2007 — student award of excellence
Matt Lutton (b. 1984) is an American photographer who has been living in Belgrade, Serbia since 2009. He grew up in Seattle, Washington where he graduated from the University of Washington a degree in Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies and Comparative History of Ideas. In recent years he has been recognized by the POYi Emerging Vision Incentive, College Photographer of the Year, the Photoshelter Collection, Photolucida Critical Mass and others. His project "Homeless in Seattle" was awarded a grant by the Alexia Foundation for World Peace in 2007 and was exhibited at the Seattle City Hall in July 2008. The Anthropographia Award for Human Rights and Photography selected his project “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” about the destruction and relocation of the Roma community living in Belgrade, Serbia for their 2010 traveling exhibition. His current project about the Serbian emergence from the Milosevic decade and its role in post-war Balkans is titled "Only Unity".
How has the Alexia grant influenced your career?
I received the Alexia Grant at the very start of my career and it helped me to produce my first photo story. The project ‘Homeless in Seattle’ also was exhibited at Seattle City Hall.
Having the Alexia grant on my CV also brought a lot of notice when meeting editors in subsequent years.
How did your project lead to greater exposure or solutions for your issue of focus?
I was able to partner with a number of organizations in Seattle that are serving the homeless community and forge long-term relationships with them to provide pictures from this project for fundraising and promotion.
Tell us about a moment from the project that you will never forget.
I’ll never forget one of the men who I met early on in the project, Timothy Byrnes, who I’ve stayed in touch with for years after. He was an early advocate in the community and took me around the city and showed me entirely new perspectives on both my story and my feeling about life in my hometown. I’m happy to share that in the last 18months he has moved in to permanent public housing and is doing well, and we still get coffee when I am in Seattle.
Have you, or do you plan on expanding your project? How so?
My project on the Homeless in Seattle concluded with the exhibition at Seattle City Hall in 2008, but I do keep track of the issue in Seattle and may revisit the story in the future, but do not have any plans at the moment.
How has being a part of the Alexia community changed the way you view the world?
It was inspiring as a young photographer to be honored alongside so many other photographers you admire and join a community that supports strong and important photography from around the world. I was first introduced to many of the terrific stories that Alexia supported through the new website, which has opened my eyes to how much the Alexia community has accomplished in the last few years.
Do you have any interviews you can share with us?
I recently won the BURN Magazine Emerging Photographer Fund which has led a number of recent interviews, including Wired’s Raw File (http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2012/07/matt-lutton/) and Boreal Collective (http://blog.borealcollective.com/post/26260143390)
List your accomplishments, awards and interests since the Alexia grant.
Winner, Burn Magazine EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHER FUND. June 2012.
Juror for ORGAN VIDA 4: International Photography Festival in Zagreb, Croatia in June 2012.
Nominee, POYi Emerging Vision Incentive. June 2010.
First Place news photograph, Serbia Press Photo. February 2010.
Featured in Anthropographia Award and traveling exhibition. January 2010.
Student Portfolio Award, Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar. December 2008.
Award of Excellence in International Picture Story. CPOY 63. November 2008.
Finalist, Photolucida Critical Mass. November 2008.
Elevation 2008 portfolio winner from The Photoshelter Collection. April 2008.
Homeless in Seattle (2006-2008) is a documentary about the diverse and growing homeless community in the photographer's home town of Seattle, Washington. In 2006, as the US economy began to weaken and security nets gave way, many more Americans moved to the brink of housing insecurity. The number of people utilizing shelters, food banks and eventually tent cities exploded. This project began as a collaboration with local charity organizations who were directly supporting the needs of the homeless and unemployed populations, but developed in to a more personal essay over time as Lutton became closer friends with some of the people he met. The final result was an exhibition at Seattle City Hall in 2008, completed with the support of grants like the Alexia Foundation.