Browsing Tag

photography

DUALITY

February 21, 2016

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‘Every aspect of business and personal development is for the greater good, and serves a higher purpose’ – Leonard Mattis

I’ve just returned home from two weeks of intensive study which formed the first module of my Global Executive MBA. The module was ‘Leadership’, and the various styles of.

From military to musical, philosophical to totalitarian. Leadership is an extremely rich topic, and one that plays a significant role in our culture, past and present.

I’m currently in the process of writing my reflective essay, and thought I would share an insight that has dropped in deeper for me. The Cohort spent day five of the program at Randwick Army Barracks, where we were lectured by a number of high ranking officers (including the Chief of Army) on military leadership and hierarchical organisation.

My insight derives from an interest of mine that began a few years ago. The concept of duality, and the role it plays as part of the human experience. Can we fully understand certain aspects of life without knowing its opposite or shadow side? For instance, how could we come to know hot without cold, light without dark, poor without rich, peace without war and so forth.

I find with deeper insights, a nimiety of questions come to the surface: Does duality exist for us to experience ourselves fully? To experience all facets of who we are? In particular our physical senses. Does duality play a significant role in the foundation of the human experience, a game of which we choose how we want to play? A game set up to satisfy our basic desire to fix, improve or change? What would life be without these opposites and without them would there even be a game to play?

I have come to realise that in truth, there are no answers. But only questions, and more questions.

Photographer: Johnny Diaz Nicholaidis

THE DANCE

December 14, 2015

IMG_4073 (2)‘The Dance Has Many Faces’ – Leonard Mattis

To capture the spark of creation that the hands pilfer from its creator.  To observe the beauty as well as the intricacy with which they become involved in their own creativeness.  Eloquent and silent, restless and in repose.

Words by Leonard Mattis. Photographed by Johnny Diaz Nicholaidis

TONY MOTT

November 11, 2015

Photographer Tony Mott.  Interview by Benjamen Judd.

Coinciding with the opening of his latest retrospective, What A Life! Rock Photography by Tony Mott, rock photographer Tony Mott has released his third book A-Z: Rock ‘n’ Roll Photography.

One of the most comprehensive collections of Mott’s work throughout the years, A-Z is “a monster book of just about everybody” he’s ever photographed.

For more than thirty years, Mott has been at the heart of the music scene’s maelstrom. Untold magazine covers, candid portraits, album art – Mott has captured the raw energy of the world’s most iconic performers as they themselves were lost in their moment.

A native of the UK, Mott came to Australia at the beginning of the 80s where he found work as a chef in The Gazebo Hotel, sitting at the fringe of Sydney’s Red Light district in Kings Cross. It was while working here that he found his calling, at the foot of a stage and during the early days of one of Australia’s greatest performers, Chrissy Amphlett.

Since then, Mott has worked with the likes of Midnight Oil, The Angels, Madonna, Sonic Youth, Marilyn Manson and Bjork – just a casual glance at Mott’s resume reads like an honour roll of music’s history.

To hear Tony speak of this era is to catch a glimmer of the energy that propelled it – the decadence, the raw talent and their determination to succeed. His fast-paced, only slightly accented voice carries you with him – it’s a frantic pace, but with all the enthusiasm of someone still very much passionate about what he does.

INTERVIEW WITH TONY MOTT

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You came to Australia as a chef – where the did the photography career begin?

I was a huge music fan and a photography hobbyist, mainly because I had been travelling the world and capturing that, but I was also in love with black and white portraits so I got an art student friend to teach me basic black and white processing and printing. Then one night, I was in the Picadilly Hotel, and Chrissy Amphlett was on stage – this was long before they were really famous – and I was thinking “god, that must be really difficult to shoot with all those lights going on and off”. From there, I started practicing my photos on Chrissy Amphlett.

As muses go, you picked an amazing one.

Absolutely! And I wasn’t aware at the time that I was shooting the greatest female performer I have ever come across and that’s how I started.

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What was it like to be in Sydney, working in Kings Cross, in the 80s?

In the early 80s, Sydney’s live music scene was unbelievably vibrant. You could go see a band seven nights a week in whatever suburb you wanted to. Every single suburb had gigs!

I guess, though, that it’s like everything in hindsight – you don’t realise how great it is at the time. Everyone was living, everyone was into music and the inner city particularly had this huge culture.

The Trade Music Club on Foveaux Street was somewhere that everyone naturally gravitated towards every Friday and Saturday night and you could see six different bands on three levels there and it was guaranteed packed every Friday and Saturday night.

At the time, I wasn’t wondering around going “oh god how lucky are we, this is fantastic!” but I look back on it now with exactly that emotion – my god, how lucky was I? It was a fantastic time and I just loved that culture.

