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Leonard Mattis Blog

The Bicameral Mind

June 3, 2017

Check out the first 1:27 of this video – a distinctly esoteric and significant cultural reference.

INTERVIEWER: ‘How much did you know going in? Were you told about that shift? Or is that something you found out over the course of the season, in reading a script, and said oh gosh I’m not who I thought I was’.

JEFFREY WRIGHT: ‘What’s interesting about the show is there was this big reveal, but if you look back at the previous episodes you’ll see these breadcrumbs that are now more fluorescent that were already there, but were just very subtle hints of where it was going’.

Extract from Westworld, Season 1 , Episode 10:

BERNARD: ‘Consciousness isn’t a journey upward, but a journey inward. Not a pyramid, but a maze. Every choice could bring you closer to the center or send you spiraling to the edges, to madness. Do you understand now, Dolores, what the center represents? Whose voice I’ve been wanting you to hear?”

Beyond the mind, beneath the philosophical and the scientific there is a stillness and a knowing – our true nature. Living in alignment with our true nature – our own unique voice – we harness our potential to make choices that lead to and bring forth a conscious and sustainable future. Disrupt the mind and we play a part in the greatest transformation our evolutionary timeline has seen, our state of being – our culture.

A realm of consciousness is available and necessary for our evolution; and how do we access it? Simple. We choose to.

M Global: The Truth About Climate Change

May 30, 2017

On a personal level, do you notice that when we cease giving our attention to certain experiences they simply fall away. As a result of surrendering to, or are no longer being in judgement of what is, the experience that we once held onto and labelled as good or bad transforms – it no longer serves its purpose.

I’m aware that what I’m suggesting here is highly complex and intergenerational, and some would say distinctly esoteric, but the only difference between our personal and collective manifestations is scale. Let’s use the concept of climate change as an example since it’s a big part of our current cultural narrative. Climate change is real because you make it real! The force to eliminate is a judgement that serves to reinforce the existence of the very thing we are judging, and in this case and many others, these experiences are brought into creation by the focus of the many; in consequence becoming a collective issue – a global issue.

In truth, a shift in human consciousness is all that’s required to support global or community change. When a collective shift in perception occurs and a sense of unity and oneness is known and lived, the result of that shift will become manifest within our physical reality – naturally and effortlessly.

The moment we stop trying to save the world, but instead save ourselves, is the moment the world around us will change.


May 29, 2017

As I crawled out of my tent this morning my attention was drawn to a nearby RV that had the word Umbra pasted on the side of it. Umbra is the latin word for shadow and relates to the inner most darkest part of a shadow, where light source is blocked by an occulding body. In astrology, an observer of the umbra experiences a total eclipse.

Such a beautiful analogy for living the path of truth – light source – with the occuluding body being representative of the mind, or shadow side, that can often obstruct our flow or the way forward in life. But as we become the observer of our shadow or darkest aspects of self, what we experience is a total eclipse – being the totality of life.

M Global: Disruption of Self

May 26, 2017

Entrepreneurs love to talk about disruption – innovations that uproot and change how we think, behave and do business. More often than not the focus is on displacing existing markets, industries or technologies.

But in the context of cultural evolution, and with culture not being a tangible product –  how do we disrupt and move beyond our societal and cultural limitations or issues, especially if it seems we continue to approach them from the same state of being; treating the symptoms rather than the source, the core cause – truth level.

In truth, the only disruption required to support global or community change is the disruption of self, or the conditioned mind.Beyond the mind, beneath the philosophical and the scientific there is a stillness and a knowing – our true nature. Living in alignment with our true nature we harness our potential to make choices that lead to and bring forth a conscious and sustainable future.

Disrupt the mind and we play a part in the greatest transformation our evolutionary timeline has seen, our state of being – our culture.

The Tempest

May 26, 2017

The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1610–11, and thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone.

‘Not a soul but felt a fever of the mad and played some tricks of desperation. All but mariners plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel, then all afire with me. The king’s son, Ferdinand, with hair up-staring – then, like reeds, not hair – was the first man that leaped, cried, ‘Hell is empty and all the devils are here’ – Ariel, Act 1, Scene 2.

