Matt Lara

Travel
  • Coachella Weekend in Palm Springs

    I have my own mixed feelings about Coachella. The crowds of people on some substance or another. The problematic ownership at the top. The cost of it all. I know there are people who really love it. I'm not sure I'm one of those people. Personal feelings aside, I followed my curiosity when I had the chance to shoot a couple of events in Palm Springs during the first Coachella weekend, including the YSL Beauty Station. This was a pop-up shop installed on an empty plot of desert land off Highway 111 in Cathedral City. I know rather little about the beauty industry and/or makeup products. But it turns out the pop-up was a massive hit for YSL Beauty as well as the many, many, many social media folks who came out in droves to check it out.

    I shot a few more events that weekend, and got to see the power of social media at work. I've been aware of just how influential the social media influencer is for some time now. I know people of the non-millenial mindset try to shrug them off, thinking of them as just silly and selfie obsessed. I have to say there is a lot more sophistication behind the influencer machine these days. Gone are the selfie arms, and selfie sticks for that matter. I saw pro photographers and camera crews. I saw some really well-crafted interactive events that were truly very impressive. The influencer crowd is going to be here for quite some time.

    With the influencers came...everyone else? I'm not really sure who is an influencer anymore, to be honest. All I know is that for your typical, generally curious photographer, Coachella weekend brings out the fashionistas and they who seek to be photographed. A few street portraits at the YSL Beauty Station:

    Some of my photos were featured here at the BizBash website.

    My photography website.

    My Instagram.

  • On The Streets in Las Vegas

    I took a quick trip to Las Vegas a few weeks ago, and managed to escape for a few street shots. Enjoy.

    My Instagram.

    My Twitter.

    My photography site.

  • Retreat

    "You have to go to Burning Man.”
    Words I’m a little too familiar with. I remember about 10 years ago I was working as a dancer in a corporate entertainment company. We were in a limo en route to a gig on Long Island (or lord knows where) and one of my castmates kept going on and on about her week at Burning Man. I was intrigued. It sounded really cool to go out to the desert in the middle of nowhere and do nothing but make art and be creative all day. I never made it there, though. Time passed and along came social media which pretty much ruins anything trendy. Nowadays I might roll an eye or two if anyone even mentions their "Burn.”
    To be clear, I actually don’t have any hate for Burning Man. Perhaps a little FOMO about it, but that’s really it.
    I get that us creative folks need a retreat of some sort. A space to disappear for awhile. Some people really do need that week in the desert. People save up for the entire year to go pretend they don’t live their mundane, day-to-day lives. Me, I need a week in the mountains every year teaching at Camp Bravo. I’m lucky to have been able to go there since I was 14.
    Then there's this thing with social media that makes us to want to go to these places and post about how authentic we are. How we’re having such a great time while we take selfies.
    Again, I don’t hate that. But it’s not what I’m necessarily for. Make that escape whenever you can. Take the week off. Go to the desert, the mountains. A tiny hotel room to go finish the novel. The point should be to come back home to the life you have now having felt enriched by the escape. Maybe you come to some realizations or decide to make a few changes. Maybe you just made some memories. The point is to eventually come home, not constantly escape.
    So really, I don’t have to go to Burning Man. Stop telling me I do.