During this time, also, street press started and it was revolutionary – no one else was doing it. Free music newspapers every week and every venue had it and it was like the bible of gig guides. I literally wandered into their offices early on and flaunted my services.

Back then, they didn’t pay much but that wasn’t the point – it was just a passion. I look back on it with huge affection but I really had no idea at the time just how special this period was. And this time, that scene, produced Australia’s greatest ever exports of live and recording artists and bands.

What do you think was happening at this time that really made Australian scene so alive in comparison to the UK and US?

I think a lot of the pubs in Australia at that time had these big beer barns off to the side. So landlords had this enormous amount of space they needed to use so it became that putting in a live rock and roll band was the thing to do. In the early days, this was why it was called Aussie pub rock. The Angels, Rose Tattoo – these all came out this time.

Funny story, The Cure came to Australia in 1981 and toured Sydney for three months and never played the same suburb twice. Robert Smith was quite demoralised when he first got here, saying “ergh are we doing a pub tour” but of course he had this image of English pubs with maybe 50 people in the corner. They performed at Selena’s in Coogee and they got 1600 people attending and at the time this was The Cures biggest ever gig …and they were playing at a pub.

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(Chrissy Amphlett & Band, taken at the Bexley North Pub, typical of its time at the height of the Sydney pub live scene)

You’ve been in the industry for a long time – you must have seen some enormous changes to the way things operate in the industry?

That’s the other golden era! When the 80s arrived, MTV culture came out and the videos along with it. But the record companies didn’t get involved in the beginning, they basically said “oh look MTV sells records so we better make a video”. But all the directors were jumping at the chance and the imagination was just amazing.

But slowly but surely the clips now have become very clichéd and record companies have all got involved. But the early filmmakers were really just given this blank canvas and it was fantastic – it wasn’t necessarily with a big budget, it was just big imaginations.

My best friend, Paul Goldman, who started out in Melbourne, he did Elvis Costello’s “I Want To Be Loved” video and it’s literally just Elvis Costello in a photobooth with strangers kissing him on the cheek and it was shot on a budget of $500 – this still wins awards today!. But MTV really did change everything because people started to look at music instead of actually listening to it. I mean, the Spice Girls are a direct result of “looking at music”.

The other massive change was of course the digital age.

I was dragged into the digital age kicking and screaming. I stayed on film for a long time and the first time I shot on digital I had a sense of cheating because it was so easy. The problem after digital was that lots of people suddenly became photographers. And of course then there was the iPhone. But this isn’t a whinge – this is just the natural attrition of life, this is just how things happened. I have twins now who are four and a half years old and when they were born I took a year or so off so I could help look after them full time. When I went back there really was a vast change. I used to have 182 magazines on my books and of those 182 magazines, 160 of them didn’t exist. They had all gone online and people aren’t paying the same for the photos and with the record companies – there were once fifteen majors based in Sydney and now there are only three.

Music also used to have a huge left wing element to it, which is great. Bands like the Clash, Midnight Oil, Red Gum bands that were really pissed off with the world. I still cant believe that Tony Abbott didn’t produce a punk band that were angry and this is another thing that has changed.

midnight oil by tony mott20johnny rotten photo#AFA2E(Midnight Oil, Homebush, Sydney 1986 and Johnny Rotten, The Hordern, Sydney 1985)

You’ve worked with and met a huge spectrum of artists – has there been any particular band or sound that stands out as a favourite?

I shot everything that moved, there wasn’t a band or gig I wouldn’t shoot so I can’t really say I had a favourite – I really did shoot everything.

For example, I was on the road with Sonic Youth and I shot Sonic Youth’s EP Cover and that for me is the height of cool. Then, within 24 hours I was on the road with Michael Bolton. It doesn’t get much more contrasting than that. This didn’t bother me either, because it was all entertainment and it was always interesting seeing different things that might not be your cup of tea.

Music also used to have a huge left wing element to it, which is great. Bands like the Clash, Midnight Oil, Red Gum bands that were really pissed off with the world. I still cant believe that Tony Abbott didn’t produce a punk band that were angry and this is another thing that has changed.

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(David Bowie)

Have you ever been surprised by the artists you have worked with?

Not really…but I always found it peculiar that heavy metal bands, these men all dressed in leather, were all quite shy. I had one band, I cant remember their name it might have been Iron Maiden or something and they were dressed up in their leathers but then they were all saying “oooh no I don’t want to go outside, what if someone sees us?” There was a lot of bravado going on.

Also, you always find that people who have bad reputations aren’t like that at all. I worked with Prince and he was an absolutely normal and pleasant chap; Marilyn Manson couldn’t have been more articulate and pleasant and dare I say a gentleman. A lot of them are thespians and what you see is a performance.

