Matt first took up photography whilst teaching and travelling in China in 2004. Upon his return, he started an Open College Network photography course at Sheffield College and it was then he discovered the NCTJ photography course at the same centre.
When Matt completed his first course he went to London to gain some work experience with Rankin, a commercial and portrait photographer. He also volunteered for Photovoice, a charity that runs schemes abroad to give marginalised communities a voice by getting them to document their lives through pictures.
In October 2006, Matt started his NCTJ course at Sheffield College and by January 2007 had his first job interview. He was successful and started work for Trinity Mirror South as a trainee photographer in February 2007, working on a range of titles including the Hounslow Chronicle and the Ealing Gazette. In May 2009 Matt gained his National Certificate Examination for photographers.
Matt said: “I suppose what I would now suggest to any photographer coming into the industry is to be as versatile as possible. The idea of just taking photographs is fading fast and photographers should be looking to add some video making skills to their repertoire.
"The web is clearly changing how we perceive the media and the platform for photography. If used correctly, the web offers limitless space for creative use of photographs and image galleries. An example of this would be image slideshows put to sound or even an interview of person relevant to the news story.
Matt works with a team of six other multimedia photographers.
The photographers cover approximately a quarter of the greater London area, from Westminster at the centre, following a line through Harrow into Buckinghamshire, then south covering Uxbridge, Ealing, Hounslow, Richmond, Kingston and North Surrey. The photographers work remotely and are no longer tied to a particular office.
Hints and tips
- Matt’s course at Sheffield College. consisted of 14 people, 8 of whom had jobs by the time the exams in May came around. Matt had gained his position 4 months into the course
- You can’t take a great picture without knowing how to operate a camera, yet at the same time you can’t just know how to operate a camera to be able to take a good photo.
- Matt’s work experience, undertaken before he started his course at Sheffield College, showed him the inner workings of a newspaper and he loved the buzz and immediacy of the picture desk.