Matthew Leifheit is an American artist and publisher
Episode 220: Matthew Leifheit is a powerhouse of American photography.
Not only content to produce work that pushes boundaries for the LGBTQ community while remaining sensibly embedded in the traditional production of photographs, but Leifheit is also responsible for publishing a photography magazine titled Matte. His output is incredible and aspirational. As we progress through the morass of the photographic swamp (yes, I did), I feel that it is important to highlight individuals whose drive and clarity of vision make them nearly an institution unto themselves.
Beholden to nobody, these individuals are the ones who will shape the future of the medium. They are able to set trends and buck against the institutional doldrums that constrict our ability towards progress. Matthew is a perfect example of an artist with a keen vision who makes incredible work while also keeping things real by promoting his fellow artist. I more than respect his output and suggest that we all begin to think about our role in photography differently and follow his lead. No more pining at the door of the institutions that do not help. It is time to take matters into our own hands, publish our own work, and sculpt new trajectories within the medium by bucking the rules and manacles of the institutionalized.
In this episode, Matthew and I speak about his beginnings in the medium, his time, at vice, and a number of his stellar works. Though the work is to be viewed from the position of a “violently homosexual” drive, I believe they exceed this placement and become more universal. His Key West series is a perfect example of where his LGBTQ interests meet with larger discussions of family, growing up as an outsider, and the smooth colorful palette of Kodak Gold all meet in a particular place and in a particular idea of time. His Fire Island Night considers safety, community, and erotic tendencies, but it also examines the themes of a baroque history with an incredible insight into the tradition of the medium. We spoke about the work in relation to James Bidgood, George Platt Lynes, Wilhelm von Gloeden, and a number of other Queer artists who have pushed the medium historically.
Please tune into this episode and by all means, start involving yourself with Matthew’s incredible career, images, and output. you will not be disappointed.