Portrait Courtesy of Randall Scott

Portrait Courtesy of Randall Scott


Matthew Cicanese (sick-uh-neez) is a National Geographic Explorer, Documentary Artist, and Emerging League Photographer with the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). His work examines small organisms, threatened and protected ecosystems, and human interactions with the environment. Matthew explores the intersection of art, science, and the visceral response of wonder that nature triggers in humans. He often combines gigapixel macro images, soundscapes, and 360-degree spherical panoramas to create immersive and interactive experiences for his viewers. Much of his work is inspired by his various sensory challenges growing up as a deaf-blind survivor of penicillin-resistant pneumococcal meningitis at the age of only 9 months.

Matthew’s work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at the Royal Geographical Society (London), Light Grey Art Lab (Minneapolis, MN), Power Plant Gallery (Durham, NC), Mahato Memorial Gallery (Durham, NC), Louise Jones Brown Gallery (Durham, NC), and the Melvin Art Gallery (Lakeland, FL), and more. Commissioned photography projects for his work have included specimen digitization for the Duke Lichen Laboratory, documentation of the endangered Red Cockaded Woodpecker in Central Florida, and recording of bottlenose dolphin populations off Florida’s Sarasota Bay.

Reviews and articles including his work have appeared in BBC Earth, New Scientist Magazine, Nikon Photo Independent, and more. He was recently awarded a National Geographic Young Explorer Grant, as well as an Art Residency with the Light Grey Art Lab in Iceland. His speaking engagements have taken place in private and public settings with audiences from 20 to 2,000 -- including venues such as National Geographic Headquarters (Washington DC), Canon’s Experience Center (Costa Mesa, CA), Duke University (Durham, NC), Florida Southern College (Lakeland, FL), and more. 

He lives and works in the Tampa Bay Area, FL in his small hometown where he grew up. When he’s not on assignment around the world, he enjoys his town’s local festivals and outdoor recreation areas.

Click here to learn about how Matthew survived meningitis as a baby and how that lead to him becoming a photographer at 14.