Photographic Alphabet - M is for Matthew Murray
By Scarlett Davis
Do you really wish you were here? Inspired by postcards, Matthew Murray’s collection
“Pleasure in Leisure” explores the notions of tourism and holiday as conveyed through the
verisimilitude of the destinations but through a lens tainted with both humor and a level of
facetiousness. There is a great strain that comes with the price of happiness. Too often,
holidays and vacations which are intended to serve as reprieve from the drudgery of work and
life, become burdens in and of themselves. Following as Murray details “passports,” “flight
schedules,” “sunscreen,” “Imodium,” and “travel sweets,” where does that leave room for the
pleasure that comes with leisure? Matthew Murray’s photos infer a lacking in spontaneity due
in part to the preparation of the tourist, which is tantamount to the whole fun of exploring a
Despite cultural differences, financial liberties, tastes, class, and social affinities, we all aspire tocreate happy memories. Tourism is a vital aspect of business and global commerce. Knowledge of what values trump others in differing cultures is a useful tool as referenced by Hofstede’s theory of Cultural Dimensions. Americans implore a formula that equates time to money and money to time, whereas other cultures might put greater emphasis on power, sex, food, and leisure over work as more qualitative to happiness in life. Through Murray’s photos in a rather comical juxtaposition between the authentic setting and the encroaching modernity of the tourist, a glaring social commentary is made into how memories are made. Will a photo taken on holiday serve as a backdrop on a computer or will it become in-grained into our minds and last forever? Whether it be time well-spent in Blackpool England, The Holy Land, or Florida “Pleasure in Leisure” indulges our need for sunshine and sight-seeing with photos that evoke smiles and a universal recognition.
Pleasure in Leisure has been crafted into a book, published by Café Royal Books. Matthew
Murray has a distinguished career of over 14 years shooting campaigns for various advertising
and editorial campaigns. His personal projects have gained as much recognition as his
commercial work with work published in i-D Magazine, Dazed and Confused, The Observer, and VICE to name only a few. His exhibitions have been featured in the UK, as well as internationally in both group and solo shows. His work is also included in a number of private collections including The British Library. Matthew Murray has been a finalist for multiple photography awards, as well as the winner of the 2014 Association of Photographers.
His exhibition and publication, a series of darkly explored landscape called Saddleworth:
Responding to a Landscape (2017), is available in prints and can be purchased directly at Gallery Vassie, Gallery for International Photography, Amsterdam.