The Dish with Prolific Photo Deputies Matt Grigsby & Armando Mejorado

Matt Grigsby

Armando Mejorado

I’m so excited to blow the dust of The Dish, a former popular feature here at that I ditched after a rather shattering Dish experience.

Today, I dish with two of my favorite people, Matt Grigsby and Armando Mejorado. They’re not affiliated with one another, but what they have in common (other than they’re both talented and handsome) is that they’re probably best-known here on as the most uber-prolific of our Photo Cafe deputies.

Welcome, Armando and Matt!

Doni: Matt and Armando, I’ve not counted, but how many photos have you each published on since its birth last winter?

Matt: Thanks for the Dish Doni!  I think I’m at 177 photos now, at least one pic a day since the Photo Cafe opened.  It’s my goal to never miss a day and I haven’t so far!

Armando: I’d like to start by saying thank you, Doni, for asking us to be a part of the Dish. If my count is right I have posted 73 posts, with multiple photos in some. I see this is going to be fun. Let’s dish it out!

Doni: Wow. That’s a lot of photos! I think I’ve only done a dozen, if even. Let me ask you both: What do you look for in Photo Cafe-worthy submissions?

Armando: That is a lot pf photos, and this is just myself and Matt. What I look for in a photo is something that people will pass by without thinking twice about it, like the inside of a flower or a young gentleman struggling on the streets.

Matt:  I try to look closely at things I see everyday, and I’ve noticed that there’s beauty everywhere.  Fire hydrants can be as interesting as sunflowers.

Doni: Well, your photographs certainly reflect your individual philosophies. But if you were to describe a theme of sorts in your work, what would it be?

Matt:  I’m fascinated by light.  Shadows, natural light, filtered light, reflections, color shifts, on and on.

Armando: For me it would have to be “micro nature” capturing the colors and small things that make the large landscapes that are happening  in nature. Plus, trying to  show readers that sometimes you just have to slow down, stop and see what’s really around us.

Doni: Has being a Photo Cafe deputy caused either of you to look at the world any differently?

Armando: I don’t know about Matt, but for me I find myself  looking at everything … sometimes lying on the ground, climbing up a tree, or looking out the car window, just to see if I can find an interesting angle to shoot my next photo. So for me it’s a big yes.

Matt: I agree, I absolutely look at the world with a more focused eye.  I’m amazed how many things get missed when we don’t look closely.

Doni: Well, you both have caused us to see those things we may have missed. What’s your photography experience, other than here on

Matt:  I’ve always been interested in photography, and how much can be done with the simplest equipment. The best part of owning an iPhone is having a camera always at hand.

Armando: Doni, you’ve known me for awhile, and so have many of your readers here on, but for those who don’t, being an artist I’m always using photography in my creative process. When creating art I can shoot a photo of something and use it as reference later on in my work.

Doni: You knew I’d ask, but if you had to pick your top five photos, what would they be, and why?

Armando: With so many that’s a tricky one, but here they are, in random order:

1) “Rise and Shine”  because it was my first outing after being in the hospital, and it was great to see blue water and blue skies.

2) “Nature’s color palette”  – because being an artist I just love color.

3) “Goat Heart Wizard”.  I enjoyed meeting this street artist because of his passion and stories behind  his work.

4) ” Farm Silos”. The beauty between nature and the hardness of all the industrial metal reaching for the sky makes this photo a bit surreal  for me, and it’s why it’s one of my favorites.

5) Last but not least –  “Redding Sunset on the Sacramento River” made one of my top five because if I hadn’t been the one to take the photo I think I would have thought it was Photo Shopped. The colors were that amazing.

OK that was tricky to pick my top five but there you have it.

Doni: Thanks, Armando. I love those, too, especially Farm Silos. And I’m so glad you’re out of the hospital and doing well.

OK, Matt, your turn.

Matt:  This is tough, I love all of my photo babies!

1) “Rest Stop Sunset Along I-5”.  I loved the contrast of the ugly with the beautiful, and I think the perfect light somehow made that dumpster look beautiful in its own way.

2) “Waiting in the cold.”  I took this on a cold and wet night in Red Bluff as I walked back to my car.  I could write a dozen short stories just about this photo.

3) “Sunrise shadows on the AT&T building.”  Waiting at the stoplight on Placer and Pine Street one morning, I was in the right spot at the right time to see that canvas.  The shadows look painted on the building.  I wish they were, actually.

4) “Sunset Train.” If you’ve lived in Redding longer than a week, you’ve spent some time sitting at a railroad crossing.  I loved the flashes of sunlight between the cars, and snapped a pic at just the right moment.

