Matt Stuart

Peacock: Matt Stuart

Matt Stuart’s quirky street photos amuse and enthuse due to the primary colours, interesting angles and humour.  He eschews the use of diagonals or curves using straight lines which almost form a grid – kerb, scaffolding, neck, window and shelves. The eye is drawn to the bird, the neck acts as a lead to the body, only to reveal it is a skip and in front of the hoarding. Further investigation reveals the name, Harry Winston, and a dawning of how the image is constructed and the concept of a giant peacock in the street.

The image appears slightly under-exposed or low-key. However, there is an area of over exposure in the harsh spotlighting on the right of the image diverting the eye. The skip is in focus but the hoarding behind is just slightly soft. Therefore a deeper DOF would have benefitted the image.

The vivid, essential colours are bright primary blues (skip, cones and bird) and yellows (skip, cones and window) with the reds (scaffolding, cones and light) against an otherwise dull background. Overall the light is soft; however, the spotlights are harsher to the right, though they do not cast shadows.

The beautiful composition combines the centrally placed skip with the bird’s neck on the right third. The diamond clasp is on the intersection of the top and right third. Cropping the image to remove back ground would have made it square and reduced the context. Equally the space allows the peacock to move should it wish to.


An interesting counter point is this picture by Simon Last ( Tidier, simplified and less red/yellow weakens the picture in my opinion.



I find it fascinating that Stuart uses colour rather than the traditional black & white of street photographers..and how impressive it is. He has has inspired me already with my my short film Pick up the Pieces but I fully include his use of colour in my pictures. Particularly red with its visual dominance. Also I think I will be on the look out “scenes” that subjects will walk into…something I have not done before.


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