Matt Thompson: 'Seize the day as things can change in an instant'

Matt Thompson tells all in our Q&A

After a successful career in the music and broadcast industries as a radio presenter on Kiss Manchester and as a DJ and club promoter, Matt decided to pursue his passion for photography. A graduate of the London College of Communication, Matt's connection with photography as a creative medium expresses his desire to go beyond a literal interpretation of the subject, inviting the viewer to reflect upon the context of the moment captured. Now between Malta and London, Matt’s work has been commissioned and published by The Guardian, The Economist and The Sunday Times. He is a winner of the British Journal of Photography’s Open Walls 2020 prize, exhibited at Galerie Huit Arles, with his image The Field. Matt is currently working on his ongoing project about living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis entitled Project ME; a new, as yet untitled project with dancer Alicja Sośnia investigating the modern-day mind/body disconnect; and finishing off a new nude’s project entitled Sustain, exploring how we support each other physically and mentally. 

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? 

I’m not a great riser, but fortunately my wonderful partner brings me a coffee each morning (probably for her own sake).  

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 

You are not your thoughts. 

What do you never leave the house without? 

Reusable water bottle and snacks. 

Pick three words that describe yourself 

Creative, curious, thoughtful. 

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? 

In photography, my project Helen’s Story – a photo diary about Helen who lived with the condition epilepsy. It was the cover story for the Observer (the Guardian’s Sunday paper in the UK), informed a leader on epilepsy in the paper that day and inspired a BBC4 radio play. 

What is your guiltiest pleasure? 

I hear ABBA, and that’s it. 

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? 

Seize the day as things can change in an instant. 

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought? 

A camera. 

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger? 

Get a financial education. I had to learn this myself. It’s ridiculous that children aren’t taught about money and debt and the financial system they will inhabit as adults. No wonder so many people end up with financial problems. 

Who’s your inspiration? 

So many, but off the top of my head it has to be Bowie. 

What has been your biggest challenge? 

Fighting the condition, I have called ME, or chronic fatigue syndrome, which I’ve had for seven years now. 

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?   

Probably go back to music and broadcasting, as I was a DJ and radio presenter in a former career.   

Do you believe in God?   


If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be? 

The actor David Niven.   

What’s your worst habit? 

I guess it’s determined by your perspective and what annoys you the most. 

What are you like when you’re drunk? 

Haven’t been drunk in a long time, but I was a fairly happy drunk. 

Who would you have play you in a film? 

Mike Myers. 


What is the trait you most deplore in others? 

Lack of integrity. I’m not hot on greed either. 

What music would you have played at your funeral? 

Massive Attack - Teardrop 

What is your most treasured material possession? 

My Technics 1210 turntables (DJ record players). 

What is your earliest memory? 

Can’t remember. 

When did you last cry, and why? 

Last night at the end of watching the movie Elephant Man. 

Who would you most like to meet? 

Jurgen Klopp for a hug and a high five. 

What’s your favourite food? 

Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai. 

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now? 

I follow a bunch of photography related accounts, but don’t favour anyone in particular. I’m not into the whole influencer thing or social media for that matter, really. 

If you could travel in time, where would you go? 

Gozo in the 1960’s. Less people, fewer cars and less construction! These islands are being destroyed. 


What book are you reading right now? 

Origin Story: A big history of everything – David Christian 

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? 

Unlimited energy when I needed it. 

What’s one thing you want to do before you die? 

Visit Japan - in fact travel more. 

What music are you listening to now? 

Old blues, dub, African funk and some jazz. 


In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to? 

I don’t... Sing/listen to I mean. I obviously do shower.