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international photography annual 2 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Matthew Conboy
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Robert Morris University, Instructor


detail image


The photographs from West South West document the mean centers of population that are plotted at the conclusion of every US Census. These locations have progressively moved in a west-southwesterly direction from Kent County, Maryland in 1790 to Texas County, Missouri in 2010. The US Census process is a methodical gathering of statistical information and this project parallels that measured approach. The consistent westerly shift of these population centers over the past 220 years evokes the power of the American Dream and the willingness of both citizens and immigrants alike to stake their lives, fortunes, and futures on opportunities located in Western and Border States.

I began this project in July 2001 and then enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard.  Three weeks later, 9/11 happened and I proceeded to spend more than 5 of the next 12 years on Active Duty.  In February 2013, I resigned from the Army and decided that now was the time to finish this project.  From July 26th-August 7th, 2013, I travelled more than 2600 miles photographing all 24 centers of population.


born: 1977, Washington, DC


Ohio University, ABD
Virginia Commonwealth University, MFA, 2004
Catholic University of America, BS, 1999

selected awards/honors

Artist Opportunity Grant, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, 2012
Finalist, Fotoweek DC, 2009
Feed Biennial Semi-Finalist, 1708 Gallery, 2009

selected publications

Craig O'Donnell, "Snapshots of America 100 Years at a Time," The Kent County News, July 31, 2013
Benjamin Cawthra, "Streets of Dreams: Rephotographing Smith's Pittsburgh," Blue Notes in Black and White (Blog), June 1, 2013.
Staff, "Photographer to Document Population Centers," The Rolla Daily News, May 9, 2013

selected solo or two-person exhibits

901 Penn Gallery: The Pittsburgh Project, Pittsburgh, PA, 2010

selected group shows

Unlisted: Second Steel, (Collaborative Performance), Pittsburgh, PA, 2013
Allegheny College: 8 Hour Project: Performativity, Meadville, PA, 2013
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts: 30:2, Pittsburgh, PA, 2013
Carnegie Museum of Art: Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 102nd Annual, Pittsburgh, PA, 2013



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