We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Francisco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk-taking has always played a major role in my life. I’m very lucky that I’m able to build a more creative lifestyle right now while I am young and independent. I’ve always wanted to have the freedom to pursue my passions, and the risks that come with that pursuit are largely outweighed by the benefits of the freedom to follow my dreams. In that sense, I don’t really think of risk as something negative. I approach risk-taking with two questions: “Is this making me happy right now (in a healthy way)?” / “What can I invest time and energy into that will help me get where I want to be in five or ten years?” Anything that falls into those two categories, I need to make space for — even if that means letting go of a more comfortable option.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been interested in images for my entire life, and have been shooting more seriously for about 5-6 years now. While I still feel like I have a lot to learn, I don’t think that’s a process that will ever come to an end for me. About two years ago, things really started to click for me during a tough time. I went through a long period of deep anxiety towards the end of college, during which I experienced frequent panic attacks and feelings of disassociation. After working through these issues in therapy, it struck me that I feel the most present and grounded when I’m making art — more specifically, creating the images that interest me. Photography, for me, is now about that practice.
I try to bring this perspective into everything I shoot, regardless of it being commercial or personal work. I want my images to communicate this sense of grounding and beauty in what’s completely real.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m still fairly new to the city, I just moved to LA at the very beginning of 2021, but there’s definitely a long list of places I’d take someone. One of my favorite spots is up in Malibu, if you take a hard right off the highway — the Castro Crest Trailhead. My roommates initially showed me the trail, and I was blown away by how beautiful it is. It feels like you’re in another world, but it’s only like 45 minutes away from my apartment. It’s hard to pick a good restaurant (I actually drive for Uber Eats on the side, I still have a million places I want to try), but I’m definitely a huge fan of Yeastie Boys bagels over in Silver Lake.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Aside from my (incredible!) support system of family and friends, Alexandra Silverthorne is a close friend of mine and was one of my photo professors during my undergrad. She’s an incredible artist and educator based in D.C. — and she has always been there for me and helped me grow as an artist and mentor myself. You can check out her work here: http://
Feature photo shot by Gina Greninger (@ginagreninger)