Neal Matthews

Neal Matthews is a former Navy diver and parachute rigger who studied photojournalism and filmmaking at San Diego State University, then worked for ten years at the Reader. He moved on to be a contributing editor for New West/California Magazine, Boating, Travel Holiday, and Popular Photography. He has also written for the New York Times.

Matthews has worked on stories and shot photographs in about 20 countries plus Antarctica, and has won many journalism awards. He is married and currently lives and writes in San Diego, California, where he continues practicing underwater photography, a passion he developed in the Navy. His website is nealmatthews.com.

Latest Articles

When Duke Was King

In the air over Vietnam.

Randy Cunningham taxied the F-4 Phantom onto the catapult aboard the USS Constellation, and both he and Bill Driscoll, the radar intercept officer in the back seat, turned to look at the spinning fingers of ...

Notes from Underground

An incendiary history of San Diego's counterculture press.

It's time we said it loud and clear: San Diego is the armpit of the world. This town is middle class, stupid, mediocre, and boring. It is plastic, sterile, unhip, and sexually repressed; it is ...

Bay of Dreams: Pirates, Dolphin Races, Volcanoes, and See-Through Blouses

“If we knew then what we know now, we’d have done Fiesta Island a little differently,” Earnest reflects. “We would have mixed the west bay sand with the east bay muck to fill Fiesta Island.”

Mr. San Diego, part two

The Decline of a Western Tycoon

Kroc got on the phone and in a very high-pitched voice he said, “Mommy, I bought us a baseball team today.” There was a long silence, but I imagine what she said to him.

Mr. San Diego: Born With the Century

The man who built this city is rocking but still rolling at 93.

I don’t know why we expanded like this. I guess I’m a damn fool and like to work and create things. We had to have jobs, industry. San Diego wasn’t like Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Steel.

The Tree That Saw Tomorrow

The Moreton fig at Grape and Third

Years of drought and neglect led to a stunting of the tree’s growth as the thirsty roots searched beneath the asphalt parking lot for water. Vandals have defaced its intricate trunk with carved initials.

Offally Healthy

If San Diego is eventually forced to build a multi-billion-dollar secondary sewage treatment system, the legal mandate for such an undertaking will be found in Federal Judge Paudi Brewster’s ruling on March 28. After an ...

San Diegans Who Were Famous for a Very Short Time

Fame is like a river....

When he appeared on the Johnny Carson show, he looked somewhat dazed; a month later, feeling both exploited and misunderstood, he was angry at the press. Today he and his wife Katie own a Point Loma kayaking store

The Hale Blinks

“One year Jesse and I were working on something we thought was a white dwarf. It was listed in all the white dwarf catalogues. I got a spectrum on it and realized it was a quasar.”

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