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Happy Accidents

Photographer Matt Stuart is exhibiting a decade worth of accidental moments captured in London.

In the midst of Hoxton Square - once the epitome of Shoreditch cool – photographer Matt Stuart is showing off nearly a decade worth of work. Not everything made it of course - only a few and well-selected images hang on the walls of the KK Outlet. But this isn’t your average East London cooler-than-thou fashion exhibition. This is about more than avant garde jewelry and ripped stockings. Go and see Stuart’s street photography and you will find yourself smiling and nodding in approval in regards to his humorous touch, and impressing patience.
Stuart has perfected the art of snapping the fleeting moments of everyday big city life. The sidewalks, the tube parks, shops – nowhere is safe from Stuart’s lurking lens. The result is an honest – and often amusing – take on the absurdity in which we live. Whether in black and white or using colour, Matt Stuart puts the fun back into photography. As he prepared his London solo show, Dazed Digital got a quick chat with him.
Dazed Digital: These photos are staged surely!
Matt Stuart: All of the pictures are real moments taken over an eight-year period. None of them are staged. If they were staged it wouldn't have taken me eight years to take them!
DD: Have you not even moved anything?
Matt Stuart: Nope, not a thing. Those are the rules that I abide by.
DD: Do you shoot fashion, or other types of photography as well?
Matt Stuart: No, I haven't shot fashion, but I have an urge to shoot some fashion work that resembles my street work. I think that might be fun.
DD: What camera do you use - is it better with digital in these cases?
Matt Stuart: I use a Leica MP on the street with a 35mm lens. I like film as I am still in love with the process of waiting to see what you may or may not have got. For my commissioned work I use a Canon 5D Mk2, which is a great camera.
I like to keep commercial work and my street photography passion separate by using different cameras.
DD: Do you EVER leave your house without a camera?
Matt Stuart: Very very rarely.
DD: Often I look at the pictures and smile - is humour an important factor for you?
Matt Stuart: Humor is important to me. I also like images that engage and reward.
Anyone that knows me would say I am a pretty upbeat kind of guy. I don't think there are many people who shoot successful humorous pictures - it is harder than it looks.
DD: What's more important for you; photographic skill or patience?
Matt Stuart: Photographic skill. You can be as patient as you like but if you don't have any photographic skill you'll be waiting a long time...
DD: Have you ever been negatively approached by one of your subjects, or questioned by police?
Matt Stuart: Very rarely. The police have asked me what I was up to a few times. I'm not that keen on confrontation and just reply politely and move on.
DD: These are all about street photography - are you more comfortable on the street than in a studio?
Matt Stuart: Really good question. Technically I am more comfortable in the street. I know what the exposure is, I know how to blend into a crowd and I know how to see what I want to see. The studio is trickier technically, but you have all the time in the world to shoot and shoot again. It is a comfortable environment to work in once the technical side of things is sorted out. So in answer to your question, I would prefer to shoot in the street, but I’m comfortable in both scenarios.
DD: How long have you been photographing and how did you start?
Matt Stuart: I have been taking photos for 12 years. I started because my dad bought me two books; one by Henri Cartier-Bresson and one by Robert Frank. My dad has great taste!
DD: Which one is your favourite?
Matt Stuart: My favourite photograph is probably the one in Hyde Park with the Rabbit Balloon. I still remember the feeling when everything came together in one frame. I would like to get another one of those quite soon…please!
The Matt Stuart exhibition is on at KK Outlet 4th to 26th of February. 42 Hoxton Square, London N1 6P