As the Hammer's social media manager, I have the pleasure of scrolling through hundreds of visitor photos each week. I love seeing what artworks and spaces people are most drawn to. But the photos that tend to stand out to me the most are those that capture the lesser-explored areas of the museum.
I quickly began to notice one particular Instagram account pop up in our feeds fairly often, so I decided to investigate. To my surprise, I found out that this account belonged to one of our security officers, Matt Hutchinson. Matt often takes photos around the museum, but not of what you might expect. His random—often playful—sightings capture a different side of the Hammer. I decided to chat with Matt to learn more about what inspires him.
What is your title, and how long have you been working at the Hammer Museum?
I started working at the Hammer in 1996 as a Gallery Attendant. My current title is Security Officer.
What is a typical day at the Hammer for you?
Our department is on-site 24/7. We spend half our shifts working in the Security Operations Center, monitoring cameras, alarm systems, and radio traffic. We dispatch available Officers or Supervisors to respond to any call for assistance or notice of incident. We write a lot of reports and emails. We then rotate to patrol the museum. We make frequent checks of the temperature and humidity levels in the galleries and art storage areas. We respond to assist visitors and employees in any way we can. Basically, a lot of walking, watching, and writing.
What inspired you to start taking pictures around the museum?
I guess I have an impulse to make images. I’m not consciously choosing the museum as a subject. It’s a compulsion wherever I am. Before cellphones, I would always have a camera with me.
What inspires you to capture these—some might say, mundane—things about the museum?
When I was a little kid I loved to go beach combing with my Grandpa. We would pick up bits of worn plastic, sea glass, shells, and drift wood. I think I’ve carried those early experiences into my ideas about making photos.
Tags: social media, instagram, staff