Matthew’s latest project, The Farrier, is a photographic documentary, recording the work of a self-employed farrier who works in and around the Lambourn Downs. In a departure from Matthew’s signature style of expansive, spacious and immersive landscapes, architectural photographs and travel images, Matthew has instead opted to use a small and fast rangefinder camera to enable him to react and move with the speed of the scenes unfolding before him. Using only the natural light available, fixed focal length lenses and very shallow depth of field Matthew is able to capture the beauty and atmosphere of the activity and the surroundings.
‘The Farrier’ tells the story in photographs of a series of days spent with Andy Eadie, in the cold depths of winter, 2013. Working in the racing yards, livery yards and private stables, Andy’s work takes place out of view of all but those that either own or work with the horses. Matthew’s work not only documents the artisan craftsman at work, but captures the textures, colours and fabric of the stables, as well as hinting at the quietly intimate relationship Andy develops with the horses he works with.
In a world where the horse and jockey are frequently photographed at events, Matthew’s work presents a view that is rarely seen or presented to the public – his photographs not only documenting the process but creating compelling and moving images that are as much at home on a gallery wall, as they are in a book.
Race horses warming up ahead of a session on the gallops, at a racing stables in Lambourn, West Berkshire. Lambourn is famous for it's champion winning racing stables and is renowned as a centre of excellence due to it's quality gallops on the chalky Lambourn Downs.
Andy the farrier applies a hot horseshoe to a cob at a livery yard in Oxfordshire. As Andy starts to apply the shoe, he takes as huge intake of breath and continues to apply for as long as he is able to hold his breath and see what he is doing (which isn't long!).
In the back of Andy's van is a superbly designed and crafted horseshoe rack which contains a selection of his most commonly used shapes and sizes. They are also make using many different metals, including lightweight 'running shoes' for when the horses are racing.
Andy doesn't often hot shoe horses, preferring the cold shoeing method. But when he does, it's a spectacle like no other - the smell sound and sight of a hot shoe being worked and applied is an ancient and mesmerising experience.