Michael Matti / Member Interview
He was born in Indonesia and grew up in different parts of Southeast Asia. After spending his childhood in the tropics, his family moved to northern Indiana. He eventually attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he graduated with degrees in Photography and Business. After school, he moved to Seattle, Washington, where he instantly fell in love with the mountains, forests, waterfalls, and beaches that surround the city. It was this love of nature that drew him to pursue the field of photography that he now works in. Working mostly in tourism and with outdoor brands his travels have taken him to 35 countries so far.
Seattle, Washington, USA
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I didn't discover my passion for photography until half way through college. I had tried 3 other majors before I decided to give photography a try. Basically I had a simple point and shoot camera that got damaged on a beach one summer. Having to buy a new camera just to capture everyday life with, I decided to get the most basic DSLR. Being able to play around with the different settings and creatively capture things was what peaked my interest even more with photography. Also, the challenge of trying to get the best shot was something that made we want to do photography more. So, when I returned to school after that summer, I switched my studies to photography and that was that.
Tell us about your first photo that really validated your interest as a photographer.
I can't think of a specific photo but I would say my first international trip with a DSLR really validated my interest in photography. It was in May of 2012 to New Zealand. I was still in college at the time and had just finished my first year studying photography. The excitement of exploring the country and trying to capture it with my camera let me know this really is what I should be doing with my life.
What do you enjoy photographing the most?
I most enjoy shooting landscapes, particularly rugged mountains and waterfalls.
What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
I recently had an image chosen for the Indiana Bicentennial Stamp. I grew up in Indiana so having a photo I took put on such a meaningful stamp was an honor. I flew back for an event for the stamp and gave a speech alongside the governor and other notable Indiana people.
How do you feel photography has impacted the way you see the world?
I think photography has made me more observant and challenged me to look at things from different perspectives. When you travel as a photographer you're always looking for shots to take and different details or perspectives to capture.
What is your best photography related tip?
Don't worry so much about what other people are doing but instead work on creating your own unique style and voice. Be inspired by other people's work but don't just seek to mimic it.
What would you like for people take away from your work?
I hope people feel inspired to get out in nature and have their own adventures.
What are some ‘must have’ items in your camera bag?
My circular polarizing filter is a must have, especially here in the lush forests of the PNW. Some good snacks :)
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what is the ONE photography book you would want to have with you?
Chris Burkard's book Distant Shores.
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