LAST weekend saw the opening of an engaging photography exhibition profiling people living and working within the Southend community, by local man Matt Crew.

It took place at the Beecroft Gallery, Southend, which you can see until the end of December.

The images are featured in a book titled Salt, a Southend Borough Council project, which depicts a collection of local business people, individuals, families and organisations who work in the town and love it!

The words are the subjects' own, compiled via a form which they were asked to fill in.

Matt set up the photos separately by himself, while the gorgeous design was managed by the Grow Creative Company in Leigh.

"The Council contacted me just over a year ago to do some work for them" explained Matt, who works within the corporate photography field. "They just wanted to update their image library and said they were also looking for a photographer for a book.

"They already had the design company on board and I was to collaborate with it."

By coincidence, Matt has also been running a design company called Insight, for 16 years.

"I thought it might be strange at first, to work with a different design company, who technically ought to be my competitor, but it was actually cool to just let someone else handle all that side of things and interesting to see how they used my photos - I enjoyed that. I really liked to see how they had chosen my images, especially as I can be quite indecisive about that kind of thing" Matt added.

It was also very different he said, photographing people as opposed to products.

"I'm used to doing a lot of product shots, commercial photos, so it was an interesting way to work."

The exhibition is Matt's first.

It is on at the gallery in Victoria Avenue, Southend, until December 30.

Admission is free.

The gallery is open from Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm.

The Echo asked Matt, about his favourite images from his portfolio:

Fi Dulake - landlady of the Railway Hotel, Southend, and musician

"I really like this photo because of the way it came together. When I went to take the photos, there was a giant glitter ball in the room so we used it, which created a flash of light behind her. We also used a fan which made her hair all blurry. I think it is a nice photo, with lots of detail."

Seaside Sirens (group) and Rae of the Seaside Sirens

"I think this shot looks like it could be in Miami or somewhere similar - I really like it. Also, I'm really fond of the palm tress.

"I took the photo of Rae why I was going backwards on a long board, trying not to be noticed in the shot. You can see the motion blur on the ground. It wasn't an easy shot to get with everything going on. Rae fell and grazed her knee."

Sophie Rajah - Southend Seafront

"It was a bit cold on this shoot. Sophie had to wrap up in between takes. We also had a few hecklers around. This was one of the earliest shots we did so I was still trying to find my feet with it."

Southend Airport

"It was great doing this, great to be able to get in and be allowed 'behind the scenes' , on the airstrip. It was quite exciting. I like it when a job allows me to see restricted areas. I like that photo because of that, and the light and lens flare.