Matthew Rainwaters was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, which is the part of Los Angeles nobody likes to talk about. He did a lot of skateboarding when he was younger, broke a lot of bones, and spent hours filming his friends. Making skate videos eventually brought him to still photography.
Once a veggie patty broke his nose in an epic food fight: in total he has broken 23 bones, spent more than a year on crutches, and has a metal plate holding the left side of his face together. He lived abroad for a very brief time and returned to California to work in a special effects studio that made monster movies. He graduated photo school at 23 and started teaching high school in Los Angeles a year later. He now lives in Austin and takes pictures for a living.
This work is from his series, Beardfolio, a collection of portraits he did during the World Beard and Mustache Championships in Alaska in 2009. The collection has just been published by Chronicle Books.
(All images via Matthew Rainwaters)