Molly Matalon: Brooklyn Shutterbug and Brow Queen

by Maddie Maschger

Meet Molly Matalon, a prolific young photographer and recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts. Only 23 years old, Molly has already hit the ground running and made quite the name for herself with her slick frankness and incredible eyebrow game. I sat down with Molly and asked her a few questions about making it as a female photographer and her tips and tricks of the trade. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m a 23-year-old photographer and lady living in Brooklyn, NY. I’m originally from Boca Raton, Florida. I just graduated from the School of Visual Arts in May with a BFA in photography. I really like eating peaches in San Francisco and watching the sunset. I go to sleep before 11p.m. almost every night.

What was your experience like navigating art school as a female student?

I spent a lot of time looking at work that students were making and thinking, “I wish a woman was taking these pictures”. But I didn’t have a bad experience as a female student, I rarely felt lesser or that I was out-numbered. It’s interesting to me that there are a lot of female students in the photography program but the ‘real world’ is predominantly male… I’m still trying to figure out what happens in the transition period. 

How has life post-graduation been going? What are you working on at the moment?

Things have been a little difficult, having a hard time assimilating to a schedule where I don’t meet twice a week to have a critique. Luckily I have a tight knit group of friends here that I graduated with who are hustling so hard and are always thinking. I have been having a lot of meetings and have been trying to land editorial gigs. At the moment I am working on a project with my close friend Damien Maloney. 

What is your favorite camera to shoot with?

Mamiya rz67.

Do you remember the first image you shot, or perhaps the first image you shot and loved?

One of the first pictures I shot and loved was in high school on a 35mm camera it was black and white and of my childhood friend Skylar. In the picture, she is sitting in grass in my backyard. I remember she was wearing checkered vans and some punk band tee and the wind was blowing through her hair. 

What made you want to pursue photography?

The first magazine I had a subscription to was Rolling Stone, and I spent my teen years looking at Diane Arbus’ pictures, and my aunt is an artist. Something in the mix of those things made me want to pursue photography even though I was very unsure of what that entailed. 

Tell us about your series ‘Mom’?

My mom and I had a very rough relationship for a lot of my life. I began photographing in my home and my family members and eventually just strictly shooting my mom. It made her feel important (and still does) because she knows I love photography and I was taking all of these pictures of her. Although the work is very specific to my mom, to me the work is about women and place. What do women look like in 2014 and what does a mother look like? South Florida is a very particular place about upkeep and image; I’m interested in how people begin to mirror the place they live.

What is your preferred subject?

I really like to take pictures of people’s parents and also I like to take pictures of seashells. Right now I really would love to get hired to shoot portraits of boring white men.

What advice would you give to young women interested in pursuing photography and cracking into the industry?

You have to work really hard and be passionate and professional. Don’t ever be afraid to email anyone. 


To see more of Molly’s work, visit her website

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