First Book Award 2017
In late 2016 Nate Matos was nominated for the 2017 Mack Books First Book Award. This competition, established in 2012 offers "a photography publishing prize [to] photographers who have not previously had a book published by a third party publishing house".
Matos' entry, "New Objections" can be seen at left. His artist statement is listed below.
Taking a critical view of the importance of photography during travel, my artwork questions our culture’s habit of documenting each piece of a place foreign to us, and challenges the presumptuous comfort found within commonplace snapshot photography. I recognize as a traveler that I will never truly belong in the places I encounter. The voyeuristic nature of my images manifest themselves as a form of cautious self-expression.
I take with me pieces of each landscape in a physical form through color photographs. I don’t set out on my travels with specific frames in mind, rather focus on the environment I encounter noticing how I and others interact with it. Opportunities arise through recognition of physical objects and the importance they carry in their context. As an outsider, I know my presence is typically uninvited, perhaps even unwelcome, and all I can own of these moments are the images I make.
This series, New Objections, is the culmination of my work over the past five years. Distinct geographic regions photographed through the American western states are organized in a way to embody themes of deteriorating elements within the landscape, ultimately resulting in desolation of space. This emptiness is conveyed through the cover graphic, an abstract look at the states where the images were taken. It does not provide explanation, only generalizations that are presented within the photographs.