M Global: The New Strategy Is No Strategy

May 23, 2017

From a personal and business standpoint the idea of confining myself to a linear plan no longer exists. My role is to create space – awareness creates space – to bring forth and nurture an environment conducive to growth and expansion; for myself and in turn others.

The new strategy is no strategy – a plan unfolds moment by moment; next steps are revealed, and patience is the pathway that leads to potential.

Check out this recent video from The Be Smart Club – ‘Living From The Overflow’ by Phill Nosworthy from Switch Inc.  A simple yet effective portrayal of the benefits of self-awareness and investing in yourself.

M Global: Purpose. What is it? And how do we ‘find’​ it?

May 22, 2017

Purpose. What is it? And how do we ‘find’ it?

I’m currently immersed in the worlds of entrepreneurialism and human potential, and the concept of purpose is a huge topic in both these spheres.

I’ve been to numerous workshops and seminars where the host instructs attendees to grab their note pads and write down their purpose or goals; business and personal. Guests then begin the process of searching for an answer and scribbling down their findings. I’m not suggesting you won’t find an answer in your mind; you will, but true purpose is like love – it finds you.

Now I’m certainly not marching along a path of undiscovered social theory here, but it seems we have reached a pinnacle point in our cultural narrative where more and more people are awakening to the fact that the past, present and future all exist in the one illusory moment.

And if the moment is all we have; surely true purpose lies here?

TRUTH IS BEAUTY000When we show up and offer our presence to life; strategy, planning or goal setting is no longer required. Life creates through you, a plan unfolds through you; moment-by-moment. By ‘allowing’ life to show up instead of controlling the ‘how’; we create space for all possibilities – potential – rather than moving forward with the minds limited idea of.

I love this quote from English poet Edward Bulwer-Lytton – ‘Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.’

True transformational change, whether personal or cultural will arise when we are living in alignment with our true nature, and can harness our ability to show up and embrace the present moment.


February 21, 2016


‘Every aspect of business and personal development is for the greater good, and serves a higher purpose’ – Leonard Mattis

I’ve just returned home from two weeks of intensive study which formed the first module of my Global Executive MBA. The module was ‘Leadership’, and the various styles of.

From military to musical, philosophical to totalitarian. Leadership is an extremely rich topic, and one that plays a significant role in our culture, past and present.

I’m currently in the process of writing my reflective essay, and thought I would share an insight that has dropped in deeper for me. The Cohort spent day five of the program at Randwick Army Barracks, where we were lectured by a number of high ranking officers (including the Chief of Army) on military leadership and hierarchical organisation.

My insight derives from an interest of mine that began a few years ago. The concept of duality, and the role it plays as part of the human experience. Can we fully understand certain aspects of life without knowing its opposite or shadow side? For instance, how could we come to know hot without cold, light without dark, poor without rich, peace without war and so forth.

I find with deeper insights, a nimiety of questions come to the surface: Does duality exist for us to experience ourselves fully? To experience all facets of who we are? In particular our physical senses. Does duality play a significant role in the foundation of the human experience, a game of which we choose how we want to play? A game set up to satisfy our basic desire to fix, improve or change? What would life be without these opposites and without them would there even be a game to play?

I have come to realise that in truth, there are no answers. But only questions, and more questions.

Photographer: Johnny Diaz Nicholaidis


December 14, 2015

IMG_4073 (2)‘The Dance Has Many Faces’ – Leonard Mattis

To capture the spark of creation that the hands pilfer from its creator.  To observe the beauty as well as the intricacy with which they become involved in their own creativeness.  Eloquent and silent, restless and in repose.

Words by Leonard Mattis. Photographed by Johnny Diaz Nicholaidis


November 11, 2015

Photographer Tony Mott.  Interview by Benjamen Judd.

Coinciding with the opening of his latest retrospective, What A Life! Rock Photography by Tony Mott, rock photographer Tony Mott has released his third book A-Z: Rock ‘n’ Roll Photography.

One of the most comprehensive collections of Mott’s work throughout the years, A-Z is “a monster book of just about everybody” he’s ever photographed.

