At best, I would consider myself an incidental artist. My intention was never to create works or to build a portfolio.

From 2007 to 2009, I lived in Kazakhstan, Central Asia, serving in the Peace Corps, teaching English in a village of 1500 people. I missed my family and friends dearly.

Telling stories and taking photographs were my only ways of sharing the experience with family and friends, of allowing them to join me and see where I was physically and emotionally. So they got to know my friends and my students, my frustrations and my joys. In this way we were able to get through two long years of separation, together.

And so I developed my work and honed my writing skills. My writing and my photography have always functioned to bring my audience to where I am, and to allow me to feel a little closer to my audience, regardless of how far they are from me geographically.

The ‘work’ which I present has never been created for public consumption. And I suppose that’s the key – the work remains an intimate story between myself and someone whom I love. And I’d be happy to share with you.

Visit for some context to the photographs.


Matthew can be contacted at mdegraber[at]gmail[dot]com.