The series “Limelight” is both an instinctive response to the world around me and a deliberate investigation into the perception and understanding of photography in the early 21st century. The pictures are made spontaneously, in the tradition of street photography, while the final image is influenced by my appreciation and ultimate rejection of constructed and staged photography. I have sought to define a photographic style that merges the emotional immediacy of pictures made by observational photographers such as Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, and Gary Winogrand, with the formal aesthetic and metaphorical content of theater, and consequentially the constructed photographs of artists such as Jeff Wall, Gregory Crewdson and Philip-Lorca diCorcia.
The unconventional, somewhat hyper-real look of the pictures is the result of a complex post-production technique that I have developed over the past two years. Though the physical structure of the picture remains as seen through the camera, this process distills basic information such as color and surface texture to the essential. The figures become sculptural, caught in a dimension of time slowed to a stop. It is my intention that by making the familiar slightly strange, the pictures will stir viewers to reconsider what they might see every day, if they choose to look more closely.
Matthew Baum (Brooklyn, NY) was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. He graduated from Brown University in 1995 with a degree in history and later studied architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Matthew earned an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, Photography, Video and Related Media program in May 2007. Upon graduation, he was awarded Chairman’s Honors and the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award. Matthew has recently had a solo show at the Humble Arts Foundation and been included in exhibitions at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center, and the Visual Arts Gallery in New York City. Matthew is a member of the School of Visual Arts faculty and founder and co-director of the VisuaLife photo education program, working with underprivileged youth in New York City.