With clients ranging from Nike to Red Bull - adventure companies, advertising agencies & magazines have entrusted Matt Baldelli to create powerful photographs in often difficult, demanding and dangerous situations.
Whether it is hanging off cliffs in Moab, Utah, at the summit of Mount Washington in winter (where the worst weather in the world takes place) or inside the climbing gym, everywhere is his studio. With a solid grasp in advertising photography, gear, client needs and living a lifestyle of adventure sports, this creates a very unique trifecta for having Matt tell your photographic story. Matt photographs from a storytelling perspective since he knows the athletes and the sports they participate in and often participates in them regularly. He spends much of his time on the road, but calls the White Mountains and Boston - base camp.
He is a member of PhotoShelter, the leader in portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing and archiving tools for photographers.
“Spending much of my time in the outdoors and on the trail I find it very important to give back to the planet. I'm a very proud supporter of these organizations that protect and preserve the outdoors: 1% For The Planet, Access Fund, American Alpine Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, Mount Washington Observatory, National Park Service, New Hampshire State Parks, Randolph Mountain Club & Western Mass Climbers Coalition.
Hi Matt, thanks for chatting with us. Why the “difficult, demanding and dangerous”?
It has a been a natural progression since my teenage years, it started with mountain biking and hiking. Throughout the years each discipline opened the doors to explore more places. Hiking lead me to rock climbing, to ice climbing, and now alpine climbing. I love to learn, explore and to challenge myself which made this a natural fit.
Your photography skills range from lifestyle and advertising shoots, to summiting Mount Washington in winter - how important do you think this versatility is when securing jobs? Has it always been this way?
In such a competitive field like photography the more tools you can have in the toolbox to access the better. Spending a good chunk of time after photography school assisting a wide array of well established photographers really helped me hone in my skill set. It is even more crucial to have more skill sets than ever before and to keep your edge. You should be constantly learning and adding tools to the toolbox.
You have an impressive list of clients. Can you recall your most demanding shoot?
Running a Ragnar relay race for Reebok entailed running somewhere between 15-20 miles and half of it was with a camera or two. If running a 36 hour relay race wasn’t enough I had to document pre-racing preparation, racing, post race celebrations and all the behind the scenes of the race. The only sleep we got as a team was about an hour, and I was lucky enough to sleep wedged in the front seat of a passenger van. During the assignment in between the legs of the race I had a digital tech downloading cards so I could make final selects to upload while the race was happening.
Your photography isn’t just “adventure” and capturing the moment. Talk us through the storytelling in your work
That’s true, most of the adventure is about the journey, and the content that goes along with it brings to life the full scale of the adventure. In my storytelling I always aim to be as authentic as possible, documenting the natural development of the story - whether it’s hanging out in the back of a van with a bunch of B.A.S.E. jumpers in route to their next jump, on the side of a mountain making s’more’s with a camping stove for someone’s birthday, or the predawn start for a summit bid. All these little moments become the sum of these great adventures.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
Not really, I just aim to have fun along the way!
Where in the world are you and what's next for you?
The Berkshires in Western Massachusett is where I call home at the moment. I only spend a short amount of time here - it’s more like a base camp for all my adventures. Being so close to many mountains in the northeast it makes for great adventures and so close to Boston & NYC. It’s easy to get around within a few hours of each other, whether it’s work or play. Currently I have a few irons in the fire - trips to Northern California, Patagonia, Madagascar & Nepal.