When we discovered Matt Brooks’ Instagram, we didn’t think twice before tapping ‘follow.’ A Graphic Designer by trade, Matt takes pictures that are uniquely refreshing and bright, with an emphasis on bold colors and clean lines. His photos cheerfully convey the spirit of L.A. (you’d never guess that Matt grew up in Portland), and remind us why we love this city so much. We sat down with the social media pro to pick his brain and hopefully pick up some of his tricks:
What inspires you? Most of my photo inspiration comes from the vibrant colors and art culture of Los Angeles. When I first came to visit LA as a teenager I was immediately drawn to the bright colors in street art and public murals. After living here for three years I still find inspiration everywhere. This city offers access to some of the best art in the world so I make a point to continually expose myself to new things and share it with others through Instagram.
Do you seek out photo ops, or do you wait for the right moment to arise? Both. I’m always seeking out new places and adventures, sometimes with the intention of getting cool pictures. But there are many serendipitous moments that I capture along the way.
Tell us a little bit about your experience using social media as a tool to share your work. I got my first iPhone embarrassingly late… after college graduation in 2012. While I was in college I only saw people using Instagram to post pictures of their food and I thought it was really lame. It wasn’t until I moved to LA when I saw people using Instagram more creatively. Coincidentally, the day I got my first iPhone I hung out with a photographer friend of mine (@dabito) who has an amazing Instagram. He showed me the ropes and ever since I’ve been very conscious about the pictures I post. My experience using Instagram is less social than it is a curated gallery of what I think is visually appealing, and hope others will see beauty in too.
Any interesting stories about trying to get a good shot? There was one time when I was taking pictures at 7/11 and the store clerk came outside. I thought he was going to kick us off the property, but instead he started directing the shoot with his own creative vision. That totally surprised me.
Another time, I was taking a tour at the Long Beach aquarium and the tour guide was explaining that their sea turtle only comes up for air once every 3-4 hours. All of a sudden a giant sea turtle breached right next to me and I got beautiful shot. Timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
How would you describe your aesthetic? Bright, bold, colorful, clean, and fun.
What colors/ shapes/ places pique your interest? It’s really interesting… I can always tell what colors I’m gravitating towards by looking at my gallery. I’ll go through phases of taking photos with a lot of pink, or green, or any given color without even realizing it. At the moment my eyes are drawn to cobalt blue, white and yellow. I’m also really into unique, modern architecture. And neon lights, of course. I’m obsessed.
Who is Matt Brooks? Tell us a little about yourself. My roots are in the Pacific Northwest. I lived in Oregon most of my life until I moved to L.A. three years ago. I currently work at a tech/design company and freelance on the side, specializing in content strategy and social media. I am the epitome of a Libra - an indecisive social butterfly. I might have a slight shopping addiction and I’m secretly a ninja.
What’s your motto? The limit does not exist. “YOLO” is a classic too.
What are your dreams/ aspirations? This is a tough one because I’m still asking myself what I want to be when I grow up. Career wise, I think I want to be a brand strategist or the creative director of a cool company, but I’ll probably change my mind about that. My dream scenario is to have a job that doesn’t feel like work and allows me to travel the world. I’ve also always dreamed of riding in a hot air balloon and living in a tree house. One day.
Why Sundry? Sundry is comfortable, chic and effortlessly cool. It’s Southern California chill.
Follow Matt @mattebrooks