Matthew Rolston is a photographer, director, and creative director renowned for work that is at once classic and completely contemporary. Matthew’s singular style has been called upon by fashion and beauty clients ranging from Amazon.com/Fashion to Esteé Lauder, and by magazines such as Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, W, GQ, Esquire, and The New York Times Magazine. For Rolling Stone alone, he has photographed more than 100 covers, collaborating with musicians and celebrities including Daniel Craig, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, and Bob Dylan.
“Even though my work is incredibly diverse, there must be some uniting factor,” observes Matthew. “Clients always call it ‘Matthew Magic.’ I’m not sure what that is; perhaps it’s a special kind of romance.”
In a career filled with important milestones—from being “discovered” by Andy Warhol for Interview magazine to directing award-winning music videos for artists such as Christina Aguilera—Matthew continues to grow as an influential artist. He has served as the creative director of several boutique hotels, including the Redbury in New York. And he has successfully entered the world of fine art. “Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits,” his book and exhibition featuring monumentally scaled portraits of vintage ventriloquist dummies, was exhibited at Diane Rosenstein Fine Art in Los Angeles and featured in major publications ranging from The Los Angeles Times to Architectural Digest, ARTnews, and Wired.
In 2014, he presented his second fine-art series, “Vanitas: The Palermo Portraits,” which comprises portraits of mummies from the Capuchin Catacomb of Palermo, Sicily, which houses some 8,000 of these unearthly remains, many of them religious figures and notable citizens of the ancient city. Bathed in an otherworldly blue light, Rolston’s stylized portraits explore the mystery of life, by way of death.
“I’m in search of the meaninglessness of life. I’m getting to the age where you contemplate these things,” said Rolston in a Woody Allen–ish aside to The Wall Street Journal, which published an exclusive first look at the project.
Matthew’s work has been exhibited at prestigious galleries across the United States, in Europe and Japan, and at numerous museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City and at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. His images have also been collected in the monographs Big Pictures (Bulfinch Press, New York), which features an introduction by film director Tim Burton; the lavish limited-edition coffee-table book beautyLIGHT, published by leading German art-book publisher teNeues; and Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits, published by Pointed Leaf Press. He is the recipient of the Smashbox Visual Impact Award, sponsored by Variety and Women’s Wear Daily.