5) “Lady Lorenz reflected on the wet street.”  I noticed this reflection as I walked back to my office, and when I rotated the photo I fell in love with how it looked like a memory of a building.

Doni: Wow. Not to be repetitious, but you selected some of my favorites of your work, too.

OK, Matt and Armando, I’ll tell you some of my favorites from each of your posts that I selected before I even asked you to pick yours.

Armando, I especially liked your A Closer Look, because it’s a good example of your floral shots.

And then you started doing a trio of photos (which I don’t even know how to do … how DO you do that?). But it’s especially cool when a series shows something like humming birds in Freeze Frame.

I absolutely loved the mood of the Moon.

And the Color Palette showed off your fish in another trio of pix.

Cotton Candy in the Sky offered a dreamy look at clouds.

Finally, I can’t help but notice you and your camera have been in the wrong place at the right time a couple of times, such as where there’s police action. So far, I think you and I are the only ones to post law enforcement photos.

Related to that, you’ve also chronicled some unfortunate situations, like the theft of the Caldwell Park sculptures, with these photos that show what’s missing.

OK, now Matt. First, you really capture West Redding and the downtown area well in a way I’ve not seen before.  I loved your West Redding photo, which is achingly beautiful.

And I am in love with your Lady Lorenz Reflected on the Wet Street, which you also mentioned.

But the Gray Day Palm Trees  is extremely emotive, too.

Along with the great photos, I notice you have a talent for headline writing, too, which is a whole different skill set.

For example, Redding’s Tiniest Lawn cracked me up, and gave me a glimpse into how you see the world.

Oh, and the Spatula Party. Just silly, but artistic, too. Great use of color and repetition.

Your humor comes through loud and clear in your photos.

But you do serious, moving photos, too.

Oh my gosh! Joe is going to kill us when he sees how many photos he wants us to post. We better stop with the photo examples. But there are so many good ones. Can’t stop! Must stop.

Matt:  Well, we can’t talk about photos without showing them, right?  Do you think that will ease Joe’s pain?

Armando: Matt and Doni, we had the easy part; picking our favorites Now Joe has to hunt and post the photos we picked. Sorry, Joe.

Joe: That’s OK, I’m starting to have fun posting pictures!

Giant Mojito.

Doni: Joe! Very funny! How did THAT photo get in here? I guess we deserve that.

OK, Matt and Armando, tell the truth. Is there an unspoken, good-natured competition between you two going on here, or is it just my imagination?

Armando: I must say I am a competive person at almost everything I do. But on a Photo Cafe I like to think that Matt and I have two different eyes that see differently through a lense. But I should say that I will soon start to post some photos that will evoke a mixture of emotions.

Matt:  I’m not really a competitive guy, and I think Armando’s right that we do have different perspectives on things, which suits the site well.  Hopefully the variety is interesting to the readers.

Doni: As you each consider the photos you’ve submitted to the Photo Cafe, what conclusions do you think people who don’t know you might draw about you?

Matt: I think the mix of goofy and serious photos might give people a pretty good idea of who I am.  I am easily amused but also easily moved by a perfect moment.

Armando: I like to think that people will take away from my photos that I’m an interesting person trying to find beauty in everything, even when it seems that there is none.

Doni: Beautifully said, gentlemen. Departing from the topic of photography for a second, when you’re not taking photos for the Photo Cafe, how do you spend the rest of your time?

Armando: For the most part I always have my camera with me. But when I’m not shooting photos for the Photo Cafe , I spend my time creating art, spending time with my partner, having fun with friends and thinking of what will be my next over-the-top project. Oh, and being crazy with my 7-pound weenie dog, King Louis.

Matt:  I love to travel, and I don’t get to Italy as often as I would like, but I also enjoy hanging out with my partner Chris, my family and my friends.  And I am an absolute fiend for thrift shops.  I should have my own parking space at Goodwill.

Doni: Both of your answers made me smile, because you’ve perfectly described yourselves. Now, as we wrap this up, what else would you like readers to know about you?

Matt:  That my devastating good looks are matched only by my charm and wit.  Oh, and that I’m a good guy with a good sense of humor and an upbeat attitude.

Armando: That I’m always trying enjoy life, even when life “dishes” me some sour lemons. And what I don’t want your readers to know about me is that I’m realy an OC artist, but that my E-true Hollywood story will be juicy :-).

Doni: Thank you, Matt and Armando, for sharing so many interesting photos with us on, but most of all, for always sharing yourselves and your way of seeing the world with us.

