January 9, 1937 – January 22, 2013
In the everyday occurrences of the Tuscan people, Allen saw a deeper meaning of what he described as his search for “The Mystery of Life”. His images resonate with the truth and contentment of being, a soulful reality as seen, composed, and captured by a compassionate observer.
Allen Matthews was also an unparalleled master of the fine art print, both in the traditional darkroom and later in digital printing. Far beyond the moment that he created the photograph on black and white negative film, it was the painstaking crafting of the tonality and contrast of each print, during the printing process, that brought each image truly to life.
It should also be noted that Allen intentionally composed all of his images in camera, deciding what to include or crop out as the photograph was made. In this tradition of editorial photography, every image is printed and matted to show the black framed border of the film.
Allen was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia USA. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1960 with a BFA in Fine Art, he returned to Atlanta where he enjoyed a long and successful career as a well-known editorial and advertising photographer.
Allen Matthews first visited Cortona in 1984 when he began to photograph Italy. The place and people of Cortona had a profound effect on Allen, and after many visits, including a 3-year stay in the mid-1980′s, he felt Cortona to be the best place on earth. In 1998 he founded the Cortona Center of Photography and made Cortona his home. Above all, Allen enjoyed his relationships with the people of Cortona, who he loved for their passion and appreciation of art and the bonds of family.
In addition to his photographic works, Allen Matthews will also be remembered as a teacher, mentor, and friend to many.
All images © Allen Matthews