“TOUGH” – A New Portrait Series by Matt Dunn

Sonja on film, originally uploaded by Matt.Dunn.

Matt Dunn, originally from the Bronx, NY, lives in Shaw and has been a freelance photographer since June 2000. Matt’s work has been published in the New York Times, Spin Magazine, Mother Jones, Washington City Paper and other publications. He has work on photo projects internationally in Haiti, Cuba, India and Uganda.

The series of portraits are all from 2009 and loosely called “TOUGH”, in a homage to NY street photographers Joel Meyerowitz and Gary Winogrand.

In the book “Bystander: A History of Street Photography”, Joel Meyerowitz talks about shooting with Gary Winogrand.

Meyerowitz talks about what makes an image “Tough”.

“Tough” was a term we used to use a lot. Stark, spare, hard, demanding, tough: these were the values that we applied to the act of making photographs.

Tough meant the image was uncompromising. It was something made out of your guts, out of your instinct, and it was unwieldy in some way, not capable of being categorized by ordinary standards. So it was tough. It was tough to like, tough to see, tough to make, tough to draw meaning from. It wasn’t what most photographs looked like. … It was a type of picture that made you uncomfortable sometimes. You didn’t quite understand it. It made you grind your teeth.

At the same time, though you knew it was beautiful, because tough also meant that – it meant beautiful too. … The two words – “tough” and “beautiful” –became synonyms somehow. They were what street photography was all about.


Matthew, Cowboy. 7th and H, Chinatown, DC, originally uploaded by Matt.Dunn.
Final portrait after the jump.

Least Obedient Dog Winner, originally uploaded by Matt.Dunn.


16 Comment

  • Second one naked, please!

  • Remington’s is “that” way, big boy.

  • i didnt want to be skeezy, so i opted not to leave my original comment of ‘well hello there cowboy!’ … now i see that the skeez bar has been set and i am far from meeting it!

  • Poor pink puppy!

  • re: “Poor pink puppy”

    Don’t make fun of the cowboy like that. It’s not politically correct.

  • Tough? Meh…I think I could take any one of these three toughs…

  • My computer is acting funny! It won’t let me finish my thought.

    @ Mike: Sorry, I decided to be un-PC today when I got out of bed.

  • Vonstallin

    looking a little brokebackish in the middle…

  • People, the cowboy is actually a cowgirl. Dragking.

  • I walked by while he was taking the photo of the cowboy in Chinatown! It was just this past weekend. I wasn’t expecting to see the photo here.

  • Hey Matt G. So you can take anyone of these photographs? You are deluded. Get back to your cubicle and stop annoying people.

  • if No. 2 is a drag king, the arm hair and guns are pretty impressive.

  • An impression of the greats, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Clint Eastwood, Gary Cooper and many others from the cinema, or the old west legends, Wyatt Earp, Sam Houston, or David Crockett, as what the person in the photo tells us nowadays is up anyone’s guess.
    The photo is very creative as I don’t expect to please everyone.

  • @ anon 4:10:

    Oh, put on your dancing shoes cuz IT IS ON!…

    Just kidding. Bt seroiusly though, you have a small weiner.

  • Sam Houston isn’t an “old west legend” fer cripes sakes. And it’s Davy, not David.

  • For the posting at 9:34 you’re right about Davy (not David) Crockett who defended the Alamo, Sam Houston was certainly avenging the Alamo, as for others I would suggest Fr Antonio Margil who founded the San Antonio Missions, notablt Mission San Jose magnificently put back together with the San Antonio Conservation Society and it’s founders, Rena Maverick Green, Emily Edwards and others saved the Governors Palace in San Antone!

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