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London College of Fashion

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Life of Alumni: Matthew Hegarty is Photography Manager at Amazon and Founder of Hegarty London

Written by Jesse Tilley
Published date 29 August 2019

Next in our 'Life of Alumni' series, we're chatting with Matthew Hegarty, LCF alumna who joined us on the BA (Hons) Fashion Photography and MA Photography. Matthew has worked with some of the biggest names in the fashion industry and is now working as Photography Manager at Amazon. We had a chat with him about his new fashion brand, his work experience and his time here at LCF.

"Get as involved as you can. Find the right people, jobs, organisations and go after them. Be prepared to work incredibly hard and also be prepared to take a lot of knock backs. Keep shooting as much as you can."

Hi Matthew! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. How’s everything going?

My pleasure! I had such a great time at LCF I’m more than happy to chat! Everything is going really well indeed thanks. Since graduation I’ve been working solidly as a fashion photographer and recently embarked on creating my own men’s and women’s fashion brand called Hegarty.

Can you tell us a bit more about your line of work?

Hegarty is a men’s and women’s outerwear brand that’s all made in here in London using only English fabrics. I also design and photograph everything. As well as this I’m currently the photography manager at Amazon Fashion in Hoxton. It’s one of the biggest e-commerce studios in London. I’m in charge of the photography department and manage a team of full time photographers and freelancers too.  As well as management I shoot fashion e-commerce and editorials for Amazon Fashion as well.

You’ve had the pleasure of working for some very recognised brands. But what has been the highlight of your professional career to date?

I’ve been very fortunate indeed! For me a few highlights have obviously been Vogue, Elle, Gucci and Matches Fashion. I’ve been lucky because I met a lot of the right people at the right time and I also was lucky enough to have the right body of work in my book. That’s really important to remember that you might know all the important people but if you don’t have the work in your portfolio no one will take a risk!

Since I was about 16 I wanted to be a fashion photographer and work in fashion. It all started when I was at sixth form and I was getting into photography. At that time I was already looking at fashion magazines, trends and cinema. Films helped me a lot into fashion. I loved how cinema depicted costume from period films to right up to contemporary fashion. As well as this lighting played a big part. I couldn’t get enough of films with a fashion and also cinematography bias.

What do you find the most challenging part of your work?

Thinking of new ideas as well as keeping my work relevant. At the same time working in your own style but to also keep pushing and constantly trying to develop it.

Do you find the industry is evolving and innovating? If so, what most excites you about the future of the fashion photography?

The landscape has changed so much since I started as an assistant in my first year at LCF. Fashion e-commerce is now the new look book. Editorial and campaign imagery is so much online and so the notions of traditional print media and the contexts for where fashion photography sits has altered. I started out shooting ecomm as well as assisting, doing small online editorials and testing. What excites me now and why I still work hard is to continue to develop your own voice in this ever-changing industry and to get loud when you make something that you’re proud of and that you and your peers believe is good.

Let’s talk a little bit about your time at LCF. Why did you choose to study here?

I grew up in an academic family in Oxford. My parents were very supportive for me to take a creative route instead of what they knew which was a life in academia. My father especially was a great influence as he encouraged me to take pictures and we would have conversations about fashion photography, cinema and art. When it came time to think about degrees and further education I had heard about LCF and its BA in Fashion Photography. For me the name struck out as it being part of the UAL but also to be in a place where we could discuss and endeavour to work and create fashion photography all be it in the context of an undergraduate degree seemed very dynamic and exciting. Another large factor was that the course was in central London. I’m very proud to say that I studied and work and live in London. London is a worldwide hub for fashion and the arts. It really seemed a no brainer to come to London as it is all here. This is where you are hoping to work when you gradate so studying here almost gives you a leg up into the fashion industry.

You studied both a BA and a MA in Photography here. How do you feel your courses have helped you in your professional career? Do you feel they helped to you prepare for industry?

It’s an interesting question because Yes, they both did in a way. At the end of my first week I’d got a job as an assistant albeit unpaid, however studying and working at the same time helped me find my voice and also to and create a body of work which at the time had a relevancy. Assisting was great because I got to see and be a part of how professional work was made and then I could take these learnings back to the safety of college. It’s really all about what you get out of your time studying.

From your own experience, what piece of advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your line of work after their studies?

Get as involved as you can. Find the right people, jobs, organisations and go after them. Be prepared to work incredibly hard and also be prepared to take a lot of knock backs. Keep shooting as much as you can. Try and find mentorship from those that actually know how the industry works as it will be them who will be able to offer up advice and critique your work and give you an experienced opinion. Building up your taste level is really important and you won’t know what that is until you have more experience. Don’t put the wrong kind of pressure on yourself. You’ll know if your working hard enough and if your challenging yourself in the right way. And most importantly enjoy it. If you're not in love with it you won’t succeed.