The dark romanticism in the photos of Matt Henry (b. 1978, United Kingdom), filled with poverty and violence, reminds us of a Gothic fairy tale from the 1960s, like in an HBO or Netflix tv-show.
Text: Alex Blanco
Photo: Matt Henry
In cooperation with GUP Magazine
Although all works in his project “Night of The Hunted” are staged, many of the fictional situations are genuine reflections on the socio-political situation in contemporary America. Hence, the fairy tale is more real that it may seem.
The three stories included in the book are set in Louisiana, Texas and Georgia. All photographs portray ordinary people in surreal situations while the explanatory texts reveal unforeseen backstage secrets. Therefore, you will stumble upon wacky crime scenes in fast-food luncheonettes, good girls scraping by as strippers, Ku Klux Klan practices, voodoo rituals and other paradoxical scenarios that might have taken place in America’s deep South.
Each story encompasses 20–30 perfectly styled colour photographs. Henry himself chooses location and actors as well as suggests make-up and clothing options. It took the photographer around three months to produce all the stories that deliberately include sinister landmarks of the depicted regions. For instance, the church in Louisiana that apart from Henry’s book, was also featured in the first season of the True Detective series. Besides these arrangements, providing a character backstory and a scene plot to the cast is on the list of Henry’s priorities.