Emerging Photographer Fund – 2013 Shortlist
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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
EPF 2013 shortlist
Fear & Self-Loathing in America
For the last eight years I have catalogued the American experience in pictures, trying to understand this country by focusing on specific places, on community and on the issues they embody. My hope was that these examinations of microcosms of America would allow for a deeper view of the nation as a whole.
My generation lives in a constantly changing world, swept down a river of information with our eyes to the future and a shrinking awareness of the past.
On a personal level, I am apathetic and I am impassioned. I am afraid of being alone; I am afraid of being around people. I fear losing my family, but I fear fully being a part of it. To reconcile these conflicting impulses, I make pictures all the time. For me, to photograph is an extension of seeing, and to see is to acknowledge. It is a ritual and a compulsion. It is a way of filtering the world, of marking things as beautiful and collecting them. It is a way of understanding things that confuse me; and trying to articulate thoughts that are still forming, ones I have yet to find words for.
Assignments for magazines such as Esquire, TIME, GQ and others have taken me into places I wouldn’t otherwise be allowed. With support from BURN I will explore places the magazines will never send me and see parts of this country that I only dream of. The disenchantment of my generation is reflective of our nation’s transitional status from superpower to something less absolute. I will use this funding to continue creating a catalogue of a country in decline.
The photographs are not to be read as condemnation, but rather a call for people to question the things they hold as truth, and to challenge our notions of the world we inhabit. By asking for your support, I am requesting the ability to move freely, to see without constraint, and to soak in the American experience, distilling the photographs into a series that poses the questions that rattle around in our minds as Americans during this time of flux.
Matt Eich was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1986 and is the oldest of four children. He studied photojournalism at Ohio University and works for clients that include GQ, Esquire, Mother Jones, TIME, FADER, Harper’s, National Geographic, Apple, Tiffany & Company, Republic Records and others.
Matt has been named one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch and participated in the Joop Swart Masterclass in 2009. He is the recipient of POYi’s Community Awareness Award and numerous other accolades. He has received support of grants from NPPA, ShootQ/Pictage, Aaron Siskind Foundation, Alexia Foundation and National Geographic Magazine. His work has been shown internationally in galleries and festivals and his prints are in the permanent collections of The Portland Art Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
These days Eich lives in Norfolk, Virginia with his wife and two children while compulsively documenting everything around him.