Matt Irwin is one of those unique Melbourne artists who is dedicated to his artform as well as his city. A born and bred Melburnian, Matt Irwin has been photographing the city for most of his life. He began photography business over 20 years ago, selling his shots of the city from a stall at the St Kilda markets every weekend, then developing a city gallery. He prints all the canvases and mounted images himself, as well as many cards and postcards. He has just released his book, "Melbourne: A Love Affair", a visual collection from his years spent capturing Melbourne's life.
Even if you live in Melbourne yourself, you see a whole other side of it through the images here. Things that you don't notice during your everyday life become significant on canvas. This photographer has an eye for seeing the stories in the everyday things we ignore. The cityscapes are my favourite shots - I took a cheeky shot of this one, called Bright Point, that I just love:
It looks so much like a painting, except that when you get up close, the detail is much sharper than a painting can be.
I come here to get cards and postcards to send to friends overseas, to show them the best parts of where I live. I also love seeing the new images that appear on the walls here, and marvel at the talent of the man who brings so many colours and stories to life on canvas. I always feel inspired to go out and wander Melbourne with my own camera, and I have done so a few times after visiting the gallery. My shots never look as good of course, but the feeling of knowing that it can be done is encouraging and challenging.
Matt Irwin Photography has had a city shop for four years, and has recently moved from an alley off Flinder's Lane into the Nicholas Building, the largely hidden creative hub on the corner of Flinder's Lane and Swanston St.
To find the new gallery space, you first have to find the arcade on ground level, which gets a little overshadowed by the large Subway on the corner. This is called the Cathedral Arcade, which has a gorgeous old charm, bordering on dilapidated. You find the lifts in the middle of the arcade, and they can take you up to floor 7. Right outside the lift there's a small wooden sign-box with Matt Irwin Photography in gold lettering, along with offices and another gallery on this level. There's no arrows though, so you might have to do a loop of the corridors, like I did. If you turn RIGHT you'll see a sign, then an open door, then something like this:
The space is brightly lit by the huge old windows, as well as with the gallery lighting. There's colour everywhere. Don't rush yourself here, and try not to get overwhelmed. Take time to look at each image, because there's a lot to each of them, especially the famous cityscapes that MI is known for, and his shots of Melbourne's graffiti and lanes.