Matthew Pillsbury was born in Neuilly, France, 1973, received his B.A. in 1995 from Yale University, and his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2004. He currently lives in New York.
Pillsbury specializes in long-exposure photographs made only with available light. Across several series and in many cities, he has focused on the passage of time and people within spaces both public and private. His work has addressed the growing role that technology is playing in our lives and the sense of modern seclusion that can seem at odds with the constant connectivity being offered by our smartphones and tablets.
In Screen Lives, Pillsbury photographed people watching television and working at their computers. With the room’s inhabitants somewhat physically absent, the photographs edge toward the voyeuristic; the viewer enters private spaces and can linger over the smallest details of these very specific interior landscapes. The photographs not only document these spaces, but also allow viewers to address a conundrum that technology has interjected into our lives; at the same time that we have been given the possibility of instant global communication, we find ourselves increasingly isolated from each other physically.
In Tokyo, Pillsbury photographs the world’s most populous city, where technology has latched itself onto everything from modern-day cell phone-obsessed geisha women to the ultra-hip neighborhood of Shinjuku, whose themed clubs and bars now include high-tech robotics as a featured part of the entertainment. To capture this shifting energy and some of the surreal scenes he encountered, Pillsbury has started making color photographs and using much shorter exposures, documenting a city where sacred and traditional sites share cultural importance with modern Manga robots and Disney castles.
Pillsbury’s work is regularly featured in the New York Times, among other publications, and is part of more than twenty-five permanent collections throughout the US, Canada and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Musée du Louvre in Paris, France; and the Tate Modern in London, England. He is the recipient of the 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the 2007 Fondation HSBC prix pour la Photographie. He currently resides in New York City.