project, inspirations and plans for the future.

What inspires her and I read your biography and your academic background is very different from your current practice. What have triggered your interest in fashion photography?

I studied Control of Infectious Diseases at the LSHTM. Whilst I was working there I decided that I wanted to try something new in life. I looked back at my ambitions and decided to try out photography, as I had always loved it. I didn’t think it was a valid carrer initially when I was studying science. It was a hard struggle but its slowly paying off and the lifestyle is wonderful when you get it right. I started out wanting to be a documentary photographer but I kept breaking bones and ended up in the studio, which meant I started doing fashion.

Could you tell me a little bit more about your project “The Human Zoo”? How this project came about?

The Human Zoo is a personal project. It celebrates the diversity of the human body. I admire mavericks that are happy to sit outside of societies norm. I have become unshockable in following this project. It is ongoing and will I think be for many years.

Your fashion photography captures very well feminine resulting in beautiful images depicting innocence and gentle side of women.

Matilda-floods (2)Who and what are your biggest inspirations in terms of photographic work?

That’s a very flattering description! I think fashion should not try too hard and a forced image always makes me uncomfortable. My inspirations vary wildly depending on the day but staples are Sarah Moon, Avedon and Salgado.

I was reading recently an article in Daily Mail about your photographic work recording events from the floods in Somerset area? Would you consider yourself moving away from fashion photography and working more as a
photojournalist?

I think in the past photographers were able to mix up their work between documentary, fashion, portraiture etc. Now people are always keen to pigeonhole you into one type of photographer or another. I like to keep various different things going on. The floods are affecting the community I grew up in so it’s been a special project for me to document their journey through this hard time. I did at the start when the flood looked more photogenic and less apolcalyptic also do a fashion shoot down there so I am keeping my fingers in all the pies if I can.

Your photography seem to cover variety of subjects, how do you find time to work on so many parallel projects?

It’s a hard balancing act that I have not quite got the hang of but it keeps life interesting. I tend to do personal work such as my Africa work and my flood work in between commercial projects.

What are you working on at the moment and what are your plans for the nearest future in terms of creative work?

At the moment I have given up chasing commercial work so that I can continue documenting the floods, as it’s an unbelievable subject that needs to be seen through. That said I am taking commercial work if its interesting and today have just finished shooting the Temperley show. I am also slowly working away on putting a book together of my African work. I have another commercial book project for a designer that will start in spring. Finally as soon as the floods abate I am back to a new part of Africa to continue my work there.

In regards to literature what was that you recently read that captured your attention?

I have just been reading Hitch 22, which is a fantastic biography. My favourite films that are sure to inspire are Freaks and Black Cat White Cat.