Our Youth in Focus series is a collaborative effort, providing the unique opportunity for a young artist to be personally involved in producing their own solo exhibition. It encourages young artists to envision and thoughtfully plan and produce a complete body of work to be shown in a professional setting. It is designed to further both the artist's and the public's understanding and appreciation of the visual arts.



Please join us Wednesday evening to celebrate the artistic accomplishments of Matthew Jolliffe, a 17 year-old student who attends DeLand High School. He came to the museum's attention through his continued involvement with our educational programs over the past few years, and has been a standout amongst our Digital Photo Academy students. Not only is he committed to creating images and furthering his knowledge of photography, but he goes out of his way to assist other students, working as a team to help them achieve their goals. Please read below for more information about Matthew's process, his goals for the future, and to view examples of his long-exposure photography.



an introduction

Following the invention of photography, early practitioners took their inspiration from a form of art they were already well acquainted with–painting. Because of the lengthy exposure necessary for early cameras, moving subjects were impossible to capture. But portraits, still lifes and landscapes offered photographers a chance to mimic or adapt their vision, and in doing so, discover the vast potential of their new medium. That exploration has continued into the digital age, yet echoes of pictorialism still hold their appeal and beckon a new generation of photographic "artists" to experiment with all the tools available to them. Matthew enjoys painting with light–a technique that allows him to add emphasis and color to certain objects during long exposure.


I am captivated by photography because it allows me to share my imagination and perspective of the world without the need for explanation. As you may be able to tell, my favourite type of photography deals with long exposures and light painting. This is because the world doesn’t work in long exposures- when you look at something, you only see that instant. Long exposure allows me to capture many instances into a two-dimensional work. My first long exposure photographs were for my IB photography class in 2015. While I didn’t know the lighting and Photoshop techniques that I know now, I was still in love with the process and the end product. Since this project, I have made long exposure photography my area of concentration and have continued developing my technique. I got the opportunity to attend the Digital Photo Academy here at DSC for the past two summers and it has opened my eyes to just how much goes into the production of a single image from start to finish.

My plan for the future is to become an aerospace engineer, and although photography isn’t going to be my career, I know it will remain a large part of my life. I feel such a strong connection with photography that I know I will continue developing my technique and improving my works. –Matthew Jolliffe

about the exhibit

Matthew's photographs continue to blur the lines between a traditional and experimental approach, reflecting his own aesthetic–a blend of inventive expressionism and technique. He places a spotlight (literally) on everyday objects or scenes, capturing or recording them in interesting ways, giving each frame careful consideration. The images on display were all taken at night or in a low-light situation, which allowed him exceptional control over the exposure process. He draws inspiration from his surroundings, so whether he's standing on a street corner in Chicago, wielding fiery steel wool at the beach, enjoying a fireworks celebration, or arranging musical instruments in the studio, his camera's always at the ready.


Instead of eschewing long exposure, Matthew seems to revel in the idea of making one (or multiple) long exposures, using both artificial and available light to his advantage. He orchestrates each scene, his lengthy exposures stretching and intensifying lines of moving lines. A passing train, reduced to a simple trail of lights, compliments the multi-hued streaks from moving vehicles as they hurtle past his lens, giving the viewer a sense of the frantic pace of the city and its nightlife. He expertly uses several techniques, including panning and zooming, to control the degree of blur.


He crafts each image much like a painter would, thinking about perspective and pre-visualizing the end result: where will he allow light to enter the frame? Each streak of light that pierces the dark is anticipated, the combination of colors vivid and mesmerizing. He employs a variety of devices–LED's, flashlights, portable electroluminescent wire, steel wool–to illuminate and enhance his subjects. His final images are the result of both in-camera and post-production techniques.


The term "still life" hardly seems appropriate for his study of musical instruments, as each piece contains a sense of frenetic energy. Much like the guitar that vibrates at numerous frequencies to produce varying sounds, Matthew's photographs are representative of various frequencies (shutter "speeds") that he's carefully chosen to achieve a wide variety of visual effects. Each effect is determined by the length of exposure and the amount of light allowed to reach the camera's sensor. His instruments possess a sense of visual harmony, enhanced by his choice of color and composition. He uses warm colors–reds, oranges and yellows–to create an energetic feel, as if the sound itself is being manifested by the swirls and spirals of light.

a note of thanks from the artist

There are a few people who I would like to thank for helping me get this far: first off, I would like to thank Mr. Carson, my high school photography teacher- he is the wind that has carried me into the vast ocean of photography, teaching me everything I needed to know to become an amazing photographer; my family, for letting me adopt their DSLR for four years now, and supporting me with my creative endeavours, including taking me to remote places to get many wild steel wool shots; and finally, SMP’s own Christina, the person without whom my dream of my very own exhibition would not have been a reality- she has helped me immensely set up this exhibition as well as teaching in the Digital Photo Academy. –Matthew Jolliffe

a note from the curator

Matthew's approach, much like himself, has continued to mature over the years, and the progression of his craft has followed in equal measure. He's not restricted by photography's inherent rules or formulas–instead, he embraces those limitations. Light becomes more than just a raw and necessary component–it's a creative tool that he uses to convey the passage of time, the synergy of motion and movement, and to share his unique vision of the world.

I'm so pleased to present his work to the community, and to follow his progress as he chooses a college and career path this summer. –Christina Katsolis