For more than thirty years, Mott has been at the heart of the music scene’s maelstrom. Untold magazine covers, candid portraits, album art – Mott has captured the raw energy of the world’s most iconic performers as they themselves were lost in their moment.

A native of the UK, Mott came to Australia at the beginning of the 80s where he found work as a chef in The Gazebo Hotel, sitting at the fringe of Sydney’s Red Light district in Kings Cross. It was while working here that he found his calling, at the foot of a stage and during the early days of one of Australia’s greatest performers, Chrissy Amphlett.

Since then, Mott has worked with the likes of Midnight Oil, The Angels, Madonna, Sonic Youth, Marilyn Manson and Bjork – just a casual glance at Mott’s resume reads like an honour roll of music’s history.

To hear Tony speak of this era is to catch a glimmer of the energy that propelled it – the decadence, the raw talent and their determination to succeed. His fast-paced, only slightly accented voice carries you with him – it’s a frantic pace, but with all the enthusiasm of someone still very much passionate about what he does.



You came to Australia as a chef – where the did the photography career begin?

I was a huge music fan and a photography hobbyist, mainly because I had been travelling the world and capturing that, but I was also in love with black and white portraits so I got an art student friend to teach me basic black and white processing and printing. Then one night, I was in the Picadilly Hotel, and Chrissy Amphlett was on stage – this was long before they were really famous – and I was thinking “god, that must be really difficult to shoot with all those lights going on and off”. From there, I started practicing my photos on Chrissy Amphlett.

As muses go, you picked an amazing one.

Absolutely! And I wasn’t aware at the time that I was shooting the greatest female performer I have ever come across and that’s how I started.

90481765e8648572cc867f03ed0aa08d 3

What was it like to be in Sydney, working in Kings Cross, in the 80s?

In the early 80s, Sydney’s live music scene was unbelievably vibrant. You could go see a band seven nights a week in whatever suburb you wanted to. Every single suburb had gigs!

I guess, though, that it’s like everything in hindsight – you don’t realise how great it is at the time. Everyone was living, everyone was into music and the inner city particularly had this huge culture.

The Trade Music Club on Foveaux Street was somewhere that everyone naturally gravitated towards every Friday and Saturday night and you could see six different bands on three levels there and it was guaranteed packed every Friday and Saturday night.

At the time, I wasn’t wondering around going “oh god how lucky are we, this is fantastic!” but I look back on it now with exactly that emotion – my god, how lucky was I? It was a fantastic time and I just loved that culture.

During this time, also, street press started and it was revolutionary – no one else was doing it. Free music newspapers every week and every venue had it and it was like the bible of gig guides. I literally wandered into their offices early on and flaunted my services.

Back then, they didn’t pay much but that wasn’t the point – it was just a passion. I look back on it with huge affection but I really had no idea at the time just how special this period was. And this time, that scene, produced Australia’s greatest ever exports of live and recording artists and bands.

What do you think was happening at this time that really made Australian scene so alive in comparison to the UK and US?

I think a lot of the pubs in Australia at that time had these big beer barns off to the side. So landlords had this enormous amount of space they needed to use so it became that putting in a live rock and roll band was the thing to do. In the early days, this was why it was called Aussie pub rock. The Angels, Rose Tattoo – these all came out this time.

Funny story, The Cure came to Australia in 1981 and toured Sydney for three months and never played the same suburb twice. Robert Smith was quite demoralised when he first got here, saying “ergh are we doing a pub tour” but of course he had this image of English pubs with maybe 50 people in the corner. They performed at Selena’s in Coogee and they got 1600 people attending and at the time this was The Cures biggest ever gig …and they were playing at a pub.


(Chrissy Amphlett & Band, taken at the Bexley North Pub, typical of its time at the height of the Sydney pub live scene)

You’ve been in the industry for a long time – you must have seen some enormous changes to the way things operate in the industry?

That’s the other golden era! When the 80s arrived, MTV culture came out and the videos along with it. But the record companies didn’t get involved in the beginning, they basically said “oh look MTV sells records so we better make a video”. But all the directors were jumping at the chance and the imagination was just amazing.

But slowly but surely the clips now have become very clichéd and record companies have all got involved. But the early filmmakers were really just given this blank canvas and it was fantastic – it wasn’t necessarily with a big budget, it was just big imaginations.

