Former Councillor Looking at Chelsea through a New Lens

For eight years, Matt Frank was an eloquent and forceful advocate for the residents of District 3 as their city councillor. His colleagues honored his dedication and excellent leadership by electing him to one-year terms as president and vice president of the City Council.

Frank was a champion for Chelsea. He was accessible to his constituents, represented himself and the Council professionally at social events, and truly enjoyed his vital role as a councillor.

Frank, 39, is now expressing himself and his love of Chelsea through his photographs, the creativity and imagination of which have  caught the eye of local residents.

A professional photographer, Frank is showcasing 12 images at an exhibit at the Chelsea City Hall Gallery titled, Chelsea Perseverance: A Year in Photos.

Frank’s twelve photos capture Chelsea people and scenes during the past twelve months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Instead of a sad scene, the photos depict a happy scene – it’s the people of Chelsea persevering through hard times, people basically having a good time while they’re chipping in to help other people,” said Frank, a 2005 graduate of Salem State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Constitutional History.

The reaction to Frank’s artistry has been very positive from people who have seen his exhibit in person and those individuals who appear in his photos. One powerful photo in the exhibit features City Council Vice President Judith Garcia as the New England Patriots’ truck delivers supplies to Chelsea residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know Matt was highlighting a lot of folks in the community who were serving during a dire time and I’m so excited to be a part of the photo exhibit,” said Garcia. “It’s been nice to see his work and his artistic side throughout these months, so I’m incredibly proud of him and the work that he’s doing. His photographs are always amazing.”

GreenRoots Executive Director Roseann Bongiovanni and Associate Executive Director Marie Belen Power appear in a silhouetted photo that is featured on the exhibit poster. It was taken at sunset during the organization’s socially distanced community mural painting event last September.

Bongiovanni, who served on the Council with Frank, said concisely, “Matt’s fabulous. His photography is just stellar. It’s spectacular and it continues to get better and better over time. One of his photographs [of Chelsea Creek] was just featured in Newsweek so he’s making a name for himself.”

Bongiovanni also admires Frank’s generous spirit toward Chelsea.

“Matt is at all of the community events snapping pictures and he does this out of the goodness of his heart,” said Bongiovanni. “So much of his work is donated and given back to the community. I use his photographs quite a lot when I make presentations. He just has so many good photographs from different community events and meetings.”

While he’s becoming well known for his own unique perspectives through his camera, Frank greatly admires the work of other distinguished professionals in the field such as Chelsea photographer Darlene DeVita.

“She’s amazing,” said Frank. “She works on a completely different level from me. So if we’re talking professionalism, she’s on a completely different platform. She and her husband are the most amazing people. She’s been so supportive of my work. She’s wonderful.”

Frank is currently working at the Chelsea Housing Authority as supportive services manager.

“I enjoy doing my bureaucratic work,” said Frank, adding that he will not be returning to the political arena as a candidate for office.

But his eye will still be on the city.

Frank began more seriously focusing on his previous hobby of photography three years ago.

“I had always been interested in photography but I always kind of the producer at events setting the scene and suggesting to people what photos were needed,” said Frank. “A couple of years ago I decided I needed something to relieve stress. I had some extra money and bought a more expensive camera – and people liked my photos and began buying them.”

Frank also licenses his images for business websites, billboards, and real estate firms. His company is called Matt Frank Photography.

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