Pin It
Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 12.57.24

Filmmaker Matt Lambert on beauty, sweat and success

TextAmelia Abraham

To celebrate director Matt Lambert's film His Sweat hitting 15 million views on Nowness, we asked him a couple of questions

This week is #DefineBeauty week on Nowness, a special week of programming exploring the politics and provocations of attraction. As part of the programme, Dazed Beauty and Nowness are teaming up to release some new editorial collaborations, like artist Frederik Heyman's Define Beauty: Virtual Embalming and director Rhea Dillon's Define Beauty: Process. Also this week, we're celebrating the fact that Matt Lambert's Define Beauty film His Sweat hit 15 million views on the Nowness YouTube.

Matt Lambert's style is unmistakable; soft flesh, soft light, soft focus. His subject matter is often the human body, pictured at times with almost uncomfortable intimacy. By reshifting the male gaze onto men, in both his film and photo work, he asks us to rethink our assumptions about who is the viewer – an inherently queer proposition. 

Over his ten-year career, Lambert has shot editorials for GQ, Dazed and Vogue, carved out a niche making music videos for primarily LGBT musicians, including Patrick Wolk, Mykki Blanco and Years & Years, and worked with brands such as Rick Owens, Charles Jeffrey and YSL. His Nowness film His Sweat, a sexy NSFW ode to perspiration, just hit 15 million views on YouTube, and he's pretty surprised about it.  

Watch the film below, and read our interview with Matt about beauty, sweat and success.

What's the first memory you have of finding someone beautiful? 
It was probably in summer camp in LA in the 90s. There was a counsellor who rode a motorcycle and looked like River Phoenix.

When you decided to become a filmmaker, how did you find your style and subject matter?
I started with fine art and that lead to animation. Filmmaking was the next step. My subject matter was a way for me to explore and understand things about myself that I wanted to deconstruct — things that terrified me, turned me on, confused me, etc. Now it more often becomes a way to create a dialogue within my community.

Your work refocusses the gaze from women to men, which is so refreshing... do you think of your work as political?
I work with women more and more. I made my first homoerotic all female film earlier this year called ‘RELEASE ME’. I’m a very politically-minded person and I do see my work as being political because it’s an unapologetic and celebratory representation of people who are often politically marginalised. Censorship is also a loud subtext in lots of my work.

Tell me about the idea for His Sweat. 
Raven Smith was commissioning this series at the time and was really excited about seeing what I’d do with the theme. For me, it was important to make something that was erotic, but humanising at the same time. It’s so often that queer sexuality is reduced to a point of removing the personal stories that lead people toward certain tastes. Fetish becomes fashion or Tumblr-consciousness, leaving people unaware of the root of desire. 

The ambition to make something beautiful that bordered on the grotesque, something that was both educational and intimate and overall allowed people to potentially see SWEAT in a way they hadn’t before. 

What are you working on at the moment? 
Quite a lot, but the highlights are being in development on my first feature film, working with Mykki Blanco on his new album campaign and producing an album with a young new artist in Berlin (more soon on that...)

What will you be doing and where will you be in 20 years time? 
No idea. Hopefully still making things that matter to people and work that allows people to navigate their lives with more love and openness. 

How does it feel to get 15 million views? 
I'm a bit shocked to be honest. I never assumed there was such an audience for the esoteric homoerotic art video…

Read Next
Brit Dawson laser tattoo removal
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about laser tattoo removal Tried and Tested
January 2022: start the year off on a high this Capricorn season Horoscopes
Hair Story: A love letter to Black hair
This short film is a love letter to the beauty and power of Black hair Beauty Film
The ultimate holiday gift guide for all beauty lovers (including yourself) Beauty Feature
Tyler, the Creator Golf le Fleur
Tyler, the Creator busts into beauty with a dreamy gender-neutral brand Beauty news
PC Music affiliate Yeule’s perfume will protect you against demonic summons Beauty news
best lip balm dry skin glossier pat McGrath
This website finds exact formula dupes of expensive skincare Beauty news
Tarot series – Tabitha Swanson and Laura Schaeffer
These artists transform tarot cards into ethereal 3D fantasy worlds Beauty Feature
Glossier London 04
Everything you need to know about Glossier’s IRL London space Beauty news
Michelle Visage
Michelle Visage chronicles her breast implant removal in a new documentary Beauty news
Doja Cat
Doja Cat’s interactive music video teaches you to code, starting with nails Beauty news
Lady Gaga Frederic Aspiras
Lady Gaga’s hairstylist cried after dyeing her brown for House of Gucci Beauty news
Suncream contouring on TikTok
TikTok’s latest beauty hack? Suncream contouring Beauty news
Not Another Intl: FACES 02
Watch an intimate film exploring Ireland’s beauty evolution Beauty Film
Ermenegildo Zegna’s XXX fragrance
Ermenegildo Zegna’s XXX fragrances are all about cinematic adventure Product of the Week
Machine Gun Kelly
Machine Gun Kelly launches a nail polish brand for introverts Beauty news