Thursday 08. February to Thursday 15. March 2018

Chapter One

Cyrill Matter

Opening Reception / Vernissage: Thursday 08. February 2018 18:00

The Trace Gallery is proud to present a selection of photographs from Cyrill Matter’s publication ‘Chapter One’ in an exhibition to coincide with the launch of the book. This book collates some of the key works in the young photographer’s career and documents the emergence of an exciting talent, accompanied by testimonies from some of the key figures he has met so far in his career.

Cyrill Matter was born and raised in Zurich, studied commerce and got a position in an ad agency. On a whim, and out of boredom, he bought a cheap camera one day on a day trip. He started taking pictures – and was bitten. Within a year he had left his job; he spent the next 12 months intensively learning the skills of a photographer, working as a photography assistant while reading and watching everything he could get his hands on relating to the topic. After that relatively short time, he decided to strike out on his own and try to make it as a professional photographer. Not long afterwards, sitting in a New York café, he encountered a German creative director – Thomas Hayo – who agreed to view what was then a thin portfolio. The rest is history: with Hayo’s encouragement Matter moved to New York and had been signed by photography agent Marek Milewicz. within four months. Since then he has established himself as a respected photographer, particularly in the fields of portraiture and men’s fashion.

For Matter, photography ultimately belongs not on a screen but in print. He has enjoyed working for publications like GQ, Vanity Fair USA, L’Uomo Vogue or Das Magazin. This love for a haptic object is also why he decided to produce ‘Chapter One’, so that he and others could review and share his work to date while holding it in their hands – in time, and as his work evolves, chapters two, three etc. will follow.

Matter’s fashion photography is inspired by the work of icons including Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton, among many others whose work he admires. On editorial fashion shoots, Matter does not want to illustrate a fait accompli or to state the obvious; he often stages dynamic gestures of which we catch just a glimpse, or elaborate scenarios in which the viewer can guess at the narrative unfolding. Working in men’s fashion, Matter can imagine himself within these images, his work an ongoing investigation of men’s different experiences in the world.

The elaborate setups that are possible in editorial photography are often in stark contrast with Matter’s commissioned portraits. When he meets film stars, musicians, politicians, sportspeople or business leaders he may have only a few minutes to find the image that sums up that person. Often too these are guarded people who try not to reveal much to photographers and who are surrounded by attendants. Creative decisions have to be taken at lightning speed – from which direction, with what light and how close to come to that person on that day. Because, ultimately, an encounter between two people is taking place; this work requires empathy.

Chapter One is a collection of images that communicates Matter’s values as a photographer: carefully crafted shots, the chemistry of each meeting between photographer and subject, his evolving skills and to trust in simplicity, honesty and intuition. Creating an ensemble that speaks for itself.



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