For Matheson, photography began as an interest at an early age and grew into an obsession. Long considered to be one of New Zealand's leading Landscape Photographers, he spent over 50 years photographing the landscape of Southern New Zealand.
His photographs distil the texture and light of southern New Zealand to produce images praised for their integrity, design and sense of place.
His pictures are held in Te Papa, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and in public collections in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Singapore.
He is an Honorary Fellow of the Photographic Society of New Zealand, a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain and was made a Fellow of The Photographic Society of America in 1974. In 1975 he was presented with a Civic Arts Award by the City of Dunedin and in 1994 was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's prestigious Fenton Medal, for his contribution to Australasian Photography, the only time that a New Zealand photographer has been honoured in this way.
Matheson was a recipient in the Queens Birthday Honours list in 2006 being awarded an ONZM and in the same year, put a life time of work together in the beautiful publication – ‘Chasing the Southern Light’.
He was instrumental in helping to establish the New Zealand Centre for Photography (NZCP), which was officially opened in 1985 by the then Prime Minister David Lange.
Matheson’s images have found their way into various New Zealand books, a stock library and galleries. Up until 1972, his work was all monochrome but from then on, colour prints using the Cibachrome process. In 1998 he stopped shooting film and instead embraced the digital mode. All his images are shot in ‘RAW’ and converted in PhotoShop, before being printed on a high quality printer, using fine-art papers and Ultra-Chrome inks, which are known for their longevity.
Matheson sadly passed away in April 2021- he was in his 95th year. Gallery De Novo is honoured to have a collection of works by Matheson available, both framed and unframed.