Matt Bagly

Matt Bagly

MIFA 2021 Winner, 1st Place in Nature (Non-Professional) – “Bubble Lion

Working under the artistic name Petrichor.mb, Matt Bagley grew up in a small fishing town called San Remo, which is situated on the South East tip of Australia. He has had a connection with the ocean since he was a kid and it has been a part of his life in many ways. He grew up knowing the tides and feeling the wind direction, but more than anything, he grew up appreciating and respecting it. Work wise… He is a creative by default; from designer to art director to creative strategy. He works in two different worlds but still the same worlds. In corporate life he is a bridge between the technical minded and conceptual thinkers but when he has a camera in his hand he shoots more for a general appreciation for nature and the natural world. With photography he walks a fine line keeping it predominately self-expressive and less restricted by external influences, working on projects he generally has a connection with more than financial gain.

Q: Or when did you discover your passion for photography?

From a young age I have had an interest in capturing experiences. Over the past few years I’ve experimented a great deal and through trial and error I taught myself how to capture moments through photography and this has since become somewhat a passion, even an obsession.  When you are looking at perfect waves and all you can think about is, how do I capture this moment, and not, what board should I be surfing, that was the time that I knew something had changed in me. To me, it’s the perfect creative medium to compliment my urge to experience nature and life, but in photography terms I’m a new comer to the art and I will continue to learn.  

Q: Tell us a bit more about your winning project and what inspired you to do it? 

It was easy to imagine this image. The alignment of perfect moments when light and composition collide. When you are waiting it feels like a lifetime away and when you are in the moment it feels like time stands still. Will your capture ever live up to what you had built in your mind before you got in the water. Before the two hour boat ride. During the 1567km you flew to get there or the 9 months you waited with 3 canceled flights later to have this opportunity. It’s easy to forget the energy that gets put into capturing moments. To understand what an image means to its creator. The mix of emotions of enjoying being in the moment whilst still feeling the crazy hunger to capture what you have visualised so many times before. Will you do it justice. 

Q: What type of photos do you like to take in your free time? 

The shots I take in my free time are the same shots I take during my busy time, it all blends together for me. When I am taking photos it’s driven from my direction and for me thats freedom.

Q: What genre of photography is new to you that you would like to explore?  

I would like to experiment more with human form interacting with nature. The feeling you get when you first enter the icy cold ocean, the feeling of running your hand down the back of a sharks rough skin. Human interaction is my focus.

Q: Besides a camera, what do you think are the three most important tools of a photographer? 

Tools hmmmm…. It would be great to have the best and latest equipment but it doesn’t always work out that way. It’s important to understand your gear and setup, for me to be able to shoot without thinking. Split second reactions, as most of the things I shoot don’t stay still for long and I can’t ask them for that shot again.

Q: How do you know when a body of work is completed? 

Nothing is ever complete for me. I have a hunger to always do better and experience more. I am my own worst critic as I am sure a lot of photographers/ creatives are. Its hard not to look at a project and think “maybe I could change that next time.”

Q: If it could be anything at all, what would your photography dream project be? 

Storytelling related to the ocean or nature. Send me around the world and let me capture images that help us better understand and appreciate the world. We need to learn to live alongside of nature and find the balance so we all can thrive. I want everyone to have the chance now, and in the future, to experience these feelings; the beautiful connections with the natural world.

Q: If you could take one last photo in your life, what would it be?

Easy: it would be a photo of my boy Leo (he is only 5 now) all grown up with his family living in a world that is stable and healthy.

Q: Who/what is your biggest source of inspiration? 

I am influenced by people in general not just artists or photographers. Their passion, drive and hunger for experiences. You meet people throughout life with common interests or an appreciation for something and it might be as simple as a passing comment “I’m doing this tomorrow do you want to come” I always say yes as there is so much to see and so little time to do so. I want to hear about peoples lives, stories and experience as it opens you up to new inspiration.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers? 

Do what you do because you enjoy it, not for likes or comments. Find something you love and lose yourself in it. If you’re lucky enough for that to be the ocean or nature then bring awareness to the importance of it. Photography is a story telling medium like no other and it can create real change in the world so use it for that, don’t photograph pretty things, take a photo of something that stirs emotion and makes people think.

View Matt Bagly’s winning work.