Lastly, what do you think makes a great photograph?

The thing about capturing something live is that it is all about that split moment and getting a performance when all the elements are in place.

For a portrait, it’s a different kettle of fish. Its easier to take a photo but harder to capture their essence. I go into every photo session and try to do my very best and the ones that work – they just work.

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(Mick Jagger, SYS, Sydney 1985)

Leonard Mattis Studio presents, A-Z: Rock ‘n’ Roll Photography

LAUNCH NIGHT: Friday 20th November, 6-10pm

The studio will be transformed for a live four hour experience, with art installations and performances by:
– Lexi Land
– Matt Format
– DJ Suzie Q (Longrain)
– Simon Rosa (Musician/Guitarist)
– Matthew Gode Matthew (Choreographer)
– Erica Stubbs, Ashleigh Tavares, Shivawn Joubert (Dancers)

Please forward your rsvp to leonard@leonardmattis.com

EXHIBITION: Saturday 21st November, 11am-5pm

A selection of prints will be on display, with a live stream of music from the launch night providing an aural backdrop for the visuals. Tony will be presenting and story telling from 3-4pm.

Signed limited edition copies of the book will be available for purchase on both days.

Proudly sponsored by Two Birds Brewing and Grandeur Wellington

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

BOOK LAUNCH

November 7, 2015

20johnny rotten photo#AFA2E

Leonard Mattis Studio presents a two day event to launch and celebrate a new book by legendary rock photographer Tony Mott.

Tony is regarded as one of the world’s best rock photographers. In the early 80’s he got his break with a photograph of Chrissy Amphlett, lead singer of the band Divinyls, and since then has had over 30,000 photographs published in 20 countries and his images have appeared on the covers of over 500 CDs.

His portfolio features the biggest and greatest names in popular music, such as the Rolling Stones, Madonna and U2 as well as the rich and varied Australian independent band scene.

LAUNCH NIGHT: Friday 20th November, 6-10pm

The studio will be transformed for a live four hour experience, with art installations and performances by:

– Lexi Land
– Matt Format
– DJ Suzie Q (Longrain)
– Simon Rosa (Musician/Guitarist)
– Matthew Gode Matthew (Choreographer)
– Erica Stubbs, Ashleigh Tavares, Shivawn Joubert (Dancers)

Please forward your rsvp to leonard@leonardmattis.com

EXHIBITION: Saturday 21st November, 11am-5pm

A selection of prints will be on display, with a live stream of music from the launch night providing an aural backdrop for the visuals. Tony will be presenting and story telling from 3-4pm.

Signed limited edition copies of the book will be available for purchase on both days.

Proudly sponsored by Two Birds Brewing and Grandeur Wellington

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

HAND OF THE CREATOR

June 28, 2015

‘The hand grasps the world it creates. In serving its master, it reflects his being, as if through a mirror, in a thousand and one ways’ – Walter Sorell

Even before my passion for the craft of hairdressing began I had always been fascinated by hands. I guess with life in general I find nothing more intriguing than the hidden meaning of the most obvious, and our hands are certainly something we can often take for granted.

As the servant of our bodies and the instrument of our mind, the hand has always been part of our physical and intellectual life. Reacting to every tremor of emotion, responding to outside stimuli faster than we can speak, they are a mystery with which we live and a reality which we use as a tool, and a means of expression.

With hairdressing, like any artist; our tools become an extension of the hands, a channel for pure creativity to flow.

The images below are the outcome of a recent collaboration with Sydney based photographer Byron Spencer, featuring model Alex Thorn.

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Conception and hair: Leonard Mattis using Leonard Mattis products
Photography: Byron Spencer
Location: Leonard Mattis Studio
Model: Alex Thorn at IMG Models

CLEMENT LOUIS

June 12, 2015

Artist Clement Louis.  Interview by Benjamen Judd.

At first glance, the work of French artist Clement Louis proffers a macabre, almost grotesque interpretation of beauty.

Bone structure and facial cavities are exaggerated; flesh is bleached to a corpse-like pallor that is made the more shocking due to the juxtaposing colour palette. For anyone from the MTV generation they might immediately recognize the treatment of the human form as redolent of Peter Chung’s groundbreaking animation Aeon Flux, with a touch of Egon Schiele’s stunning skeletalism.

A similar haunted beauty operates within Clement’s photography (Clement is one of those rare artists with a genuine eye for both mediums). Stark and romantic, these images are as haunting as Louis’ paintings, and no less peregrine for all the visible flesh of his human subjects.

This affected gauntness, and delicate dance between revulsion and romantic in Clement’s art, may be what brought him to the attention of Rick Owens, for whom Louis was commissioned to photograph one the renowned designer’s most recent collections.

