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Molly Matalon

Work / Photography

“Romance in a sort-of fantasy world”: photographer Molly Matalon’s new work (some NSFW)

Photographer Molly Matalon was brought to our attention by fellow photographer Ryan Lowry. There’s a certain irony to this story: while both Molly and Ryan are based in the US, in February Molly took part in a show at underground bunker Doomed Gallery, a testing ground for artists from east London and further afield — and a five minute stroll down the road from the It’s Nice That office.

Since graduating from New York’s School of Visual Arts in 2014 (where her mentor was Kathy Ryan, New York Times Magazine’s Director of Photography), a glance at her exhibition schedule tells us that Molly has been keeping exceptionally busy. Last year found Molly having her second book published by VUU Studio, a collaboration with Damien Maloney titled Olive Juice. “We went to Paris, NYC, and just recently Los Angeles for book fairs, it’s been so crazy,” Molly admits. “But besides all that… I’ve been spending a lot of time by myself.”

Molly’s story has been heavily documented by media platforms from i-D to Fader: growing up in Florida, like many teenagers she started taking snapshots of her favourite bands from the hardcore punk scenes in Miami and Pompano and photographing her friends for their MySpace profiles.

These days, Molly’s work is celebrated for her honed eye for balanced compositions and the topical — and universally relevant — themes of age, sex and gender which surge beneath the surface of her work. She’s been working on a new direction recently, which she tells us is still taking form. “A lot of the photographs from this edit are mostly unreleased and belong in a body of work I’ve been poking and prodding at for the past six months,” Molly explains. “I’m always thinking about sex and femininity, it’s just taking a new form lately,” Molly says. “I’ve been thinking about romance in the classical sense and in the contemporary sense. The photographs suggest romance in a sort-of fantasy world. Anyway, I’m still figuring it all out.”

As for the inspiration behind her new direction, she tells us “there is a store in San Francisco I frequent called The Magazine and it’s a magazine and porn/erotic image archive. I just go and sit in the back room for hours flipping through binders of nude/pornographic polaroids and 4×5 contact prints from the 60s and 70s. Also [I’m inspired by] the new Henry Roy Etudes book, Superstition.”

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