born 1986, Richmond, VA
lives Charlottesville, VA
For Matt Eich, photography can record and communicate fact or serve as a vehicle for the imagination and the senses. He initially gained recognition as a photojournalist and has worked for many years on personal, long-form documentary projects. The work on view in FRONT represents a different aspect of his practice: poetic glimpses of the daily lives of his family and friends, often as they engage with the fertile landscape of the American South.
These intimate images are set mostly in Virginia, where Eich was born, raised, and continues to live with his wife and two daughters. Some shots are posed; many are spontaneous. Instead of fact, these pictures focus on sensations and emotions—the chill of a dip in a river on a hot afternoon, the wonder of feeling a caterpillar crawl up your hand, the comfort of hugging a stuffed animal after a storm of feelings has passed. While it is easy to be lulled by the photographs’ beauty, the viewer must be vigilant because salient details may be highlighted or hidden, sharply focused or caught in motion and transition. Joy is often present, but along with moments of clear, even sunlight may be those of precarious balance or even darkest shadow.
Using lighting, color, and point of view, Eich transforms mundane occurrences into magical moments. His works in FRONT 2022 encouraged us to delight in the senses and enjoy the engaging mystery of exploration and discovery.