Interview: “I want it to feel like these people are wearing their pride.”

From Nico Tortorella to Jonathan Van Ness, these LGBTQ Personalities were photographed by Matt Monath’s ongoing CHROMA series to explore the relationship between colour and texture within emotionally- charged portraiture. In our exclusive interview Monath talks about his passion project and how the LGBTQ- Community influenced his work.

 Jonathan Jonathan

The process of making this project took over 10 years. What has been the biggest challenge?


The series has evolved so much since I first began. Since I apply the color and texture myself, it has been a bit of a journey through experimentation to get the application just right for photos. I’ve also realized it’s just as much about the actual subject themselves, who they are and what they represent, rather than just being an image with interesting color and texture.

 Matt Matt   

Tell me about the inspiration behind this series. What was your goal?

This series really is a passion project for me, and I aim for it to feel more tangible and meaningful than some of my other work. I wanted to create a series that really feels textural and bold, but has emotion. The inspiration comes from who I’m photographing, capturing the angles of their face, and intensifying that with the added color and texture. It’s a study of color and texture through portraiture. When I photograph queer people for this series, I want it to feel like these people are wearing their pride.

The “CHROMA” series include some very known faces, like Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness or Younger’s Nico Tortorella. How did you approach these celebrities and what was their reaction about your concept?

I approach my subjects in so many different ways. My friend Johnny introduced me to Jonathan, and when I mentioned what I had planned for a CHROMA portrait, he said he’s obsessed with CHROMA and, “she’s so excited!” He also mentioned he’s been a fan of my work, which was just so flattering. As for Nico, we met at his cover shoot for Vangardist that my buddy Bronson shot, and started chatting about it after that. He was instantly game for it, and a perfect fit as the project started to become about queer pride. The reactions I’ve been getting from the subjects and viewers have been so humbling. 

How much does your experience with the LGBTQ Comunnity influence your work as a photographer?

I’ve found that I draw plenty of inspiration from the LGBTQ community, for this series and beyond. CHROMA has largely evolved into something to represent the community by showing their pride through my photography. LGBTQ people are so unique as individuals, and the process of this series has brought me closer with others with them. It feels special to give the subjects prideful imagery that they’re excited to share with the world, as it becomes part of their own stories.

You are known for your signature colorful aesthetic. Who brings colour into your life?

My husband brings color into my life — he’s always inspiring me as an artist, as he’s an artist himself. The CHROMA portrait I took of him is one of my favorites.
To see more work by Matt Monath check out or follow him on instagram @mattmonathphoto.

Text: David Baczyk
Fotos: Matt Monath

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