Meet travel, sports and portrait photographer Matt Porteous, a Jersey-based creative who has captured a variety of subjects from Prince George to tribespeople of Namibia, peaceful landscapes and ferocious oceans. We learn more about his dream projects and how his Channel Islands roots have inspired his profession.
Matt, how long have you been a photographer? And how did you first get into it?
I showed an interest in photography from a young age, taking full ownership of my parents’ yellow, underwater Minolta camera, which accompanied me everywhere. It was through that simple lens that I learnt to capture the world around me
Where are you from, and where are you based now?
I’ve lived in Jersey all my life – so that’s 30+ years! Our beautiful coastlines, clean ocean, my friends, family and the characteristic locals are why I always choose to return home to Jersey. I’ve always explored the island looking for new angles to photograph; my favourite places to shoot are St Ouen’s Bay in the early morning, at high tide and late evening as the sun sets. I also love the dramatic north coast, exploring Plemont Bay at low tide and the sandbars on the east coast in summer.
How has growing up in Jersey shaped your photography?
Jersey has always been a diverse and inspirational backdrop for my photography. For such a small island, we’re gifted with dramatic cliffs and small bays on the north coast, wide beaches on the west and south coasts and lunar landscapes out east. Venturing inland, we have Jersey’s hidden woods and waterways – it’s a location scout’s dream! Growing up close to the sea in Jersey means the ocean holds a special place in my life. I now devote my free time to capturing the truth, beauty and simplicity of people and places connected with the ocean.
What type of camera do you use?
I work with Canon, always have done. It’s the only tool I fully understand and trust. I also have a collection of vintage film cameras that sometimes join me on my adventures
What or who inspires your work the most?
My mentors, family, close friends and travel opportunities have all influenced my work over the last 25 years
You often photograph the ocean and natural landscapes – is there a favourite time of year or type of weather that you love?
Winter light and dramatic skies inspire my on-land work, plus big winter swells in the waves and great visibility days underwater during summer
Do you have a particular technique with portraits, how do you best capture a person?
Always start with a smile. Get to know the character you’re about to photograph and ask questions – everyone has a story to tell. As photographers, we’re just here to capture a personality in a single frame
What are the main challenges you face as a photographer?
Having confidence in yourself, truly understanding light and keeping up with e-mails, when we spend so much time on location, it’s hard keeping up to date with correspondence
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Photographing the Future King of England! Also, being paid to travel, it has always been my biggest dream
What are your feelings on photography platforms such as Instagram?
Instagram has changed a generation, every day we’re now inspired by incredible people around the globe, sharing beautiful images and stories that matter, making a difference to the way we see our world
With your personal Instagram profile, do you go for a certain aesthetic and look with the images you choose to feature on there?
It took me a while to understand Instagram, it’s about having a certain look. As with photography, it takes some time to understand your own style. Now I just post the images that mean something to me; my personal work and my personal style. Just be you, that’s my advice
What’s on your photography bucket list?
Oh wow, this could go on forever! My dream experience would be a journey with David Attenborough, Ranulph Fiennes and Johnny Depp. Starting in the Galapagos, we’d trek South America into Patagonia, jump aboard the National Geographic Explorer to Antarctica and hang with penguins for the summer, then we’d sail onwards through the Pacific Ocean, freedive with humpback whales in Tonga, hang with forest tribes in Papua New Guinea, live aboard with sea gypsies in Indonesia, motorbike across the Himalayas to base camp at K2 and head onwards to the Holi festival in Barsana, India. Then I’d spend the following year in Austria.
Finally, do you have any advice for anyone hoping to get into photography?
Believe in yourself, work hard, smile, laugh, chat to strangers.