Matthew Lief Anderson

PHOTO  .  February 7th, 2014


Interview with Matthew Lief Anderson, american photographer.


Where and when were you born?

I was born in Alton, Illinois, an old river town near St Louis in 1983.



You just finished a trip more than 10,000 miles around America’s west coast and into Canada and Alaska and back. How did you find the time for an excursion like this?

We all have the time to travel but jobs get in the way. I have been lucky to have the type of life that is conducive to traveling. I spent the last 4 years living and working abroad. Most recently I was in Istanbul. I spend about a year or so living and working in a country and then travel for 4-5 months. And when the money runs out I move to a new country and work again. I had just finished a contract working in Istanbul and spent the money on the motorcycle trip to Alaska.



Can you tell us more about this trip? What were your team and means of transportation?

The first half of the trip was with two fellow photographers: Marlon Geller and Randy P. Martin. We shot photos and video for a few companies that sponsored us along the way. And the whole trip was meant to be on motorcycles. Mine broke down eventually. Randy and Marlon sold their bikes and went back to the lower 48 and I traveled alone for the rest of the trip in a rental car. The project was called 4,000 miles. I ended up clocking more than 10,000 when everything was done.



Give us some songs to listen with your photos.

“Heart of The Sunrise” by Yes

“Parsec” by Stereolab

“Happy Holidays” by Jim O’Rourke

“Wham City” by Dan Deacon

“I Think I Can” by Animal Collective

“Enders Toi” by Tame Impala


What cameras did you use?

I used a Yashica t5 and a Fuji X-100 on the trip. Now I use a Contax G2, Mamiya RZ67, and Canon 5d mkii



Can you tell us more about this shoot? [see below]

After the Alaska trip I took another shorter trip around California with Luke Byrne and David Boyson Cooper. It was so much fun traveling with those guys because they’re from other countries and they hadn’t seen much of California or bears or trees this size. This photo is from the first part of our trip into The Sequoias. This is the first few minutes of some snow that turned into an insane blizzard. We had to buy chains for our tires to continue on.


Nice story : )  and – wow, again, pretty nice road companions !
Recently, you launched a great podcast project called Pow Wow ( where you talk with brilliant photographers. How did you get this idea and what does it bring to you?

I got this idea because I listen to a lot of comedy podcasts. I looked at some of the photography podcasts on iTunes but they don’t interview photographers that interest me. I have had the chance to hang out with lots of inspiring people and thought I might as well start recording a conversation or two. I try to make each one a little bit different. I like all of the artists I’ve had on so far but none of them necessarily relate to each other aside from the first two episodes because we were on the road together (Episode 1 with David Boyson Cooper / Episode 2 with Luke Byrne). It’s a cool way to get to know people and record something meaningful.



You already interviewed 6 photographers. What was the feedback like on this project ? and do you know who’s next ?

I have a lot of people who I want on and have a good relationship to ask, but I honestly don’t know who will be next. Reuben Wu lives in Chicago and we get together a lot. He’ll probably be the next person I chat with in person. The feedback has been great. It gets thousands of downloads. People are constantly submitting work to come on, and I’m hearing a lot of positive things from listeners.



To finish, can you tell us more about destroying this car >  ?  :)

HaHa yeah. This came from our trip to Alaska in the Arctic Circle as far as you can possibly go in North America. The roads are terrible and if your car breaks down, it stays there forever. Randy started throwing some rocks at the car and it turned into this video. Your looking at a rough cut I made for Biltwell.

Thanks a lot Matt.