Artist's Narrative PHOTOLUCIDA | CRITICAL MASS | TOP 50 PHOTOGRAPHER LENSCULTURE | TOP 50 EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHER ARTIST'S NARRATIVE BIOGRAPHY | Matthew Arnold is a photographer living in New York City. He graduated from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he studied photography and offset lithography. He also studied photography at The West Surrey College of Art and Design outside London. Immediately after college he taught offset lithography and digital imaging as an adjunct professor at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Informed by the New Topographics, his newest project entitled Topography Is Fate, creates large-scale photographs of North African Battlefields of World War II. These vast, anonymous, neutral vistas are bestowed a rare sense of quiet, transforming the North African landscape into contemplative spaces—a stark contrast to what was considered a dangerous and alien environment by the soldiers dropped into its vastness. With minimal visual signs pointing to the echoes of war, the viewer is left to contemplate, reflect and inject a level of their own sensibility into the photographs. Unlike other photographs of war, the power and strength of Arnold’s photographs creep up on you slowly, with an enduring impact. TOPOGRAPHY IS FATE | Matthew Arnold’s photographic work explores our personal, historical and cultural relationship to this increasingly small and complex world. His newest project "Topography Is Fate—North African Battlefields of World War II," considers the varied landscapes of North Africa that the soldier of World War II was forced to endure. Thousands of miles from home, largely untraveled and ignorant of lands and peoples outside his home country, he was dropped onto the shores of what must have seemed to him a dangerous and alien environment—his understanding of the land limited to stereotype, myth and the relevant army field manual. The approach to this project is conceptual, with the photographs of the North African battlefields presented, similar to the New Topographic photographers, in an almost anonymous and neutral tone. The images are taken in daylight, without complexity and noise, portraying a peaceful quietness of the desert or grassland to allow viewers to fill in that negative space with their own visualization of the war. Some World War II battle sites, such as the D-Day beaches of Normandy, are well known and frequently visited. The critical battlefields of the North African campaign, which took place between June 1940 and May 1943, are particularly inaccessible, both because of their geographic location and because they exist within a region that continues to be affected by political strife and violent upheavals. Yet, Arnold traveled from Egypt to Tunisia to document remote WWII battlefields where Axis and Allied forces fought against each other and against the elements amid challenging terrain. The project presented many obstacles, not only in locating all of the sites but also in obtaining the necessary travel documents, finding safe lodging and transport, and avoiding groups of protestors and rebel forces. Arnold utilized World War II military maps to follow the route taken by the Allies. Along the way, he photographed the captivating beauty of the now-peaceful landscape, from its craggy coastlines and lowland marshes to its rocky hills and barren expanses of sand. 70 years have not yet eradicated traces of the fighting—campsites can still be found—evident by the amount of ration tins, trench systems and pill boxes that still carry the marks of battle. Unexploded shells, barbed wire and mines still litter the landscapes of North Africa and occasionally claim yet another victim, as if the very land itself is reminding us of the tragedy of war. "Topography Is Fate" has been exhibited and promoted widely across the United States and around the world in galleries and museums. In fact, it has also been published as a monograph entitled, "Topography Is Fate—North African Battlefields of World War II," by the German publisher, Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg. It includes a foreword written by Hilary Roberts, the Head Curator of Photography at the Imperial War Museums in Britain as well as an essay by Natalie Zelt, the co-author and co-curator of, "War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath". His work was recently exhibited as part of the Renaissance Prize at the Getty Images Gallery in London. Earlier this year it was exhibited at the Arsenale di Venezia, in Venice, Italy as part of the Premio Arte Laguna. It was also exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Guatemala, as part of the GuatePhoto Festival. His honors include being named a Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Traveling Fellow, a Top 50 Emerging Photographer of by LensCulture as well as a Photolucida, Critical Mass, Top 50 Photographer. He was also recently a Visiting Lecturer at Columbia University, in New York City. At the beginning of 2015 he was included in an important exhibition at the MFA in Boston entitled "Permanent War—The Age of Global Conflict". THE HISTORICAL AND MYTHOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE | Arnold is currently researching and planning a new project, entitled "Amelia Earhart—The Historical and Mythological Landscape". The project aims to document the distant seascapes and landscapes where Amelia Earhart disappeared during her heroic but ill-fated attempt to be the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by plane in 1937. This endeavor will examine how multiple hypotheses about an historical figure’s unknown fate in a foreign land contribute to the creation of a mythological legend and landscape. This first stage of the project will tell the story of these island landscapes and seascapes to show how they play their part in the myth and legend surrounding the disappearance of Earhart, and bring this history to a new generation, in a new context, and from a new perspective.