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matt sweeney

matt sweeney - mudstonephoto.com

Matt Sweeney is a 5th generation Californian who originally wanted to be a photographer in elementary school. Set up a darkroom and biked around with his pin hole cameras. After dropping out of high school to work at restaurants and gas stations (pre-self serve), he bought a Nikon 35mm camera. He worked in theatre doing tech as a high school student and roadied for nascent rock bands. Applied to Coppola's new film school in SF, but they moved to LA before opening. Matt followed them to LA, where he found a place to live in the Hollywood Hills while working at Freestyle Photo and Frank's Highland Park Camera. Taking the bus to work every day he transferred at Hollywood and Vine. When the light was good you could find him shooting up and down Hollywood and West LA in the late 70s to early 80s using Kodachrome.

Eventually he left Hollywood and returned to the SF bay area. There he continued to work in restaurants, as a tutor, as a cab driver, as a furniture company worker, as a marketing survey person, and as NASA-AMES microbiologist intern all while getting degrees in chemistry and biology. Once out of school he worked as a biochemist, but never stopped shooting, moving from Kodachrome (dang it) to 6x6 and 6x7 film cameras using a variety of emulsions. Much of this work is California landscapes and urban detritus and it's inhabitants. He is interested in environmental and ecological themes and human nature/culture, or any combination of those.

Matt has been working through his archive scanning the thousands of Kodachrome slides that he has managed to preserve from his time on the streets of Hollywood. This work is being prepared for use in a book of this work that he is finding ways to publish. For now, many examples of this work can be seen on his tumblr. He looks forward to any and all contacts about his work or collaborations that might prove artistically rewarding. email me at
Email Matt at mudstonephoto[at]gmail.com

and to see more of my work check my tumblr at

Prints available, contact me for photography assignments, or to use my images

Matt loves geology also, one common rock in the area is Santa Cruz Mudstone. His love of photographing geology and the ubiquity of his own name, gave a chance for the whimsy to blossom...so mudstone. Mudstone (also called mudrock) is a fine grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. Grain size is up to 0.0625 mm (0.0025 in) with individual grains too small to be distinguished without a microscope. With increased pressure over time the platey clay minerals may become aligned, with the appearance of fissility or parallel layering. This finely bedded material that splits readily into thin layers is called shale, as distinct from mudstone. The lack of fissility or layering in mudstone may be due either to original texture or to the disruption of layering by burrowing organisms in the sediment prior to lithification. Mud rocks, such as mudstone and shale comprise some 65% of all sedimentary rocks. Mudstone looks like hardened clay and, depending upon circumstances under which it was formed, it may show cracks or fissures, like a sun-baked clay deposit. - from wikkipedia