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Photo Essay: The Ska Parade

Matthew Murray exclusively premieres his series on obsessive ska heads on Dazed Digital

Matthew Murray’s Ska portrait series looks at a group of people who are so fully immersed in a subculture that music and fashion colour every second of their day. Taking inspiration from his surroundings, Murray talks to Dazed about his experience and inspiration for ‘photographing themes, situations and people that aren't part of the norm,’ and gives us insight into the personal undertones of his up coming projects.

Dazed Digital: What inspired The Ska Parade Portraits and The Ska Moving Portrait Series?
Matthew Murray: 
The Ska series is different from most of my other work in that it is straight portraits, in the traditional sense. What I found interesting about the subjects was their total commitment to the Ska movement, the history, the style, the music, this was how they live their lives, it isn’t just a fad. The Ska portraits seemed to naturally lend themselves to this moving portraits approach with the background sound of traffic passing outside and the dull thud of the Ska music downstairs. Andy Warhol’s silent screen test of Edie Sedgwick and Bob Dylan and Anton Corbijn’s projections for the Depeche Mode Devotional World Tour are real inspirations.

DD: Who are the subjects of the Ska Portraits?
Matthew Murray: 
I met the subjects at a Ska night called ‘Pressure Drop’ which is a 60’s Ska, Skinhead Reggae and Soul night held in Birmingham and Middlesborough.

DD: Who from the Ska Portrait series stood out for you?
Matthew Murray:
 Jack is twenty-years-old, I found him interesting because in a time where most young people his age are into social networking and popular culture, Jack is totally into the Ska scene. He immerses himself completely in this sub-culture, despite the fact that he gets quite a bit of stick from Nazi Skinheads about the way he looks and the fact that neither he or the other subjects share their same racist views.

DD: Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
Matthew Murray: 
I am a finalist in The International Street Photography Awards 2012 and have work included as part of The London Festival of Photography in June. I also have a solo exhibition as part The Amsterdam Photography Festival in May. I shoot personal work constantly, I also shoot advertising campaigns and I shoot editorial work but I try and shoot editorials for magazines I like. When I shoot campaigns I work with art directors who tend to look further than the latest A.O.P Awards book.

More info on London Festival of Photography HERE. Matthew Murray's work can be viewed at Gallery Vassie.