My best friend, Paul Goldman, who started out in Melbourne, he did Elvis Costello’s “I Want To Be Loved” video and it’s literally just Elvis Costello in a photobooth with strangers kissing him on the cheek and it was shot on a budget of $500 – this still wins awards today!. But MTV really did change everything because people started to look at music instead of actually listening to it. I mean, the Spice Girls are a direct result of “looking at music”.

The other massive change was of course the digital age.

I was dragged into the digital age kicking and screaming. I stayed on film for a long time and the first time I shot on digital I had a sense of cheating because it was so easy. The problem after digital was that lots of people suddenly became photographers. And of course then there was the iPhone. But this isn’t a whinge – this is just the natural attrition of life, this is just how things happened. I have twins now who are four and a half years old and when they were born I took a year or so off so I could help look after them full time. When I went back there really was a vast change. I used to have 182 magazines on my books and of those 182 magazines, 160 of them didn’t exist. They had all gone online and people aren’t paying the same for the photos and with the record companies – there were once fifteen majors based in Sydney and now there are only three.

Music also used to have a huge left wing element to it, which is great. Bands like the Clash, Midnight Oil, Red Gum bands that were really pissed off with the world. I still cant believe that Tony Abbott didn’t produce a punk band that were angry and this is another thing that has changed.

midnight oil by tony mott20johnny rotten photo#AFA2E(Midnight Oil, Homebush, Sydney 1986 and Johnny Rotten, The Hordern, Sydney 1985)

You’ve worked with and met a huge spectrum of artists – has there been any particular band or sound that stands out as a favourite?

I shot everything that moved, there wasn’t a band or gig I wouldn’t shoot so I can’t really say I had a favourite – I really did shoot everything.

For example, I was on the road with Sonic Youth and I shot Sonic Youth’s EP Cover and that for me is the height of cool. Then, within 24 hours I was on the road with Michael Bolton. It doesn’t get much more contrasting than that. This didn’t bother me either, because it was all entertainment and it was always interesting seeing different things that might not be your cup of tea.

Music also used to have a huge left wing element to it, which is great. Bands like the Clash, Midnight Oil, Red Gum bands that were really pissed off with the world. I still cant believe that Tony Abbott didn’t produce a punk band that were angry and this is another thing that has changed.


(David Bowie)

Have you ever been surprised by the artists you have worked with?

Not really…but I always found it peculiar that heavy metal bands, these men all dressed in leather, were all quite shy. I had one band, I cant remember their name it might have been Iron Maiden or something and they were dressed up in their leathers but then they were all saying “oooh no I don’t want to go outside, what if someone sees us?” There was a lot of bravado going on.

Also, you always find that people who have bad reputations aren’t like that at all. I worked with Prince and he was an absolutely normal and pleasant chap; Marilyn Manson couldn’t have been more articulate and pleasant and dare I say a gentleman. A lot of them are thespians and what you see is a performance.

Lastly, what do you think makes a great photograph?

The thing about capturing something live is that it is all about that split moment and getting a performance when all the elements are in place.

For a portrait, it’s a different kettle of fish. Its easier to take a photo but harder to capture their essence. I go into every photo session and try to do my very best and the ones that work – they just work.


(Mick Jagger, SYS, Sydney 1985)

Leonard Mattis Studio presents, A-Z: Rock ‘n’ Roll Photography

LAUNCH NIGHT: Friday 20th November, 6-10pm

The studio will be transformed for a live four hour experience, with art installations and performances by:
– Lexi Land
– Matt Format
– DJ Suzie Q (Longrain)
– Simon Rosa (Musician/Guitarist)
– Matthew Gode Matthew (Choreographer)
– Erica Stubbs, Ashleigh Tavares, Shivawn Joubert (Dancers)

Please forward your rsvp to

EXHIBITION: Saturday 21st November, 11am-5pm

A selection of prints will be on display, with a live stream of music from the launch night providing an aural backdrop for the visuals. Tony will be presenting and story telling from 3-4pm.

Signed limited edition copies of the book will be available for purchase on both days.

Proudly sponsored by Two Birds Brewing and Grandeur Wellington