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The Process: Matthew Dingle shares his creative process behind his work in the new Arsenal Kit Reveal video

The Process: Matthew Dingle shares his creative process behind his work in the new Arsenal Kit Reveal video

El Johnson
The Process Matthew Dingle Arsenal
Matthew Dingle at the Emirate Stadium

Atlanta-based photographer and member of our Forty-One Pitchside Collective, Matthew Dingle got the opportunity of a lifetime when he was contacted to contribute to Arsenal’s 24/25 Home Kit release video.

A life-long Gooner, Matt, known on social media as @nomadic_lens, has developed a reputation for capturing the club he loves in his signature grainy and romantic style. That dedication, along with some good networking opportunities have allowed him to catch the eye of the Club and it’s players, setting the stage for this moment.

We caught up with Matt on the heels of the jersey launch to learn more about how this opportunity arrived, his creative process on the project, and what his dream assignment would be.

41: Before we jump into the project you worked on, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to support Arsenal?

MD: My story with Arsenal starts with my family. My parents lived in a house just north of London, and every day my mom would travel through Highbury & Islington on her way to work. As a young American who crossed an ocean on a whim, after meeting my dad while visiting London previously, I think my mom found a sense of home and security through watching the club she was always seeing pop up in her life. Through that association and proximity to it all, she fell in love with the club through players like Bergkamp and Henry, and from there the club seeped into my family season after season, leading up to my birth where I was Arsenal through and through. My dad is a lifelong Leeds United supporter, so you can imagine the banter between us at every given opportunity! 

How did you begin to build a working relationship with the club?

My relationship with the club in a professional sense came about through pre-season tours here in the US. I started working as a pitchside photographer covering the club’s tour in Orlando in 2022 for COPA90, alongside shooting interviews with Arteta and players for retailers. On an off-chance after training one day, Hector Bellerin got in touch with me, and he and I started talking about life, the industry, and cultivating your passion through art. After that summer tour was over, I knew football was where I needed to spend the rest of my career giving my efforts. I essentially networked and chatted with as many people as I could on all things Arsenal. My passion and love for the club kept me going, I think. 

How did this opportunity to work on the kit release video come about?

The opportunity to work on this year’s kit launch is a testament to how unpredictable this industry can be. I was contacted by Weirdo, a creative production agency out of London, on a Thursday morning out of the blue about a potential project I might be interested in. After learning this “project” was in fact the new home kit, everything got very serious! All it took was one meeting with Weirdo and I knew immediately this would be a special launch with everyone involved. We got to work straight away.

What was your creative process going into the assignment?

My process for this shoot was a bit unorthodox, to be honest. Given the nature, secrecy, and rather quick timeline of the shoot, I spent a majority of my time after being contacted literally just sitting. Sitting and visualizing my final product on a shoot is always something I do, probably as both a decompressor- but also to help cultivate the organic flow of the creative process. 

I had a call with Weirdo to discuss the overarching messaging of the kit, and how I was being placed into the “world” of the shoot, so to speak. Once I had a rough idea of my final “deliverables” and which camera body/lens combo I wanted to shoot on, I set the shoot dates and checkpoints I needed to hit before the final deadline. I think 2 or 3 days after first contact I was picking up the cinema rig rental and got straight to work. Me and my team shot for about 3 days, and ended with both footage and still photographs that we felt encompassed a body of work that Weirdo could pick and choose from, as opposed to delivering the bare minimum. 

What were some of your favorite elements to work on, and what were some challenges you ran into?

Without a doubt being my own director of photography and getting to do proper cinematic work was a dream come true. My background is very much rooted in film, and having the license to give motion picture work a proper go came about very naturally for me. That being said, having so much freedom and energy directed to this new medium was a challenge. Photography is one thing for me as it’s where I’ve always worked, but when it comes to video there’s so many more moving parts like rigging, continuity, and having so much more to play with – even in a 5 second clip. 

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You’re still in college and have accomplished a lot so far, who are some of your inspirations in the sports creative space?

Drawing inspiration from others around me is honestly what I spend most of my free time doing. Being able to look at other’s work and feel the same way I did about photography before I ever picked up a camera is a privilege. 

A few amazing individuals in photography who I look up to are Matthew Sith, Andrea Vilchez, Jordan Hughes, the late Gerry Cranham, and the list could go on. I’ve always felt that if you look at a photo and feel completely present in the moment, free of any technical know-how and obsession of “how they got the shot”, you’re doing it right; and those photographers create excellent examples of that. 

To wrap things up, what does your dream shoot or assignment look like?

To be honest, a kit launch like this one! Having full creative freedom and being let loose on an idea is what everyone aspires to work on, and this kit launch was exactly that. Another assignment that comes to mind is a journalistic piece covering football in remote parts of the world. Bringing light to under-served communities who still find life through football is something that I’ve always felt a connection to, so maybe one day I’ll be able to bring that film/photo study to life. 

You can follow Matthew and his work on IG @nomadic_lens and at his site

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