We were scrolling the pages of Instagram and came across Matt Shaw's page. We were taken back by his photography and the adventure he was constantly seeking in his imagery. Then we noticed some of those pictures were him... and he had a beard! We had to be friends! We had the privilege to interview Matt and learn so much of who he is and why he does what he does. Take a moment to read about his dreams, fears and why he possesses adventure so much.
1. We were drawn to your photography and adventure and that what you actually love doing when not in front of the camera is actually what you enjoy taking pictures of to. How did that come about?
First off thanks so much for the support. I've always been drawn to adventure and to visual art. I originally picked up a camera because I wanted to document my adventures with my friends. It started out as a hobby, just a way to be able to look back on the fun moments of my life. I never thought that I could make a career out of it, and I feel very fortunate to be doing what I love.
2. Who was the most influential person to you as a child and why?
My dad for sure. He taught me the importance of hard work. He always allowed me to choose what I wanted to do and believed in me 100%. He was always in my corner and still is today. Love my pops.
3. Who was the biggest influence in your career?
I'm really influenced and inspired by a few photographers and adventure seekers. My good buddies Kern Ducote and Donnie Hedden, because they attack adventure with a sense of passion and joy that I've never seen before. Tony Czech because he's been in the game for a lot longer than I have and has been such a great mentor to me throughout the past 2 years. Lastly, Chris Burkard, I've never met him, but his ability to capture landscape and surf is unreal to me.
4. How did you decide that Photography and film-making was what you wanted to do?
I have been running around with a video camera in my hand for as long as I can remember, but it wasn't until I took a couple video classes in high school that I realized I really wanted to pursue it more seriously. I actually didn't get serious about photography until later on in college.
5. In addition to being paid money, how else has your career created value in your life?
I've been able to meet some really cool people and have some pretty awesome experiences. On top of that my job allows me to have evidence from all the cool things I get to do. That's as good as it gets. The emotions and memories that comeback arise from looking through old photos or watching old videos I shot trump any amount of money.
6. What is your most memorable travel experience?
Two summers ago I went on a 90 mile white water kayak trip down the Salmon River, in Idaho with Tony Czech to shoot a video for First Descents, an organization that takes cancer survivors on adventure trips. I had never white water kayaked so the week was a mixture of pure joy and fear, but I met some incredibly strong and brave people. So thankful for that experience. First Descents is doing great things, check them out.
7. Your work that you create and the way you live your life possesses adventure. What does Adventure mean to you?
I think my favorite thing about adventure is that it presents the opportunity to learn more about yourself. You can't fully understand who you are or your limits until you are placed in uncomfortable situations. I also just love the thrill of doing fun and different things all the time.
8. What is your greatest fear?
Whoa tough question. I think my greatest fear is to look back on my time and see that I was too nervous or lazy to do everything I wanted to do with my life. There is a lot that I want in this life. Gotta keep hustling!
9. How do you think people will remember you?
I hope I'm remembered as a good friend, hard worker, and someone with integrity. Anything else is just a bonus.
10. Working as a creative, seeking adventure and living in a pretty rad state, the one question we are all dying to hear is what influenced you to grow your beard and how long have you had a beard?
3 years back my good friend and barber, Mic Fox convince me to grow it out for the first time. Since then I don't think I have shaved my face clean. I'll buzz it off from time to time and grow it right back. I've had a bearded face for the better part of 3 years. Nashville has some pretty killer beards.
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