Matthew J. Brown was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his B.F.A from East Tennessee State University in 2015. He has been exhibited regionally and was most recently featured in American Photography and the upcoming first volume of Documentum. Today we share work from Matt’s series Orientation.
Prompted by the three years I spent as a photographer, editor, and director of East Tennessee State University’s newspaper, my project Orientation examines institutional environments and academic culture at East Tennessee State University. The photographs address how students, faculty and staff indirectly interact with, and conform to, a variety of campus spaces as well as depicting how the spaces are utilized and repurposed. The photographs form a loose narrative based on the orientation process used by the administration to familiarize new students with the campus. I emphasize the artificiality of the subject matter while maintaining the appearance of certain naturalistic qualities that are inherent to the material. Employees adapt their work spaces to better reflect their own personality as well as more closely resemble their living environments. In a similar fashion, I approach anonymous and ubiquitous spaces with a specific perspective that humanizes the subject matter. The work attempts to describe the absurdity and irony I discover within the contexts of higher education. I attempt to create a archive of socially relevant artifacts relating to previous interactions, encounters and communications between faculty and students.
To see more of Matthew’s work, check out his website.