Kate Sears speaks to international award-winning ocean photographer Matt Burgess and dives into how the salt water captured his heart. You can often find this Mornington Peninsula resident exploring the stretch between Flinders and Cape Schanck, discovering overlooked nooks and crannies as the cliffs and farmland behind create incredible backdrops to his imagery.
Do you have any memorable moments to share?
I have plenty of moments I have experienced within the ocean that have simply left me scratching my head wondering how. With the ever-changing weather we experience here on the Peninsula, you can definitely experience the four seasons within several hours. It’s these moments that keep me hungry and inspired to capture images.
When did you first pick up a camera? How was the journey from then to now?
I started shooting the ocean seriously in 2007 while living in Perth. The waves were usually really bad and crowded, so I started to look for other ways to capture the fleeting moments of brilliance that the ocean provides. I started with a point-and-shoot waterproof camera and slowly built up my equipment as the addiction took hold. Photography for me is my therapy; shooting the ocean fills me with a sense of calm and allows me to refresh and refocus and move forward with life. The ocean has been a large part of my life from a young age.
They say that photographing children and pets is difficult. Surely waves would be in that category too, but you make it look so easy.
Yes, that’s true. The ocean can leave you humbled and disappointed very quickly. With a subtle change in the wind, swell or tide, the session can be over before you know it. When shooting a session, I have learnt to restrain my trigger finger and look for moments instead of spraying and praying. When everything aligns and you are able to capture a unique moment, the feeling is indescribable. There is so much that goes into a shot.
What was your response when you heard the news that your photographs will be exhibited at the new Yawa Aquatic Centre in Rosebud? What can we expect to see there?
I nearly fell over! I am very humbled and very excited to be able to share my work with people from the Peninsula and beyond in such an incredible facility. I can’t say too much but you can expect to see images of the Peninsula that everyday people don’t get to see.
How was the transition into drone photography?
I started using a drone for photography back in 2015. I think it adds another perspective to images. It’s amazing the shapes and textures you can capture from above.
Do you have anything in the pipeline?
I always have ideas and concepts floating around in my head. Due to COVID-19 last year I have put a lot of things on hold, so I think in 2021 I hope to travel more around our beautiful state and – the main thing – be happy.
Be transfixed by Matt’s spectacular sea shots on his website www.mattburgessphoto.com and on Instagram @matt_burgess_photo