Matthew Lloyd is a photographer hailing from my own neck of the woods, West Yorkshire. From his base in Harrogate, he’s developed a career in which he describes himself as an advertising, corporate and editorial photographer. On his website, he also describes his work as “stylised location portraiture and natural reportage”.
Lloyd started to get noticed in photography competitions early in his journey to becoming a professional as he was shortlisted and then runner-up in three that he entered between 2008-2009. His big break into the photography world came when he won three awards in the space of just two years for his work. These awards included: Times/Canon Young Photographer of the Year (2009), Picture Editor’s Guild Young Photographer of the Year (2010), and Picture Editor’s Guild Young Photographer of the Year (2011).
The prize for winning the Times/Canon Young Photographer of the Year was a 6-month stint working as a photographer for The Times newspaper. This massively helped his career through experience and the making of contacts within the industry.
The image above is one of my favourites taken by Matthew Lloyd during his time working at The Times. It gives us viewers a lot of information with regards to what it’s about simply by its subjects and composition. This was an image taken during the campaign to get Gurkhas better rights of ‘right of abode’ if they fought for Great Britain. Joanna Lumley was perhaps the most famous of celebrities to take up the baton and led her celebrities weight behind the campaign to a point where it was in the news constantly and the government would have been perceived as the bad guys had they not changed the laws in favour of the Gurkhas.
What I like about the image is that the subjects tell us what it’s about but it tells us that the celebrity isn’t the main focus. It’s the ex-Gurkha that is the focal point of the story. The emotion on his face is one of sadness and the headwear, to me, shows his pride at being a Ghurkha who fought for our nation. The look on Lumley’s face and her positioning nearer to the camera shows that she’s fighting for him and his fellow soldiers and their rights. It’s also very nicely lit and coloured, as all of Lloyds images appear to be.
A piece of his work that struck me was for the company Brewdog who produce one of my current favourite beers, Punk IPA. He mentions how he only had a loose brief for the images the company wanted and so he decided on,
“an almost Blade Runner lighting setup for the action shots, and an industrial feel to the still life shots.”
I’m a massive fan of the film Blade Runner (and Punk IPA) so it’s probably no wonder that I enjoyed this set of images.
Another of the images from this project that I like is:
This image reminds me of the Lewis W. Hine image titled “Power House Mechanic Working on Steam Pump”, simply because of the piping positions/patterns and the positioning of items within those pipes.
I wouldn’t say that the Brewdog assignment is typical of Lloyds style as he more often seems to go for darker images with a shallower depth of field and it would appear that he definitely likes to use a vignette around his images. Whether it be food and drink, landscape, portraits, still-lifes or animals, I’d definitely say there’s a style to Lloyds work, and it’s one that I do rather like.
Below is a selection of his work taken from his website. Click an image for a larger version.
Although I like many of his images, out of the ones I’ve selected to display on my blog, I would have to say that I like the ones he did in India for Rentokill. The two images from that project are of the guys using drills; one into the ground and the other into a wall. I love how he’s taken a subject that, to many of us, is a boring one and created some really nice images about it. The one with the guy suspended from the side of a building drilling into the wall is nicely lit on the subject with the dust from the drilling adding a bit of action to the shot. The colour of the blue helmet adds to the image as well as the shallow depth of field directing us to exactly what we should be looking at.
The other image from this series is my preferred one. The guy drilling into the ground whilst a young family walks past shows us exactly why Rentokill are doing what they do and who they are helping with the service they provide. Such a great shot that tells a lot in one still image. The glare of the sun also adds to what could have been a very boring ‘industry’ style image. Again, a shallow depth of field has been used to show us exactly what we should be looking at before looking around the rest of the image, and the colour of the workman’s gloves and the clothes of the lady in the background add more to the image to brighten it some.
He has the vignette around the images again and, I’ve noticed in several of his images, they seem to be tilting to the left a bit. That is to say that the left side of many of his images seems to be lower than the right. Whether this is deliberate or not, I have no idea, but could possibly be his ‘thing’.
All-in-all, I really like the slightly dark look to many of Lloyds images but I also like what he can do with lights and gels. I like the way he not only uses artificial light but also the way he manages to illuminate subjects with natural light (the two Labradors in one of the hunting images, for example). The darker style is great for editorial/advertising pieces and is a style I’d love to be able to do consistently whilst also being able to create more vibrant images through the use of the speedlights and gels that I have.
Matthew Lloyd is definitely a photographer who I’ll be following and allowing to influence my own work now that I’ve seen his style and body of work to date.