Matt began his talk by explaining that he had been exploring modern ruins and forgotten architecture for seven years. This had become an incredible and sometimes daring journey, which he pursues in his private time as he works as a graphic designer for the toy industry.
Matt was introduced to the pastime of photographing forgotten old buildings by a friend and since then has joined an online community who are able to share other of places of interest using codes for areas and buildings, but all live to the moral code of not disturbing or taking anything from the places they visit.
Matt began with images of an abandoned cottage in Belgium, which featured lovely textures and a table laid with items left by the participants.
The Institute of Electrical Engineering in Antwerp, featured a beautiful staircase, whilst the HF6 Blast furnace in Liège (a very industrial town) concentrated on the inside of the blast furnace which Matt crawled inside to get some very good images.
He explained that many of his pictures are taken with natural light, although he does carry his own lights to use if needed, and always uses a tripod. The depth of field in many of his images is excellent.
Matt displayed amazing images of a local haunted house in Belgium with an ornate staircase, an abandoned Shipping Headquarters in Budapest with Art deco windows, and Hajmaster Barracks in Hungary which had been occupied by the Germans during World War 2 then later the Soviet army , and was abandoned n the 80s. Matt wanted an overview of the large barracks which dominated the village and climbed a rather precarious outside staircase to enable him to climb through a hole in the roof to get his image.
One of his favorite photos was of the yellow staircase in the barracks because of the light and colour. Another thing he enjoys are building that have ferns and vegetation inside as he says “it is nature reclaiming her land”
Symmetry is particularly important to Matt, and this was very evident in his industrial pictures of an abandoned power plant in Hungary, which was used for filming in Blade Runner 2049.
Another area explored were the Cyprus Copper Mines. There were some very interesting pictures of these. Here unfortunately an Asbestos mine was found, and villagers had to leave their homes in the 80’s leaving pictures of Wham and Duran Duran on the walls.
He told us that he has recently been working with The Heritage Society and has carried out a project in Wisbech photographing a 16th century Granary and many of the merchants houses that sit on the river .They are hoping to rejuvenate the high Street with money made from this project, as Wisbech is an area of deprivation.
Matt has also carried out projects at Yarndale Lead mines photographing the old stone tunnels .Other projects took him to the Isle of Sheppey, and Dungeness where he photographed sound mirrors used again during the second world war to warn of aircraft flying towards Britain before Radar was used.
Many of Matts missions see him climbing walls and fences and quietly entering abandoned properties to get photographs. He shares his work on social media and has a tremendous following.
If you wish to visit some unusual places Matt advised you to look on a website called “Atlas Obscure” which features unusual properties not featured in guidebooks.
Lastly, Matt suggested for those who wished to promote their photography it is advisable to run as many social media sites as time allows, this can drive people to your website, Blog, or a feature in the media.
Use creative writing and historical facts to support your images. Study the demography of your audience and target them. But be aware this is time consuming.
The evening was fascinating, instructive and enjoyed by all at Imagez.