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Student finds a winning flow in photography challenge


A University of Wolverhampton Photography student has found a winning flow by snapping up a winning place in a prestigious photography challenge.

Matthew Hark, 21 from Telford, studying for a degree in Photography in the Wolverhampton School of Art, submitted a sample of his work in the ‘Still Life Using Daylight’ category of the Flow Master Print Challenge 2 competition, sponsored by Hahnemuhle.

The weekly competition is set by one of the UKs primary exhibitors of work by international artists, the David Hill Gallery, and all submitted work is judged by photography industry experts and professionals.

Flow Photographic Gallery in London highlights work by British photodocumentarians, and about Britain by photographers from distant shores, though regular exhibitions & events.

Matthew’s photograph of a kitchen sink was inspired by the significance of lighting in photography. While in lockdown, Matthew has been observing the condition of light, throughout different times of the day, penetrating his home, following changes of light, its influences on the mundane surfaces in his home. The image of the kitchen sink emphasis the novelty and the beauty observed, the graceful reflections the light produces off the surfaces of the kitchen, elevating the colours, the reds, and the greens in the commonplace objects in the kitchen.   

He said: “I am honoured to have been selected; it is a thrilling feeling. I’m so grateful for the opportunity from Flow Photographic who have launched these thought-provoking competitions and I’m thankful for the University staff for encouraging it. It has been astonishing to have won.

“The course leaders and staff have excelled in offering opportunities, even during a pandemic, as well as encouraging us to reach out to professionals in our industry to keep building connections.

“Learning has changed during these times but we have an updated forum on our online learning system highlighting opportunities like these and we are in direct contact with staff who are always on hand to offer advice and insight into our working practice.”

Euripides Altintzoglou, Course Leader (Photography) and Senior Lecturer (Fine Art & Photography) at the University, said: “This competition has attracted entries from leading photographers around the world and it’s amazing that one of our students has been so successful. This is fantastic for Matthew and for all of the third year students on the BA Photography Course in the Wolverhampton School of Art.”

Matthew plans to study for a Master’s degree in Documentary Photography when he graduates, with the aim of working as a documentary journalist.

Matthew’s Final Year project is called ‘A New Prosperity’ it is an enduring contemporary documentary project. It focuses on the fundamental chapters arising in the UK at the beginning of the new decade: the day of the general election (December 2019), the tranquil devastation of the floods (February 2020), the spread the COVID-19 in the UK (March 2020).

He said: “These images discreetly aim to encapsulate the mood and the effect of consequences on the country, specifically the area of West Midlands, by dutifully documenting the responses and the development of these events through street photography.

“The project concentrates on producing a defining representation of the UK today, as its post-Brexit utopianism is ravaged by disasters that are forcing us to face the consequences of recent social and political decisions.”

A selection of this project has featured in New Wave Art Exhibition, which is available to view online and on Instagram as part of an exhibition at the Viner Gallery in Wolverhampton.

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