This essay examines contemporary race and class disparities in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood. The project is titled, “Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town.”
Behind the Lens with Matt Eich - The Photo Brigade
In this edition of “Behind the Lens”, Alex Federowicz interviews documentary photographer Matt Eich after his recent decision to leave Luceo Images, a collective he co-founded.
A while back I had the opportunity to sit down and spend a little time with documentary photographer Matt Eich, talking about his work and how he gets it all to fit together as a photographer and a person. With the recent announcement that he and other founding members, Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks, would be leaving Luceo, I thought it would be a good moment to go and revisit our conversation.
As of Friday, photographers Matt Eich, Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks are no longer members of LUCEO, a photo collective which we’ve been following for quite some time.
LUCEO member Matt Eich has received a $12,000 grant from ShootQ/Pictage for his ongoing project “Sin and Salvation in Baptist Town.” These images were part of his original application, submitted in August of 2010.
The 2011 Short Grants winners are Victor J. Blue, Gabriela Bulisova, Mary F. Calvert, Matt Eich, and Mark Ovaska.
In May of 2011 I was able to return to Baptist Town thanks to the generous support of 103 backers as one of the first projects successfully funded via the crowdfunding platform Emphas.is
Still in his mid-twenties, Matt Eich has an impressive list of achievements under his belt already. I had a general sense of curiosity about his work, and I figured the best way to learn more about it - and the person behind the camera - was to ask some questions
Matt Eich’s “Sin and Salvation in Baptist Town” series wins the Photo Essay/Reportage category of the PDN Curator Awards,
Matt Eich was studying photography in college when he and his girlfriend had a baby at 21 years of age. As you can imagine, this forced him to be much more deliberate about growing his photography business and he started freelancing while in college. His vision as a photographer led him the 2006 College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) award, and he also co-founded Luceo Images, which is one of the bright stars to emerge in the photography collective world.
This thought occurred to me most recently when Matt Eich was in Portland for the opening of a showing of his pictures at Blue Sky Gallery. Matt was carrying his camera, a Canon 5D Mark II with a 35 mm f1.4, as he almost always does. He set it on the table in front of me when we were having drinks. And there it was, a piece of machinery so well used that there’s a lot worn silver around the edges and a ding or two. The lens glass was spotless, however.
Righthaven, the Las Vegas copyright troll formed this spring, has moved beyond lawsuits over newspaper articles and begun targeting websites for the unauthorized reposting of images. First up, more than a dozen infringement lawsuits concerning the so-called Vdara “death ray.”
September 23: A few minutes shy of 9PM I arrive in Greenwood and check into the Best Western. After dropping my stuff I jump in the car and roll over to the Burger King, one of the few places still serving food, and get two cheeseburgers, which I eat while driving to Baptist Town. I don’t need the GPS anymore to find my way around. Turns are made from memory, the pattern has solidified and it makes me feel more connected to the place.
Finding Clarity in Ambiguity
So a photographer walks into a bar. And, in the case of Matt Eich, he emerges with a newfound way of looking at the world.
It was then that I lost the sense of guilt that used to come from making pictures that didn’t have an actual narrative. I started to become more comfortable with ambiguity and with the sort of timelessness.
If Photojournalism Is Dead, What's Luceo?
James Estrin believes Luceo Images is a vibrant rebuttal to the notion floated by Neil Burgess that photojournalism died last month.
I realized that the success of Luceo is a very good rebuttal to those who believe photojournalism is dead. David Walter Banks, Kendrick Brinson, Matt Eich, Kevin German, Daryl Peveto and Matt Slaby are carefully laying plans for careers of 30 to 40 more years. They are all busy with assignments and working on personal projects. They look at the same circumstances Mr. Burgess did and come to an entirely different conclusion.
I mention the following probably just because I have Leicas on the brain after the past couple of days, but it strikes me that the S90 and S95 might be the up to the minute analog of the original Leica—the so-called "Barnack camera." It's capable but stealthy, as tiny as it can reasonably be, supremely portable and able to be carried virtually anywhere
After having nearly a week in Baptist Town while on assignment in May, I decided to return on my own in early July so I could cement relationships and get to know the people I had been photographing without any time restrictions. It is wonderful just being able to sit on the porch with someone and not have to hurry off to make pictures elsewhere. So many images happen as a result of just being still.
matt eich – carry me ohio
[slidepress gallery=’matteich-carrymeohio’] Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls EPF 2010 Finalist Matt Eich Carry Me Ohio play this essay Once known for …
In this series of images I show the isolated and trapped residents of Southeastern Ohio. From Hercules the German Shepherd, chained to his house in the snow to Timmy, asleep on the couch, trapped in his body and requiring around the clock care from his family. Despite their bleak surroundings there is still a sense of whimsy and beauty in the lives of the region’s occupants. They opened their homes to me and this is my love song to the place I once lived.
A few weeks ago, after visiting with the Sellers family in Columbus I traveled down to Athens where I decided to catch up with the other primary family I focused on at the beginning of this project.
Matt Eich (b. 1986) is a freelance photographer and founding member of Luceo Images. His work is rooted in memory, both personal and collective and he strives to approach every photograph with a sense of intimacy. He believes that stories are the fabric of history and that they have the power to inform and transform open-minded viewers.
In February of 2006 I unknowingly began making images that would later become an all-consuming project lasting for more than four years. I am excited to announce the first real printing of this body of work. Edited by Mike Davis and designed by his wife Deb Pang Davis of Cococello Design, it contains an afterword by Brian Paul Clamp, director of ClampArt in New York.