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Charlie Matthews


So back in 2016 I was heading off to New York to model and took my little bridging camera with me to see if I could get some photographs to take back and show my dad. We went on a sunset cruise one evening on the Hudson River and I absolutely loved being the other side of the camera snapping away and catching amazing landmarks like the Statue of Liberty.


When I came home, I carried on with photography and used it as a big part of the OCR Entry Level qualification in Art that I completed in June 2017. I was awarded a level 3 which is the highest you can achieve.


I began to research camera’s as I felt quite limited with the one that I had. I found my dream camera second hand and purchased it at the end of 2016. I am so lucky to know so many photographers through modelling and I was given a free photography lesson for my birthday from Simon Giddings.  We had met years before in 2014 at a beauty pageant and he had kept in touch. We arranged my first lesson at Laycock, and I had my two model friends Georgina and Darcey help me out as my models.


I was so pleased with my first model shoot and my work from this was displayed in The Black Swan Arts Gallery in Frome for a month as part of their young open exhibition. As time has gone on, I have tried all sorts of photography and have found I really love wildlife, (although I need to learn to have more patience for this!) macro and fine art portraiture. I submitted some of my animal photography into a local Rotary Club competition in Frome and actually won. It then meant my work was put forward to the district competition where it won that and was submitted to the international finals. I did not win this, but I did receive a Highly Commended which I was very pleased with.


I have been given guidance by some amazing photographers. Before I had my own studio space the lovely photographer Lisa Visser arranged for me to use hers and helped me with lighting. It really gave me the confidence to make my own space and purchase lighting. A local photographer Kim Rowlands also helped me, she put on several creative evenings that I attended and helped me with photoshop. This is an area I still have a lot to learn. David Shoukry at EPW just outside Bath gave me as a more in-depth portraiture editing session recently which has helped me with my latest work.


One of my favourite trips out was with Caroline Shee a photographer who took me out to a nature reserve last October. We were really lucky to find a wasp nest and I got some really cool images that I have included in my GCSE work.


I have recently come back from a week long workshop in the Outer Hebrides with Tracy Willis where I modelled but also joined the workshop as a photographer. I came away having learnt so much and even more sure that a photographer is what I want to be! In September I am off to Italy on another week long workshop but this time purely as a photographer! 


I am a member of The Guild of Photographers and have been awarded two bronzes and one silver which I’m very proud of. I am always constantly trying to improve and following other photographers and listening to their guidance I believe will help me to my goal. I am also a member of The Societies of Photographers and like attending their roadshows. They have some really interesting speakers that I find inspiring.


So, what is the next step for me as a photographer? I am currently working really hard on my GCSE exam. I decided to take my Art and Photography exams a year early so I can complete an A level in my final year of school, so I have needed to put a lot of work in. I chose Textures as my exam topic and I am working on a very cool final project so you will just have to watch this space to see what it is!

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