FotoFest Exhibitions

Matthew Brandt

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In his series Lakes and Reservoirs (2008), Matthew Brandt seeks to create new meaning through an emphasis on the physical properties of photographic production. Photographing water bodies in the Western United States, Brandt soaks each print in the water of its depicted subject for days to weeks to months, until the break down of material achieves a desired, unique look. He emphasizes the photograph not as a finely finished, indexical record of a subject but rather as an object that is as much at the mercy of physical forces as any other in the world. Brandt’s series of portraits similarly incorporate liquids uniquely related to individual subjects, embracing the use of such less predictable historic processes as salted paper printing and gum bichromate. Dennis (2007) depicts a prostrate infant, printed on salted paper with the aid of mother’s breast milk. Another portrait appears still smaller, its miniature size dictated by the use of its subject’s tears for its printing. By embracing deterioration, fragility, and chance, Brandt thus seeks to reclaims the uniqueness of individual photographic works


Matthew Brandt was born in Los Angeles in 1982. His father is a California-based advertising photographer and his mother is an emigrant from Hong Kong. He worked with his father as a photo-assistant in his early adolescence. As a young man, Brandt briefly abandoned photography turning to painting. While studying at Cooper Union in New York he fully embraced photography as his medium of choice. Following college, Brandt worked for two years for architectural photographer Robert Polidori. In 2008 he returned to Los Angeles to complete his M.F.A in photography at the University of California, Los Angeles. There he rekindled his passion for the hands-on processes of the darkroom. His first solo exhibition was held the following year at Cardwell Jimmerson Gallery, Los Angeles. Brandt continues to live and work in Los Angeles.