Everyday Exceptionalist 004: Matt Yardley
Matt Yardley

Wildlife photographer
Safari Guide
Everyday Exceptionalist⁣⁣

Matt makes everyday exceptional by immersing himself in the mesmerising unpredictability of nature, capturing its beauty in breathtaking images, and sharing it with others on unique and brilliant tours.



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𝗪𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐟𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐡𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐝?⁣
I feel like I have always been in love with photography, my love existed for as long as I can remember, so from a young age. As a boy we often visited game reserves. In those days we had film cameras – films had to be bought and put into the camera and then you had to take in the film to get developed, so mistakes were costly! When I started my game guiding career, my passion was reignited by the pure beauty of the veld and the animals that inhabit it. I borrowed cameras from friends and learnt techniques the long, hard, slow way through experience. As soon as I had saved up enough I bought my very own camera, I then sold pictures to enable me to improve my photography equipment up to a level where I could turn my passion into a career.⁣

𝗪𝐡𝐨 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐨𝐫?⁣
I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by the best in the game in my profession as a game ranger and I have picked up tips, techniques and knowledge from a lot of other professional photographers. There are two specific people that come to mind when asked to say who my mentors are. The first is Stew Nolan from Explorations and Dave Rogers from Photos and Africa. They have both spent a lot of time answering my questions but more so they have given me enormous inspiration with their own pictures.⁣

𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭 𝐬𝐚𝐮𝐜𝐞, 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐡𝐲?⁣
I would definitely say my secret sauce is the emotion I try and find in my subject and then I attempt to put forward this raw emotion in each picture using Fine Art photography methods. When I set up a photo I ask myself what is the emotion shouting out to me from my subject, I then try to portray this emotion in my pictures.⁣

 

𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝?⁣
I would like people to look at the natural world and nature with a slightly different perspective. I hope to instil a love for the bush and all who survive there, and a thirst for knowledge, through my photos, that those people may not have had to start with. I hope to kindle a lifelong love affair in people for the African bush and wildlife. I also hope to raise awareness for conservation and hope that by developing a passion for the wild, people will become more involved in the conservation and the care of wildlife. I also hope to be able to teach youngsters the way I was taught and thereby pass on this very valuable way of recording life in the wild.⁣

𝐀𝐦𝐛𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭: 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬?⁣
My immediate answer is both! But one needs to be careful here, in your definition of what success is for you personally, don’t allow success to be defined to you by the achievements of others. Make your own path towards your own success. Ambition will follow, as long as the passion is there and talent also develops over time as you learn. Your ambition and ever increasing talent will create your own way to your personal success.⁣

𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝟏𝟔 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟?⁣
Firstly never neglect the basics. We tend to want to rush ahead to get to the podium but the only way there is to go through the process correctly. This begins with the basics, which cannot be skipped. I would say work hard on the basics and the rest will follow naturally.⁣
Secondly, don’t chase money. If you get into it for the money you are not getting into it for the right reason. Get into it for the sake of following your passion – that passion and love will le ad to the money at the right time. Time is needed to nurture your passion and talent so slow down, practice your craft and do not do it for the money.⁣⁣

𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐭 𝟏𝟐 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐬?⁣
Trying to balance the professional and personal is a life skill one is always learning. I have set up my own safari company and along with a few colleagues have a few more interests on the go in the wildlife sector, such as team building, photographic tours, trip and travel planning and private guiding. This is a new venture allowing me to work from home to create family time, but still fulfilling my need and desire to be out in the bush, guiding and using my camera!⁣

𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐦𝐛𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞?⁣
I really want to open a successful photographic company. I love encouraging people to travel as it helps with the conservation of the bush and the more successful I am the more I can mentor youngsters and ignite my passion within others. I especially would like to work with underprivileged children. ⁣

𝐈𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐩𝐢𝐞𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐛𝐞?⁣
Once again, learn the basics, then do not try and copy another photographer, do your OWN thing, taking inspiration from those you admire and push the boundaries! Always push the boundaries!