I got to chat to Clement and learn a little bit more about his art, his inspirations and the process of becoming a self-taught artist and what inspires him to create.

INTERVIEW WITH CLEMENT LOUIS

1532133_10201827547622773_237464011_n(Artist portrait by Julien Martinez Leclerc)

Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up and what inspired you to become an artist?

I grew up in the north of France near Lille, it was the most inspiring time of my little life. I was a solitary child, always finding himself better in his mind than outside playing with other children.

I don’t remember deciding about art or to be an “artist”, it was just simple, it was me – I didn’t choose anything. My parents were very open about this and helped me this way. My sister is a photographer too so I think that’s the thing in my family – you can do whatever you want to if you do it good.

You have mentioned in previous interviews that you are mostly self-taught. Can you describe the process of how you honed your skill and developed your particular style of painting?

Yes true! I didn’t take any classes in drawing. I’ve always drawn, even as a child, of things like flowers or my mother. I’ve never not drawn, really. I tried to learn drawing and technique when I was in middle school with my best friend, trying to understand the style and the brush of artists like Hans Bellmer or Dali. I don’t’ really know where my style comes from, I think its more about an eye. I know what I like and want I can do. After that I just express myself with my influences and my inspiration.

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Your work is reminiscent of Austrian painter Egon Schiele and the illustrator Robert Gould – have these artists ever influenced our work?

I love Egon Schiele! I went to his museum in Vienna to see his paintings in person, he is amazing and I think he will always inspiring me. His brush is strong and bad. I love that. I’m trying to be more direct and brut too but I’m at that level yet.

Can you name some of your favourite artists?

As you said before Egon Schiele, Van Gogh, Hans Bellmer and a lot more designers, architects and even people from Instagram! I see so much talent there.

How would you describe the overall aesthetic of your work?

I’m trying to show the beautiful in the scary and disturbing things. I always loved villains, not for what they do but for the little beauty and magical thing you can see in their eyes. So…in a way strange, and not so much understood by word or concept but the little thing. You could say, “it’s ugly strange, I don’t understand it…but I like it”.

CLEMENTLOUISPATCHWORK2(Fashion Illustration. Fendi. Marni. Vivienne Westwood. Givenchy. Marc Jacobs)

Where else do you turn for inspiration in your work?

From many designers, from light? and my life everything can be inspiration if you know how to open your eyes.

You work across two mediums – photography and painting. Do you have a preference for one? If so, why?

No at all! It’s always a fight with myself about this cause I can’t choose, and in fact I just think maybe I will not – I love both of them, I find inspiration in both of them so I will just try to combine my two passion to become maybe stronger in both.

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What is next on the horizon for you?

I don’t know. I’m just about to leave London to go back to Paris. Let’s just hope more projects, more collaborations, more paintings, more photography. And just keep the passion intact.

tumblr_n7sdibWEpC1qzxuzqo1_1280tumblr_mtr2er1HYG1qzxuzqo1_1280(Photography for designer Rick Owens)

Follow Clement Louis on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram.

THE CREATIVE MINIMALIST

May 10, 2015

DSC_4752 - Version 2INTERVIEW: With Zoe Porter from Iconic and Vintage.

Leonard Mattis has the sexiest hands on earth…

He also happens to be a highly regarded Sydney hair stylist with a super cool studio space that has become the local hub HQ of artistic show-casing. This entrepreneurial, softly spoken creative has some exciting irons in the fire and it seems like the boy from London’s East End won’t be twiddling his thumbs any time soon.

Read the full interview here

THE ART OF HAIRDRESSING

November 29, 2014

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‘Like any artist, our tools become an extension of the hands. A pathway for pure creativity to flow’ – Leonard Mattis

Photographed by Kylie Coutts

THE MUSE

August 25, 2014

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‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players.  They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts’ – Extract from ‘As You Like It’ by William Shakespeare.

Throughout history The Muse has been the constant companion to The Artist. Kiki de Montparnasse, Patti Smith, Edie Sedgwick – all contemporary embodiments of this elusive spirit.

For some time, good friend and Sydney based artist Lexi Land has been my own muse.  A dynamic heroine with a flamboyant style and her own fiery talent.

For me, the creative process is about nurturing and bringing to life what comes through me.  There is no set agenda or outcome.  It’s a feeling.  A feeling that moves me and has to be set free.

Lexi’s process holds a similar philosophy.  A  few months ago I asked her if she would be interested in being the subject for a concept I had been working on.  She agreed and the collaborative process began.

And so here are the results.

Photographed by Kiki Sjoberg at Leonard Mattis Studio

Corsetry by Joucelen Gabriel

Lexi Land’s annual solo exhibition opens at the studio in October this year.