Matt Carroll portrait

Matt Carroll in action

About Matt Carroll

Just about my favorite thing to do is go to some corner of the world and immerse myself in the landscape I find there. My love of photography grew from its usefulness in this pastime. It helps me observe things more closely and experience them more intimately. And then the photographs themselves let me revisit those moments.

There is a meditative quality to my photography. I try to distill scenes down to a single element or two. Even then I often end up with more complexity than I originally intended! This tendency also affects my journey to the place being photographed. For me, it is necessary to set off with a goal, but it is also good to develop the flexibility needed to see opportunities in changing, unexpected conditions.

Some of my work can be considered nature photography, but I'm also interested in the human connection to the landscape. In particular, I have a keen appreciation for unusual juxtapositions of natural and cultural elements.

Book projects interest me because they allow me to present a broad range of photographs and to tell stories through words and images. For me, producing a book is a process of becoming aware of a particular place, returning to it over a period of years, perceiving gaps in the work I've done to date, and reconceiving the project when necessary. I love the understanding I gain from this iterative process.

My academic training in geography and environmental studies has helped enormously. Surfing, backpacking, and off-roading have also influenced my work.

My projects are concentrated close to home in Southern and Central California. My goal is to publish several books that together show how the landscapes of this region fit together. With my photography, I strive to capture what I love about living here: the rugged beauty in the region and its complex relationship with people. My inaugural book, "San Gabriel Mountains," was first released in 2013. This year I'm developing "Pacific Incorporated," a journey through Southern California's thirty-two beach cities.

Although I do think in terms of larger bodies of work, every individual photograph included in the books or sold as a print is carefully selected. It must be distinctive in some way on its own as well as contribute to the collection.

I carry and use a tripod just about everywhere, and I do so to ensure the best compositions, optimum exposures, and most detail. I also use it to take multiple exposures which can be combined to show motion. Other than that, my post-capture processing consists of modest adjustments to sharpness, levels, and hues. The hue adjustment is usually to lightness, not saturation.

My photographs have been shown across Southern California and published in Sierra Magazine, Long Beach Magazine, and Open Adoption Magazine. Though photography for me is a personal passion, I am proud that the quality of my work attracts a wide audience of people similarly drawn to how people and the environment shape each other.