Matthew “Matt” Russell was born in 1959, in San Francisco, California. He spent his early childhood years in Alaska, Virginia, Arizona and California, as his father was in the National Park Service. The Bay Area would eventually become his permanent childhood residence.
As a young child while living in Alaska, Matt was given photographs by Alaskan Photographer Charlie Ott, who ironically would lay the foundation of his interest in Nature/Wildlife Photography. Matt spent his boyhood days hiking the hills of the Bay Area. During this time, he started exploring his interest in photography, essentially photographing and recording what he was seeing. His photography would become focused on wildlife photography at this time. His interest and learning about wildlife continued as he followed the Craighead Brothers with their studies on Grizzly Bears, and the Murie Brothers, with their work with Grizzly Bears, Wolves, and Wapiti.
Matt then followed his goal of studying Wildlife at the University of Wyoming. During his studies at the University of Wyoming, he developed a strong interest in horses and is still an avid horseman today. He also wrote a paper on the Scaling of Tooth Size in Mustelids (Weasel Family) and Felids (Cat Family) and received an honorable mention as an undergraduate from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Upon graduating from the University of Wyoming, 1981, Matt returned to the Bay Area.
During his return to the Bay Area, he thought of his goals and ambitions, whether to pursue a graduate degree or become a full-time Wildlife Photographer. Ironically he did neither and became a United Parcel Service (UPS) Driver from 1983 to 2013. During his UPS career photography would become a bigger hobby and then a passion. He explored different ideas with his photography, and his photography changed over the years, from a single lens reflex camera to a medium format camera. With the age of digital photography upon us, Matt is still a traditional film (analog) photographer today. He prefers the medium format camera, because of the versatility it gives in the field and superior image quality it produces for his Nature Photography.
Today Matt follows his photographic journey exploring the vast Wilderness of The Greater Yellowstone Area that surrounds him. He continues to photograph, read and write about The Greater Yellowstone Area. Matt currently resides in Victor, Idaho with his three horses and dog.
My photographic style…
My photography to me represents capturing light and a moment in time. I have no control over the light (the sun is my light source) and I have no control over my subject matter (nature) to capture that moment, I only have control over the camera, which makes my (or yours too for that matter) photography challenging and rewarding all in the same breath. To me the motivation with my photography, is I continually seek a better picture than my last one that I just took. Yes, I have set backs from time to time, just like anyone else in life, but that is the learning curve we experience in life, and I use those setbacks to make myself a better person and to give me a new perspective to life and my photography. There is also a little luck in photography, to be in the right place at the right time. That is why it is so important to be out in the field capturing moments in time, as often as possible.
The images I have posted are a mixture of film Velvia (color) and Ilford (black and white). My camera of choice, when I was younger, was the standard SLR 35mm camera. Then, I wanted to improve my photography, I sought a medium format camera to give me a new perspective of life through through the view finder. Taking Ansel Adams’s idea of the 64 Club, I tried to record all my images at the lowest possible aperture with each respective lens that I used. It has given me a new perspective of what I am trying to capture. Digital photography has now entered the scene, yet I will say this, I am having a hard time parting with film and a medium format camera. However, I am really enjoying the new computer darkroom!
Thanks for stopping by.
Education>University of Wyoming, 1981; BS degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management
Received honorable mention from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for research in the scaling of tooth size to body size in Mustelids and Felids, 1981.