Washington DC Photographer
Matt Mendelsohn is a photographer and writer from Arlington, Virginia. His work documenting high school seniors during the pandemic has received national acclaim and been featured in local and national news outlets including the CBS Evening News, The Today Show, ABC News, The Washington Post, NBC News 4, WUSA 9 and Arlington Magazine.
Entitled, Not Forgotten: The Yorktown Seniors of 2020, the idea came to Mendelsohn in the middle of the night. “Earlier in the day my daughter had tried on her Spring Fling dress and gone outside. I went into the street and took a few pictures and I felt sad for her. It’s crushing, all these rites of passages lost for these kids. Later on, I was lying in bed and scrolling through these endless Facebook posts of people sharing their high school yearbook photos to honor the Class of 2020.”
After that, the concept started to take form. Why not honor this year’s seniors by actually capturing them? “The next morning I emailed my neighbor, who knows everybody, and she reached out to five senior parents. That’s how we got the ball rolling.”
After a career at United Press International and USA Today, he now is the founder of Matt Mendelsohn Creative. When he's not shooting, Matt writes humor pieces for publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post.
Matt's been a photographer for 30 years, though his passion for photography started long before even then. Back in Mattlin Junior High School, in Plainview, New York, Matt vividly remembers seeing an image come up on a piece of paper floating in a tray of liquid. The rest, as they say, is history.
Taking far too many pictures and accumulating far too few academic credits, Matt shot his way through his college years at the State University of New York in Binghamton, in the early Eighties. Though he received a B.A. in English Literature, Matt was known around school as the guy with the camera. (Well, he was also known for setting a SUNY-B record for failing Chaucer four consecutive times, but transcript privacy laws prevent us from discussing that matter.)
Matt began his career at the Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin. He quickly moved on to USA Today, the nation's newspaper, for what was supposed to be a five-month stint. But Matt stuck around Washington, D.C., becoming a photo editor and photographer at United Press International, a wire service as famous for constantly going out of business than for, well, being a famous wire service.
During his time at UPI, Matt covered the White House, the Gulf War, the invasion of Panama, and countless professional sporting events. In 1990, he moved to California to take over the Los Angeles bureau. While in Los Angeles, Matt covered the Rodney King beating trial, the Academy Awards and far too many USC football games. In fact, he sometimes hears the school's march in his nightmares.
Matt became the photo editor of the news section of USA Today and eventually the director of photography at USA Weekend, a Sunday magazine with a circulation of 27 million weekly.
Outside of the news business, Matt is known as one of the hardest working wedding and portrait photographers in the country. Photo District News included Matt in its "15 hottest wedding portfolios in America" issue and Washingtonian Magazine described his portraits as "a breed apart."