Matthew Pillsbury

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Matthew Pillsbury is a leading contemporary photographer, who is well known for his depictions of New York City life.

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Early Life

Matthew Pillsbury was born in Neiully, France on 25 November 1973 to American parents, who had moved to France in the 1960s. Pillsbury was educated in France, before moving to America in 1991, where he graduated from Yale University School of Art with a BA in Fine Art in 1995. It was at Yale, studying under Lois Conner, that he first became interested in photography as an art form.

Photographic Career

Pillsbury’s career began when ‘The New York Times’ commissioned him to make a series of photographs of New York City museums after closing time. In 2005 he began his next project, ‘Screen Lives’, which would preoccupy him for several years. Inspired by his interest in how technology influences our lives, Pillsbury set about photographing friends and family using computers and watching television in their apartments. The latter was a novel activity for him, as his parents had not allowed him to watch it as a child. Pillsbury uses a large format 8 x 10 inch camera to produce the black and white photographs, which he exposed for up to two hours, giving the picture a ghostly appearance. This technique is similar to that of Abelardo Morell, a photographer and fellow Yale alumni, who has been a key influence on him throughout his career.

City Stages

In his most recent project, ‘City Stages’, he focuses his lens on events at iconic locations around New York City, such as jazz performances at The Lincoln Centre, and a Chinese New Year parade through Chinatown. The project received critical acclaim, and several prints from the series were printed in ‘New York Magazine’ in 2011 for a feature called ‘Reasons to Love New York 2011’. His photographs are included in the permanent collections of over 20 museums and galleries including The Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, as well as, The Louvre in Paris and Tate Modern in London.