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Matilda Temperley


Matilda was born in Somerset, England. After pursuing a career in tropical infectious diseases she happened upon photography. She claims to be naturally unobservant, and as result uses her camera as a tool for opening up the world and looking. She divides her time between commissions and her personal work, which is inspired by marginalised groups and societies, as well as her passion for the circus. Matilda exhibited with the Michael Hoppen gallery in London and is currently working on her second book Bodies - The Human Zoo, a celebration of physicality, performers and the human form.

Preferred Style

Romantic, classic, with an element of theatricality.

Preferred Camera

Normally a Canon 5d mark 2, but also a Nikon f3 35mm film camera for double exposures and some old medium format cameras for other personal work.

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Quick Questions


 It varies depending on the project, but travel and distance are great incentivisers.

Who are your artistic heroes?

 Saudek, Sarah Moon.

What is in your dream fine art photographic collection?

 Sebastio Salgado.

When did you start your photographic career?

I used to work at the London School of Tropical Medicine, which is also where I studied. I worked in many places and realised I wanted to tell the stories faster than I could with science, so I consummated a childhood love and took up with a camera.

What work are you most proud of?

The book project ‘The Human Zoo’ that I am currently working on.

Best advice you have been given?

Don’t hurry a shot -take less images. I am still trying to listen to it though …

And what advice would you give younger photographers?

Be calm. Your energy will influence everyone in the studio.

Worst moment?

Breaking my knee and photographing a fashion show in a wheelchair.

Secret ambition?

To run away with the circus.

Where do you live? What do you love about it?

I am a country bumpkin at heart - but London is where I live and work.

Describe the best party you have ever been to. 

In the Maasai with 2000 warriors, dancing to jazz.

What is a good life?

When your job is enjoyable enough to feel like a privilege rather than work.

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