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Viewing Reality from Another Angle

Local artist Matthew Parker creates collages with photographs

For Washington, D.C. native Matthew Parker, what was once a hobby in 1997 is now a full-time reality.

Parker, who has never taken a photography class, is a trained architect. The self-taught photographer worked as a full-time architect for three years, but since 2005, photography has been Parker’s full-time occupation. His exhibit, “Reinventing Reality by Matthew Parker”, is currently on display at in Annandale where he will host a reception on Sunday, Jun. 12 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Much of Parker’s work is created using a technique where he photographs his subject while rotating his camera at various angles while continuously taking shots to gather images of the subject from different vantage and spatial points over a range of time (generally days, but sometimes years).

“I see with my eyes, not with the equipment,” said Parker. When starting a new project, Parker visits a site and sketches, seeking to incorporate everything he sees. The changes in weather and natural lighting of a site are reflected in his work. He said that he doesn’t use lighting equipment for special effects; instead, he captures images at special moments.

Parker discovered and developed his technique over time as he learned how to capture what he was seeing while simultaneously experimenting with his camera. Parker’s collages are shot from an architectural perspective that combines his interest in buildings, their relationships to landscapes and the environment, and the spatial phenomenon involved.

Seventeen of his collages are currently on display at Beanetics. They range from the “Smithsonian Castle- Moongate Garden” to “Cherry Blossoms Curving Along the Tidal Basin”. For the image of the cherry blossoms at the Smithsonian Castle, the photographs were taken in two days, two weeks apart. The image of the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin was developed over four years and taken while Parker was in a moving boat.

Other familiar places in his work include the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, New York City, the Louvre in Paris, the Supreme Court and the Washington Monument. Although most of Parker’s work is of buildings he does not limit himself to structures. Sometimes he focuses on people and their spatial relationship to the environment. One such work where he demonstrates this is “Strasburg Rookie Season” where he captures the progression of Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg as he throws a pitch.

“[Matthew’s] show is exciting and different than any other photo exhibit we've shown at Beanetics,” said Jennifer Judelsohn, who coordinates the exhibitions for the artists featured at Beanetics.  “There are many local scenes.”

For more details and images of his work check out his website at www.reinventing-reality.com.

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