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Matthew Rolston photographed by Davis Factor.
Matthew Rolston photographed by Davis Factor.

podcast / alumni / photography-and-imaging
September 18, 2018
PRODUCED BY: CHRISTINE SPINES

Change Lab Podcast Episode 15

Matthew Rolston on Glamour, Death Anxiety and the Unity of Opposites

Matthew Rolston (BA 78 Photography) creates iconic images that explore and reflect the ideas embedded within our cultural obsession with beauty, glamour and celebrity. One of the world’s most sought after editorial photographers, Rolston is best known for his distinctive celebrity portraits, evocative fashion and beauty campaigns and award-winning music videos.

I think entertainment today is a modern substitute for what in ancient times might have been a devotional or spiritual activity.

Matthew Rolston. Cyndi Lauper, Headdress, Los Angeles, 1986, from the series “Hollywood Royale” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)
Matthew Rolston. Cyndi Lauper, Headdress, Los Angeles, 1986, from the series “Hollywood Royale” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)

For the past half century, Rolston’s artistic voice has resonated far and wide, shaping our concept of glamour with his unconventional lighting techniques, detailed sets and dramatic mise en scene. His images have appeared in such publications as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazaar as well as on the covers of more than 100 Rolling Stone magazines. He has directed music videos for numerous iconic artists including Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Beyonce. More recently, he has applied his creative talents to fine art photography and produced three acclaimed large-scale exhibitions: Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits, Vanitas: The Palermo Portraits and Art People: The Pageant Portraits.

Matthew Rolston. Hockney, American Collectors (Marcia Weisman), 2016, from the series “Art People” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)
Matthew Rolston. Hockney, American Collectors (Marcia Weisman), 2016, from the series “Art People” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)
Matthew Rolston. Da Vinci, The Last Supper, 2016, installation view, from the series “Art People” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)
Matthew Rolston. Da Vinci, The Last Supper, 2016, installation view, from the series “Art People” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)

In this episode, kicking off the third season of ArtCenter’s Change Lab podcast, Rolston and President Lorne Buchman discuss Matthew's creative influences, his aesthetic of the unity of opposites, his ambivalence about the fashion industry's unrealistic standards of wealth and beauty and his fortuitous meeting, as a young ArtCenter student, with his childhood hero, Richard Avedon.



Matthew Rolston. Hook Boy, from the series “Talking Heads” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)
Matthew Rolston. Hook Boy, from the series “Talking Heads” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)


Matthew Rolston. Untitled, #Pa458-1071, Palermo, Italy, from the series “Vanitas” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)
Matthew Rolston. Untitled, #Pa458-1071, Palermo, Italy, from the series “Vanitas” © MRPI (Courtesy Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles)


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