i.d.s.t. - If Destroyed Still True was a personally curated exhibition from the unknown photographer, Matt Strong.

Matt’s work spans twenty years with over 15,000 archived images & film works. The exhibition showcased for the first time ever a selection of large scale photographs, films, & writing.

The project all came together in the form of a photography book, helping to promote Positive Mental Health Awareness & to fight the stigma of Mental Illness.

The book was divided into themes that Matt extensively looks for within his photography. Subjects such as shadows, light, dark, reflections, the street, solitude & perspectives, which although they give the book a structure quite often his images cross over into each theme, showcasing his cinematic style of photography & the shot list that he has in his mind.

The carefully chosen twenty framed prints, take the viewer on a journey, the locations wildly change from London to India & back again, but it isn’t the locations that are so important, its how Matt wants to make you feel, what has he seen that has caught his attention? how does this make the viewer understand his mental state? are there questions that are unanswered? Is he trying to tell a story? or quite simply are they just a pictures & nothing else?

That is up to you to decide.

i.d.s.t. exhibited for the first time in a public space, a selection of his Super 8mm films, shot on location alongside his stills work & some quotes from his personal writing about life, his deepest of thoughts, & his work.

Matt’s photography is steeped & riddled in references from Cinema, T.V. Music & popular counter culture.

Quite often Matt is quoted saying that his biggest source of inspiration & influences are film makers such as ; Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Michael Mann, Terrance Malick, Steven Spielberg, Harmony Korine, Ridley Scott, Spike Jonze, Darren Aronofsky, Larry Clark, Jonathan Glazer, Martin Scorsese, Jem Cohen & Chris Cunningham.

But from the photography World we get to understand his vision a little clearer, with references from Photography’s rich history; Robert Frank, Vivian Maier, Martin Parr, Tony Ray Jones, Henri Cartier Bresson, Ansel Adams, Steve McCurry, Walker Evans, Don McCullin, Larry Burrows, to name but a few.

The exhibition launched on 9th January 2018, at the Anise Gallery, London, SE1 2PU, until 13th January 2018.

Then the show moved to The Long Gallery, London, SE5 8AZ from 30th January 2018 to 27th April 2018. This Gallery actually resides within the Maudsley Hospital.

And concluded at The Hive Gallery, Kindly hosted by Team London Bridge for a few days in May 2018.

The project was uniquely funded by Matt’s Family & Friends online via Crowdfunder, where he raised enough money to put on the exhibition, & to get the book & twenty prints printed & framed.

i.d.s.t. was kindly supported by Maudsley Charity, Calm, & Sane. With all proceeds gained from the sale of the book & the framed A2 prints went directly to those three charities.

With an extra special thanks to the Maudsley Charity who loaned their Long Gallery for the duration of the exhibition until the end of April 2018.

“ Photography for me is a perfect medium, it’s a solo activity, where I get to tell a story, where I get to be the director, to see life with a cinematic vision, capturing moments, that if I didn’t, then no one else would ever get to see what I see. There is something quite magical about that concept. The title - i.d.s.t. - If Destroyed Still True, comes from adolescent graffiti, it was kind of like an official stamp of approval. That meant if someone destroyed what you had written, it would still be true, a bit like keeping your fingers crossed. For me, in the context of my work, the statement becomes quite powerful, as in if I am to be eventually destroyed by my illness, can everything I have ever done be true ? This book is a journey, a journey of self discovery, a collection of work that has been edited down from over 15,000 photographs, spanning over twenty years. My only
wish is that you enjoy this trip as much as I have, & that this body of work inspires you to capture your own life story, for generations to come. My illness doesn’t define who I am, my work does. “

- Matt Strong

Below were the twenty photographs I chose for the physical exhibitions which were expertly printed by London’s Metro Imaging, who gave me some excellent advice with fantastic results. They also did some super high res scans for the A2 prints.

This was a stage of the project where I learnt the most & I have taken with me some of the pointers the printers gave me for future projects on how to get the best prints with what I have - Scanning from the actual negs being one. I can’t wait to get going with another project using this advice.

I decided to have them C-Type printed on matte art paper sized at A2 & self framed with custom made black A1 wooden frames with white mounting for the exhibitions.

The framed prints were on sale, (I sold six of them) with all the proceeds going directly to the three leading UK Mental Health charities I chose to work with for this project ; CALM, SANE & Maudsley Charity.

The following slide shows were the chapters in the book - shown as how they were intended to look in the final printed book.

I designed the book myself, using Abobe InDesign with one hundred special edition copies printed & bound professionally by the South East London printers F E Burman, who I highly recommend. Each book was numbered, signed & dated with a unique message to each buyer.

I sold out of all one hundred copies, with the proceeds going directly to the three leading UK Mental Health charities I chose to work with for this project ; CALM, SANE & Maudsley Charity.

i.d.s.t. rasied over £10,000 which was split equally between the three charities - Calm, Sane & Maudsley Charity.

Reflective Surfaces

Shadows Remain By Your Side

Fresh Perspectives

Into Darkness

Chasing Light

The Canvas Of The Street

Natural Instinct

Quiet Moments In Solitude

Abstracted From Reality

A Leftfield Cinematic Vision

From All Walks Of Life