THE SILVER LINING PROJECT - INTERVIEW WITH STEPHANIE MATTI
1: Tell us about the Silver Lining Project?
Last year I started working on a project called The Silver Lining Project which is still currently ongoing, aiming to showcase grey hair in a positive light through portraiture of beautiful, inspirational, everyday people, both young and old, with grey hair. I want to portray those who love their hair and embrace their natural hair colour. It's beautiful and reflects character and one's personal journey through life. People with grey hair shouldn't feel embarrassed or old, nor should they feel the need to cover their beautiful grey hair with artificial substances that are not only costly but damaging. Society has managed to use grey hair as the perfect marketing tool that defies all genders, races and nationalities, to consume more products to change what doesn't need to be changed. You can still be fabulous and be grey and I want that to be portrayed through my photos.
2: What things do you look for in a model for this particular Project?
I look for people with character and whose personalities shine through and those that love their grey hair and feel confident with it. I am also looking for people that have grey facial hair or prominent grey streaks in their hair. Grey hair is very diverse and I want this to be evident in my portraits.
3: Who or What has been your biggest influence when deciding to start this Project?
I've always been aware of the stigma attached to grey hair. When people have grey hair they are no longer considered youthful or attractive and this isn't right. I've met both young and old people with grey hair who not only look fantastic and attractive, but are also confident. I'm impressed by those who rise above the stigma and leave their hair or stop dying it to go natural. Grey hair is something that is a natural part of life, something that will probably affect us all and instead of being made to feel unattractive and do everything to stop and hide a natural process that is actually inevitable, we should embrace it. The wonderful people I know personally, with grey hair are my main inspirations behind this project.
4: How do you see the future of this Project?
In the future I want to have an exhibition with my portraits, but most of all I want the future of the project to have a more humane outcome - I want people to see these images and think twice about dying their hair or worrying when they find their first grey strand. I want people going grey and with grey hair to feel confident and see that it can be beautiful and it can be fashionable and need not be altered.
5: If you could have your work printed in any publication in the world, which would you pick?
I don't have a specific publication in mind for where I would like the images from this project to be printed in. This project features diversity and people from different countries and backgrounds, and if there is a publication that supports the message I am trying to send out that would like to feature my project, I would be happy for them to do so.
6: What kind of Photography did you do before?
I have a fashion background and quite a bit of my photography centred around this - I did a lot of fashion editorial style shoots with models and photographed catwalk shows and fashion events. But I have always been a big fan of portraiture and try to capture the mood and make my images as authentic as possible with everyone I work with. I am also a massive lover of travel and have always taken travel/landscape images.
7: Comment on the current trends of Fashion Photography?
I feel that the current trends in Fashion Photography at the moment are one of two extremes - either extremely raw or overly photoshopped. However this isn't my style!
8: What do you think about the Creative Community in London?
I think that there is a lot of creativity in London and that London is one of the fastest growing creative capitals worldwide. Everything is happening here. I do think however, that there aren't much opportunities if you don't have many connections and that it can be hard to make those connections.