Matt’s story starts when he was born in South Korea, 6 months later Matt was adopted and was raised in a place called Orange 4 hours inland from Sydney.
Growing up, Matt felt different and experiemced some racial bullying from other kids in his neighbourhood. His restlessness at school saw him fall in to school yard fights seeking to fit in with the tougher crowd. On reflection, he says he found himself battling his own environment to belong.
Coming into his own, self discovery and growth saw Matt trekking the Peruvian Andes for 21 days with world mountaineer Simone Rates from well known documentary ‘Touching the void’. His passion for photography took him to Brazil where he volunteered at a local school. Upon his return, he saved for a mirrorless camera which sparked a three and a half year journey around the world.
We talked about his first photos and his decision to make a career out of his passion in 2014. A volunteer charity event set the momentum for more jobs, before successfully applying for a project grant through Olympus in 2016. Collaborating with a friend, they ventured to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, documentung remote landscapes and since then, everything snowballed in his professional career upon which time he left his established profession as a teacher in 2019 to pursue photography full time. His most recent project prior to COVID led him to Antarctica.
Matt also shares his view on why Australia is lacking real connection, the influence of social media in society and learning lessons from strangers.
We talked about putting the camera down and being fully present in each destination. He describes an overwhelming feeling he had in a valley where he sat down and really reflected on his life, which really led him to being grateful for the life he created.
We also touch on understanding your own identity, rewriting your own script, how to start your own journey to success, creating a tribe of your own and what books you need to read to help fast track your personal growth.