Whenever I open’s home page, the first thing I do (after I make sure the lead story is up) is to look at the Photo Cafe and see what’s published. Nine times out of 10 it’s one of your shots. So, thank you! OK, go out and find us another great photograph.

Thank you! I appreciate and adore you both!

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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19 Responses

  1. Avatar Sunny says:

    What a fantastic article. I loved seeing two perspectives of two very different photographers. Makes me want to take more pictures myself just seeing some of those beautiful pictures of regular things. I check Photo Cafe every day, and now it's better knowing more about the people who take the pictures. Thanks for the article! I loved it!

  2. Avatar `AJacoby says:

    EXCELLENT JOB ALL THE WAY AROUND . . . but then, that kind of quality is to be expected at anewscafe. Asking anyone for a favorite work of art is like asking a parent to designate a favorite child. But secretly (shhhh, don't tell the other children) that shot of west Redding almost looks like a painting.

    thanks to all three of you . . . .

  3. Avatar Debbie says:

    I can be so focused on tasks that I forget the beauty and humanity around me. Thanks for reminding me to look up and enjoy!

  4. Avatar John says:

    Doni, thanks for the great Dish! I'm a big fan of their photos and look forward to checking the website each day for what's new. Having grown up in downtown Redding, I have to say that Matt catches places and things I've seen over and over, but never noticed or appreciated. Armando's artistic abilities definitely come through in his photos. Both are great photographers and thanks for letting them have airtime on!

  5. Avatar `AJacoby says:

    So, I was in a hurry this morning. After logging back on this site, I remembered I wanted to comment on the moon through Armando's "trees". Simply stunning. And cotton Candy Clouds looks a like it could be a panel out of a Maxwell Parrish work. Then there's the shadows on the telephone building . . . . like I said, it's like trying to pick a favorite child!!!

    BTW, Armando, would you please petition CALTrans to install a pull-out on I-5 by your house so we can all look t your artistic trees without being a traffic hazzard. I especially like driving guests up there when you have them decorated and lit at night.

  6. Avatar Dawn says:

    A very good article, I enjoyed getting to understand what makes a photographer work. I love the pictures and I would have to say all of them are the ones I love the most.

    This article was very interesting and I hope you have many more.

  7. Avatar Canda says:

    I'm all for a reset of The Dish! It was fun to get a peek inside the creative heads of Matt and Armando. Such great photos from both guys, and I enjoyed knowing which ones were their favorites. I remember laughing out loud at the Muffin Man! Love the giant Mojito, Joe!

  8. Avatar Jefferson says:

    This was fun to read. What talent! The world is a very interesting place, even among the ordinary. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Candace Brown Candace Brown says:

    Loved this. Beautiful shots, guys — thanks for sharing your perspectives.

  10. Avatar Ginny says:

    Doni, glad you have put the old "Dish" behind you once and for all. Now you have brought it back this Dish better, much better than ever!

    Good job. Love the photos, also.

  11. Avatar Joanne Snyder says:

    I love the casual "visit among neighbors" feeling of The Dish.

    What a treat to "hear" from true photographers about what they want from their art.

    I love the photo café and I love that I'm a deputy "photographer" even though I'm still just a "picture taker". Doni, for me this has been a great experience to share a small part the amazing things I see in my life.

    Great article!

    • Joanne, I love your photos, too. I consider all the deputies photographers, not just picture-takers.

      I am delighted when any of the Photo Cafe deputies post a photo, sharing their personalities and locations.

  12. I'm a big fan of the photos…thanks for posting the favorites. I hadn't seen some of them and they are awesome! I love Armando's flower close-ups and I love the textures of Matt's gritty street scenes.

  13. Avatar Alan Ernesto Phillip says:

    Nowhere else but at A News Cafe can we be given such unique and entertaining perspectives and quality! Great work Armando & Matt!!

  14. Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

    I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone for all the nice things everyone has said! Working on this project is a lot of fun and Doni's done a fantastic job of bringing so many different perspectives together under one "roof."

  15. Avatar Sally says:

    I don't know Matt except from his wonderful photos, but I do know Armando. I am in awe of all the artistic triumphs he has given this community including Fantasy Fountain, spearheading this year's Koi and Water Garden Club Pond Tour, his sculptured trees visible from I-5 and each year he and partner Gary open their extraordinary decorated home to a non-profit group as a fundraiser. Our area is blessed to have such s gracious and talented man.

  16. Just need to jump in here and say thank you all for all the wonderful comments. I'll keep them photos coming 🙂

    thanks again


  17. Avatar poppy says:

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