Matt Frank has always carried his own unique
viewpoint of Chelsea, his own deep respect and love for a city he grew up in
during its worst times, and for which he helped shepherd as a City Councillor
during the ascent to some of its best times.
Now, after having retired from politics last
election cycle, the life-long Chelsea resident has turned to a life behind the
camera – taking up photography in a serious way and making more than a hobby
out of it. Last weekend, he premiered his first solo show at the Chelsea
Prospers Gallery in the windows of the former Salvation Army store.
“The show is up and I think we had a great
opening before the Night Market last weekend,” he said. “This is a show I call
‘Modern Nostalgia.’ The focus is the things we know here that we have lost. We
lost the water tower at the Soldiers’ Home and the Chelsea Clock building and
the old Clark Avenue School, which I have pictured aside the new Clark Avenue
School building…There are pictures of the downtown and the Tobin Bridge and one
of kayakers on the Creek by the Bridge at sunset. Many don’t see Chelsea as
elegant and pretty. But I think my photos are how a lot of residents see
Chelsea…It’s an aspirational image and that’s how we feel about Chelsea at its
Frank began playing around with a camera
many years ago when he was working in Harvard Square, taking pictures for his
job there as a necessity. It was a situation where he once got a very iconic
photo of Lady Gaga when she was in Harvard Square visiting.
better camera and went to work in his hometown.
Since then, he has captured images that have
gotten great feedback from residents as he showed them prints or posted them
online – motion photos of Bellingham Square, or swans in Mill Creek, or sunsets
over the Mystic/Tobin Bridge.
Soon, he was one of the leading voices –
among many voices – in what Frank and others are calling the ‘Beautiful
That has come not just in the form of
traditional photographs, but also with photo pillows, magnets, mugs and other
“It’s becoming a bit of a movement now,” he
Frank said he would like to continue his
journey by adding more portraits, and more photos of people, but he said he
also likes the idea of continuing on with inspiring photos of Chelsea.
“Maybe I’ll focus on different communities, but
honestly the Chelsea ones get a great reaction,” he said. “That’s because I
know Chelsea. I suspect when I take pictures of other cities, it’s the same
way. I think that what it is. My Chelsea pieces have my spirit in it. I think I
see Chelsea in the way that others from Chelsea see it.”
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