While still a student at Art Center, Rolston was discovered by Andy Warhol, who immediately commissioned portraits for Interview magazine. Thus began an extraordinary career; over the next 30 years, Matthew Rolston’s photographs have been published in many magazines, including Interview, Vogue, W, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, and over 100 covers of Rolling Stone. Along with his friend Herb Ritts, Rolston was a member of an influential group of photographers (among them, Bruce Weber, Annie Liebovitz and Steven Meisel) to emerge from the 1980’s magazine scene.
Rolston’s early photographs from this era are notable for their distinctive and glamorous lighting style, surrealistic tableaus, and detail-rich sets. His imagery has helped define contemporary aesthetics of American portrait photography and truly embodies modern glamour. “Matthew has a unique beat on our culture,” said Jann Wenner, Editor-in-Chief of Rolling Stone. “The very images we have ingrained in our minds when we think of music, movies, and celebrities are quite often Matthew’s creations. After publishing more than 25 years of his photographs we’re still excited by the imagery.” To date Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone remain Rolston’s longest continuous professional relationship. Robert Sobieszek, the legendary former Curator of Photography for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), compared Rolston’s work to the “four mega-greats of the ‘50s and ‘60s: Avedon, Hiro, Penn and Skrebneski… I think Rolston is one of the foremost editorial, glamour/fashion photographers working today,” he said, “giving us immensely sophisticated, exciting, glamorous shots and portraits that surround us daily.”