VICE and Incase are excited to introduce a new episode of Picture Perfect with British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews. In this episode, we visit Mathews in her studio to talk about her background and journey to working as a documentary photographer. We then travel to Azerbaijan with Mathews to take a closer look at how the Caspian region is re-defining itself in the wake of new oil wealth and get an inside look as she photographs the people who live on and around the ancient sea.
Mathews was born in London in 1982. After earning a degree in Fine Art at Oxford University, she worked in the feature film industry for four years. Though exciting, she questioned its extravagance and wanted to work on something quieter, more economical, where there was room for spontaneity and intimacy with her subject. Since dedicating herself to photography, her subject matter has been diverse, from Uzbek gravediggers on the Caspian coast, to Hasidic Jews on holiday in Wales and Muslim Uighurs in China.
In 2010, Mathews hitchhiked from China back to Britain, which became a recce for a lifetime’s work ahead, informing her way of working both at home and abroad. In our exclusive bonus footage, Mathews shares with us footage she took during another recent journey to the Caspian region, giving us a rare look at what’s locally called “the doors of hell.”
Mathews has recently been awarded the BJP International Photography Award, the Julia Margaret Cameron New Talent Award and the Flash Forward Emerging Photographer’s Award by the Magenta Foundation. Her work on the Caspian region has been nominated for the Prix Pictet and shortlisted for the London Photography Award. In the last six months she’s been named photographer to watch in PDN’s 30, The Observer’s New Talent Issue and the Telegraph’s most promising new artists feature. Her work is published internationally by media outlets including The New York Times, the Saturday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Dazed and Confused and Harper’s Bazaar.