El Matador State Beach


Hidden away in Malibu, not visible from the Pacific Coast Highway lays a secret treasure. A silently famous beach is known by amateur and professional photographers alike as being THE place for beach shoots. The dreamy scenery and jagged rock formations make for stunning photos of swimsuit edition models and unforgettable movie scenes…

As a Santa Monica native, living less than 20 blocks from the beach for 20 years, going to the beach was always less of an event than a cliche. So when a friend told me about a beautiful wonder of a beach in Malibu, I was ready for a new beach scene. He told me there weren’t any tourist beach crowds, no lifeguards, and no high-pitched voice creeper trying to sell you “big sticks! popsicles! ice cream sandwiches!” in your bikini. I was told to expect beautiful seascapes and one guy who tans in the nude (but he’s harmless, he covers up when you come around the bend)

As soon as we pulled up, I was in photo heaven. Diana+ and me went straight to work capturing as many of those breathtaking scenes as we could, but 6 rolls of film was not enough. I had heard that this was a very popular spot for swimsuit magazine photos, nude photos, movie scenes… and indeed, on my first trip there I encountered a completely nude woman posing inside a little rock tunnel. The tide, unfortunately, was on the move and I didn’t want to shred my feet trying to wade around. The next time I would come, I would get to explore all the little caves and tunnels sans nudity.

But I digress from the beach’s natural beauty: lone spiky monoliths stand like guardians to the ocean, reeds and stringy seaweed blow in the gentle wind while water drip, drips from the top of the bluff. Turn the corner and you find yourself in an echoing cave, rough walls and smooth sand, and then you have to crawl into the little hole on the right to escape into yet another stretch of fantasy.

Remember where one summer Sandy meets greaser Danny Zuko and they fall in love? (look! she’s taking an analogue photo of her summertime beau at El Matador!)
Or the Mexican sunset in the end of “True Romance” (dir. by Tony Scott)?
My personal guilty favorite, Noah and Allie igniting their lifelong love for each other on the beach in “The Notebook”?

Now grab your gear and have yourself a happily ever after, Technicolor, Lomography kind-of-day!!!!


written by erikamentari on 2010-07-27 #places #movies #location #malibu #beach #seascape #nudity #rock-formations #photoshoots #travel-destination


  1. erikamentari
    erikamentari ·

    UPDATE! I'm almost positive that "the shore of subconscious" in the movie Inception (dir. Christopher Nolan) are actually the shores of El Matador State Beach....can anyone back that up for me?

  2. eatcpcks
    eatcpcks ·

    Nice beach!

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