Matthew Hamon: The States Project: Montana
I was first introduced to Matthew Hamon through social media. We have what I refer to as a digital friendship where you get to know the artist via Facebook as they post about their family, accolades, and their photography, but have never met in person. From Matt’s posts, he strikes me as a sincere person with a strong moral compass. His news feed grabbed my interest during the demonstrations at Standing Rock, and I looked to his posts to visually inform me. The images went beyond being purely a document of the demonstrations to thoughtful imagery utilizing temperature of light and perspective to aid in a visual understanding. I had my daily feed of images from The Guardian, CNN, and The New Yorker, but it was Matt’s work that engaged me. The images he created made me feel like an observer at the parameter of a refugee camp. I soon discovered after looking at more of his work, he makes a profound statement, without screaming at the viewer—subtle, much like I imagine his personality to be. The work presented here, On The Hi-Line, conveys that same quiet tribute I saw in his project The Stand at Standing Rock. He educates with his camera and creates contradictions of this place. By utilizing a pastel color pallet and soft light that conjure ideas of romance he challenges the viewer’s definition of a stretch of Montana landscape that is known for being windy, cold, desolate, and suffering from economic downturn. Matthew is giving the viewer a perspicacious photographic eulogy.
Matthew Hamon is a freelance portrait photographer who lives in rural Montana. His photography exists conceptually and aesthetically in the spaces between photojournalism and staged editorial imagery. Matthew hails from a small, remote town in Northern California. A sense of place informed by wandering the woods as a child inspires his enquiry. Self-described as “post-rural,” Matt currently lives in Potomac, Montana near the Blackfoot River. Matt is a featured artist in Scott Ligon’s, “Digital Art Revolution,” ( Watson-Guptil/Random House). Matthew’s work has been featured on CNN, Outside Magazine, The Independent -UK, Lens Culture, LifeFramer, 1 Million Photographers (1MP), 6Mois.fr, Stern.de, morphyne.com, Edge of Humanity, Don’t Take Pictures, and Month of Photography, Los Angeles (MOPLA). Matthew was a finalist for the 2016 edition of “Nera di Verzasca Award,” and winner of the Diaframmi Chiusi Photography Prize. He is a 2016 Syngenta photography award recipient and first prize winner in PhotogrVphy’s 2016 grant. Matthew recently had two portraits featured in the 2016 edition of the Taylor Wessing Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK.
This ongoing project examines the fractured culture, landscape, industry, and architecture of Montana’s northern latitudes as The USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has caused a shift from small, family owned farmsteads to large corporate agricultural production. This centralization of industry and economy has left little opportunity for young people in these once thriving rural communities. This project contemplates the drosscape between industry and wildlands, progress and stasis. Such hybrid, incomplete integration seems to be a new and important demographic vector in the West, seen in other economies beyond academia. The grafting of non-place-based industries, like data server farms, package processing depots, health care centers and internet start-up companies imply a more partial and contingent relationship to the land than ranches and mines. Perhaps this marks a redefinition of this place so steeped in mythic and legendary history.
Hi-Line refers to the northern portion of Montana just south of the Canadian border along which runs the main line of the BNSF Railway, Amtrak’s, Empire Builder, and U.S. Highway 2.
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Lauren Grabelle: The States Project: MontanaJune 11th, 2017
Patrick Warner: The States Project: MontanaJune 10th, 2017
Matthew Hamon: The States Project: MontanaJune 9th, 2017
Kelsey Weyerbacher: The States Project: MontanaJune 8th, 2017
Christina Z. Anderson: The States Project: MontanaJune 7th, 2017