We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work balance has always been a battle I’ve fought. When I was younger I shot every day all the time. I would shoot a full day of football then go out at night and shoot astrophotography in the desert. I’d work 300 days a year and still feel I needed to shoot more. As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to put the camera down to spend more time with my wife and kids but it is a battle. I love so much to make beautiful images every day. I do believe it has made me better working as hard as I did in the beginning of my career. Working that hard has helped me develop time management skills and understanding when to work hard and when to pull them down.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a very competitive person. A lot of people say they are but really don’t sacrifice and put in the extra work to get better. I hate to lose and would take every job as a competition. I wanted the cover of the magazine and the bigger client . I believe too many photographers don’t put in that extra work to make it to the next level. I’d almost kill myself to get better. I wanted and needed to make better images. I once had an assignment for the OC Register to photograph a reporter who was going to run the LA marathon, I suggested to run the marathon myself to get better more intimate images. With some planning and training I ran the race and shot about 20 rolls of film to make a nice photo story. I could have taken the easy rout and shot the beginning and end of the race like I had seen before. If you want better images you need to work hard for it. I take that approach in all my work. You never know who’s seen your work before or for the first time.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We are are going to zigzag through LA for sure. We’ll start the day at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, I love old Hollywood and that places has such rich history. Head to Griffith Observatory and take in the views. The observatory is such a beautiful and peace place. Architecture is nice to photograph. Lunch at Canters Deli! I’d order a pastrami sandwich on rye bread, cole slaw, steak fries and chocolate shake. With a full stomach we head to El Matador State Beach in Malibu and take in the sunset. That beach is a hidden gem with wonderful sunsets in the winter. After the sun falls down we drive to downtown and go to Daikokuya for some hot ramen. We can walk a couple buildings down to Far Bar for a nice drink and enjoy some music. Before it gets to late we head over to Pie Hole for some pie and coffee. Mom’s Apple Crumble Pie is always a win after a long day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have two people who really helped my career move forward. The first one is Al DeVito, he was a college professor at Fullerton College were I took course early in my career. Al was a world class photographer and you would never now it. He worked with Minor White and Ansel Adams during his career. Al would sit down in his office and teach me the true understanding of photography and the darkroom. He pushed hard and wanted the very best from you and I took to it. The second mentor was Mike Goulding, a long time photojournalism and another world class photographer. We worked together at the OC Register where I would help Mike on photo shoots as much as I could, work along side on photo assignments to learn anything I could. Mike would take the time to teach and look at my work after assignments.
Other: I have a podcast Just a Good Conversation https://anchor.fm/matt-brown57 https://www.instagram.com/justagoodconversation/