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Artist Interview: Molly Matalon


Artist Interview: Molly Matalon

Daughter Runs

Molly Matalon

Location: Bay Area, California 

Website / Instagram

Molly Matalon photographs authenticity: real people, real settings, real perspectives. It is through this medium that she is able to explore both herself and her subject. Often opting for self-portraits, Ms. Matalon's work distinguishes what is fact and what is not. It also doesn't hurt that her Floridian nativity adds a photographic flair, no matter where she is based.

DAUGHTER RUNS: What first drove you towards photography?

Molly: i was going to punk shows, lurking myspace, trying to find out how to make friends outside of high school. i got really into taking profile pictures for people and shooting bands.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Do you feel your portraits are an accurate representation of the way you view the person you're photographing?

Molly: I actually don’t think a portrait is an accurate representation of the person in the picture. It might describe the person, “like they’re in the picture”. But since it’s being taken by someone else I feel it’s mostly a representation of the photographer. This is where for me importance of the selfie comes into play. I guess when I’m making a portrait of someone I’m always thinking about a really subtle character version of that person.


DAUGHTER RUNS: Is there a technique you use that helps make your subjects feel more comfortable in front of the camera?

MollyI recently photographed someone who was incredibly uncomfortable in front of the camera and took it out in a way that even made me uncomfortable. I guess I just try to make fun of myself and tell bad jokes, but I don’t know if it works...

DAUGHTER RUNS: What was the inspiration behind the series you did on your mother?

Molly: in short, i had trouble finding ‘inspiration’ in NYC when i was in college so i was encouraged by a teacher to photograph my family when i went home to visit florida on break, and eventually my mom’s personality stood out among other members of my family and i kept shooting her. we had a rocky relationship and making pictures of her really helped to mend it into something new.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Where do you stand on the film vs. digital debate?

Molly: I feel like this question is irrelevant at this point.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Do you think environment plays a large role in creativity and ambition?

Molly: totally. i lived in NYC for 4 years and it drove me to hustle and make sure people knew i lived there and was a woman making pictures even while i was still in school. it’s important to also be inspired in the place you’re living! even if it’s in the midwest somewhere people are out there killing it. when i was living in NYC i was taking pictures in florida. NYC didn’t inspire me creatively but it gave me ambition. it’s all about perspective.


DAUGHTER RUNS: In your work you photograph in both a natural environment as well as in a studio environment. How do you feel using both of these settings allow you to express your vision more thoroughly?


Molly: in studio it’s definitely a challenge for me to again find that sort of subtle character in someone, or pick the right colors. i’m a studio lighting amateur so i just set up what I know and then try to work the person I’m shooting into a particular picture.  Out in the world feels more natural to me and also more fun.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Who do you continuously find yourself looking to for inspiration?

Molly: Larry Sultan, Torbjorn Rodland, Katy Grannan, Roe Ethridge, Taryn Simon, Jo Ann Calis, Rineke Dijkstra, Daniel Shea, Jason Nocito, Jody Rogac, all my closest friends & lovers.

DAUGHTER RUNS: What is the last film you watched?

Molly: i just watched The Life of David Gale

DAUGHTER RUNS: What is your favorite decade or time period?

Molly: The one we are in right now but I question the progression we’ve made as a society every day, it’s really not much

DAUGHTER RUNS: What does “Daughter Runs” mean to you?

Molly: I honestly have no idea lmao


all photos © copyright Molly Matalon