On March 12, 2015

Local photographer loses “eye” for photography after serious fall

By Laurence Matson

1st: Laurence Matson.  2nd: “Kangaroo Mouse with Broken Leg”: This is Laurence’s most popular photo, as calculated by the number of hits it has received on his online gallery (50,000+ in 2010). We think it’s a good metaphor for Laurence’s current situation!  3rd: “A VSPB I”: Owl face, front angle, taken in Köln, Germany.

Family launches successful fundraising effort that garners national attention

HARTLAND—Local Hartland photographer, translator and equestrian farmer Laurence Matson suffered a serious accident on Nov. 6, 2014, in which he sustained 21 fractures and a traumatic brain injury. Matson’s injuries were the result of a bad fall in his barn at Appledore Farm in Hartland. A severe concussion and hemorrhage damaged the language and imaging centers of his brain.

Before the accident, Matson made his living as a free-lance translator and photographer while also working on the farm. Matson was regarded as one of the better translators in Switzerland, where he had lived for almost 40 years. He moved to Vermont in 2008. One of his earliest translations was of Christmas stories by Selma Lagerlöf, the Swedish author of “The Wonderful Adventures of Nils” and the first woman (and Swede) to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Before the accident, Matson had planned to read the stories at Rochester and in Hartland this past Christmas.

Now he often struggles to find simple words.

Matson has also been a photographer for approximately 60 years and has served as a mentor to many photographers. San Francisco-based action sports photographer Chuck Lantz, whose work has been widely published by news agencies and major sports websites, said of Matson, “You’d have a difficult time finding a nicer, more helpful guy. He’s assisted me with my photography and Sigma gear issues numerous times . . . he’s helped countless–and often clueless (me)–Sigma users over the years with issues large and small, and with answers long and short . . . some of his best answers were of the one-word variety. Often hilarious, too.”

A master printer in Switzerland, Matson was the first Epson digigrapheur in the U.S., a well-regarded film and digital photographer, and a prominent adviser in that industry. Now he describes losing his “eye” for photography as a result of the accident. His awareness of these new challenges has caused further distress.

Matson’s photo gallery can be viewed at www.pbase.com/lmatson.

The Laurence Matson Recovery Fund

On Feb. 16, Matson’s niece and nephew, Erin and Cole Matson, launched a crowd-funding campaign through Indiegogo Life to raise the $107,000 needed to pay off bills, continue mortgage payments, and ready the farm property for sale. The campaign raised $5,854 in its first day. On the second day of the campaign, Indiegogo Life featured the campaign on its homepage as the website’s most active medical fundraiser. Over the first 17 days, 75 donors contributed an average of $133 each to bring the campaign total to $10,004. The rest, $96,996, remains to be raised during the last two weeks of the campaign, which ends on March 18. It is hoped that the sale of Matson’s photographs and donated Sigma cameras and equipment will put the fund over the top.

Anyone interested in learning more about Appledore Farm or in purchasing any of Matson’s photographs is asked to contact his nephew Cole Matson at ccematson@gmail.com. In addition, two of Matson’s photographer friends are donating Sigma cameras and related equipment in order to raise money for the Recovery Fund. Photography bundles are available with free shipping within the continental U.S. to the first person to make a documented $199.99 donation to the Laurence Matson Recovery Fund. Please contact Cole Matson before making the qualifying donation, in order to ensure that the camera is still available.

Readers can view and donate to the campaign at: https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/laurence-matson-recovery-fund.

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