Shortly after Matt Cranford graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2000 with a degree in biochemistry, he launched macra, inc., his own pharmaceutical consulting business. While he continues consulting under that name today, macra has evolved into much, much more.
Macrafly came into being shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. On that fateful morning, Matt was on a flight from Kansas City to Charlotte, N.C ., to resume a consulting assignment when all planes flying over United States air space were ordered to land at the nearest airport. While spending the next few days in Memphis, Tenn., the word “fly” stuck in his mind and macrafly became his ebay handle.
That same year, he began seriously pursuing photography – an interest since his high school days. A world traveler, he was able to capture the bountiful history and raw beauty of people and places across the globe; but, ultimately, his love of Nebraska drew him home where his images of the windswept grasslands, unending skyscapes and majestic landmarks of western Nebraska, and his sunset, moonrise and lightning shots over the urban landscapes in eastern Nebraska became his trademark.
By 2004, Matt was selling his award-winning photography online and at a local gallery, and his work began appearing in exhibits, corporate offices, private collections and publications. That same year he married Elaine, a 2003 UNL graduate in environmental studies, and she began supporting his efforts.
In 2009, Matt and Elaine turned their focus to buying and selling old books picked up at auctions and estate sales, where they began collecting other antiquarian curiosities as well – many of them centered on photography. Matt researched early Nebraska photographers and acquired some of their work with an eye toward publishing a book on the subject. Those efforts led to the discovery of antique stereoviews and cabinet cards focusing on Nebraska scenery and people, as well as Native Americans and national landmarks.
Today, macrafly offers rare and historically revealing daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes as well as stereoviews, cabinet cards and boudoir cards. The collection – featuring items dating from the 1840s to the 1940s – continues to grow, with trips to flea markets off the beaten path, meetings with other collectors across the country, and more auctions bringing new treasures to this website weekly. Macrafly also continues to post its wares on ebay.
So browse the website, learn about early photographic techniques, study the images that define the history of our country, and add a treasure or two to your own collection. The proof is in the picture and the old adage is really true: A picture is worth a thousand words.