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Liberated: Richard Matias releases first photography collection

Perth photographer Richard Matias is raising funds for the WA AIDS Council’s LGBTIQ+ youth space The Freedom Centre with the launch of his first hard-cover collection.

Matias is an expert at capturing the male form, with his work appearing in DNA Magazine, as well as being commissioned by 2Wink Australia, LOLOS and other swimwear brands.

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We caught up with the local artist as he discusses the motive behind his work and why all proceeds from the sale of the book will go to supporting The Freedom Centre.

Matias begins by explaining how he arrived at the collection’s title; Liberated.

“I wanted it to be guided by what I was photographing. When I was finishing, the word ‘liberated’ seemed to fit with the theme of the book. While it’s not really an autobiography about me, it’s about me as a young guy coming out and the issues I was dealing with in my sexuality and I just thought that word means so much; A person free from social conventions or traditional ideas. What really struck me is that the model I photograph are quite liberated in their lives, their views and the whole project so it all tied in.”

In his study of the male form, Matias works primarily with subjects who do not work in the industry, but rather people who best capture a certain feeling.

“None of these guys are from modelling agencies, just people I’ve met or contacted through social media. They’re people with their own day jobs, so I was looking for people who could convey a particular mood with a pose.

“I was writing in conjunction with it as a personal diary, how I felt about life, so as I was writing I would take a photo of something happy if I was feeling happy. When I was writing about grief, as I lost my mother, I would look for someone who could capture a more moody shot.

“I didn’t think I’d have the text to finish a book, so the photos really helped. They are my way of dealing with life.”

Matias tells us the impetus for the collection and its focus on the masculine visage was not only to complement his own story.

“I think there’s a misconception that it’s easier to come out now. I don’t think it gets any easier to be different. I think we’re all at different stages.

“A lot of men don’t really express their feelings, not necessarily gay men, men just don’t. I thought if gay men find it hard to come out, perhaps all men are struggling to say how they really feel and how they really are. I thought maybe if I gave a little of myself, other people might say what they want to say.”

Matias says that the work of such organisations as The Freedom Centre help not only men, but all LGBTQIA+ youth find support and express their true selves.

“Growing up if I had somewhere like the Freedom Centre, I would go. I think young people need a lot of space and support, and Mark Reid from the WA AIDS Council is very passionate about the work, and it’s very hard to find people that passionate about what they do.”

“The Freedom Centre caters for people who are different, the LGBTIQ+ community and much more. Talking to someone can really benefit when life has its up and downs, and they really provide that support”

Richard Matias’ Liberated is available online now. To order your copy, head to waaids.com, or see more of Richard’s work at richardmatiasphotographer.com

Leigh Andrew Hill


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