Follow the Light Night

New York-based photographer Matthew Clark was announced as the recipient of this year’s ${{{5000}}} Follow the Light Foundation grant last night at a dinner and ceremony held at the Surfing Heritage Museum in San Clemente. “I’m just a guy who loves to take lineups and pictures of my friends surfing…in the snow,” said the 23-year-old from Merrick, New York. “I’m blown away and overwhelmed with gratitude for the honor.”

You need to upgrade your Flash Player

Clark, who will spend the grant on an upcoming film and photo project on the East Coast, got the nod over four other very deserving finalists: Todd Glaser, Branden Aroyan, Nikki Brooks and Tasmania’s Stuart Gibson. “I was very impressed by the applicants’ body of work this year,” said legendary photographer and committee member Aaron Chang. “But a couple things stood out to me about Matthew’s work. One, he’s a surf photographer from New York which is rare enough in itself. Two, he’s gifted with a great sense of composition and — in the words of Flame — he makes moments happen.”

Two years ago, when iconic SURFING Magazine photo editor Larry “Flame” Moore succumbed to a brain tumor, his friends and loved ones started a foundation — the Follow the Light Foundation — that would help give young photographers the jump start they need to pursue their dreams. It was what Flame was famous for in life, and that tradition carries on after his death with the Follow the Light Foundation.

During last night’s ceremony, the 2006 FTL recipient, Chris Burkard, showed the {{{100}}} people on hand the fruits of his grant — a striking range of imagery from his 50-day trip spanning the entire coast of California. “It was the most amazing and inspiring experience of my life,” he said. “And Follow the Light helped make it possible.”

Congratulations to Clark, Burkard and all the other talented young photographers who submitted their work. As Flame would say, “keep ’em sharp and keep ’em bright.”

(SURFING Magazine would like to thank everyone involved who worked so hard to make this event happen: committee members Aaron Chang, Ross Garrett, Celeste Moureaux, Bob and Jeff Hurley, Lindsay Blue, the Surfing Heritage Foundation Photo Committee, Candace and Colin Moore and Associate Photo Editor Sammy Olson. For more on the Follow the Light Foundation, go to