Wild edgy landscapes and the rusting metal that comes with industrial decline are magnets to photographer Matt Swift.
He is a man who likes to capture the more rugged, unpolished side of the landscape and present it to us oozing with atmosphere.
“I like creating dark, gritty environmental portraits and most definitely don’t like pictures that are static. I like to be taking something that is alive and moving,” he said.
Hence if you scroll through the images on his website you will spot a lot of ethereal seascapes, swirling mists of spray, rivers and waterfalls and if you visit his newly-opened gallery that’s what you will see on the walls.
But don’t assume that the Peak District photographer will be limiting his inspiration to his home turf as many of his pictures are from the Isle of Skye and Glencoe, a part of Scotland he calls The Wild West.
“I never tire of being there. But I am also going to be adding new images from the Peak District into the gallery,” he said while clarifying firmly that he is a photographer who happens to live in the Peak District not a Peak District photographer.
Matt and his wife Georgie live with their two sons aged nine and six, at Little Longstone and the gallery has been painstakingly built by Matt, with the help of a professional builder.
He wanted the building, which is also his studio, to look and feel as if it had been built at the same time as their cottage and admits that he became a bit of a control freak while it was going up.
The result of his tenaciousness is that it does, indeed, look like a renovated barn and sits comfortably within its surroundings.
“I knew what I wanted and although it took longer than it might have done I am pleased that I insisted on getting it,” he said, standing back to admire the building.
The success of the project may have a little to do with the fact that Matt studied engineering fbefore he was lured into the world of photography.
He has been an advertising, landscape and location photographer for more than 20 years and started out in London creating food photography for the books of the likes of Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater.
Romance saw him follow Georgie, whom he had only known for a few months at the time, out to Ghana where he found plenty of work taking commercial shots for agencies dealing with big name clients.
On their return to England the couple came to live in Matt’s home county where, using the contacts and confidence he built up in Africa, he has earned himself a reputation as a photographer with a instinctive knowledge of light and composition, and a distinctive style of his own.
As well as his cinematic, painterly landscape images, he also takes intimate portraits of people as diverse as foundry workers and chefs. Alongside commercial assignments Matt says its important to have personal projects, he is currently working with Peak Rail taking environmental portraits of volunteers.
If you want to see more of Matt’s work either go along to his gallery or online to http://www.mattswiftgallery.co.uk.
There is also a link there to his commercial work website.