Space for Humans: The Moon on Earth | Matthew Broadhead
Broadhead’s practice entails an engagement with photography as a critical medium and explores the conjunctions between different subjects; notably geology, anthropology, history, and mythology.
The project originated at the beginning of 2016, between two half-century anniversaries of scientific field trips organised by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Groups of U.S. astronauts and personnel from both government agencies arrived in Iceland in 1965 and 1967. NASA considered Iceland to be “Probably the most moon-like of the field areas” in a document that functioned as a field-training schedule, and it is clear that they were allies in human exploration.
Professor Sigurður Þórarinsson and Professor Guðmundur Sigvaldason were experts in Icelandic geology who provided guidance during both field explorations in key locations including Askja caldera, Lake Myvatn and Reykjanes Peninsula. To prepare for the prospect of landing on the moon, analogue terrestrial sites were identified and the ‘Moon Game’ was practiced as an assessment to determine if each astronaut could successfully deploy experiments in desolate settings and collect samples the way they expected to on the moon. Space analogue is a technical term used by NASA to describe places on Earth with assumed past or present geological, environmental or biological conditions of celestial bodies including the moon and Mars.
Broadhead’s practice entails an engagement with photography as a critical medium and explores the conjunctions between different subjects; notably geology, anthropology, history, and mythology. His research in these areas is meant to change how he interacts with subjects in different contexts in addition to his recording methodology. Operating at the intersection between documentary and conceptual art, he creates fictional bodies of work based on factual source material.
Broadhead was raised in North Devon. After studying at Petroc, he went on to graduate with a First Class Honours degree in Photography from the University of Brighton.
He recently completed his MA in Photography at the University of the West of England, based in Bristol. While still a young practitioner, Broadhead has already been widely published and shortlisted for a number of awards. He was the winner of the inaugural Photoworks Prize, the Magnum Photos Graduate Photographer prize and the De Donkere Kamer #31 prize.