Matt Pierce, or wake.up.matt on Instagram, has a way of capturing images that makes you envision stepping right into an ocean view from edge of a rocky cliff, or in a pool at the bottom of a waterfall. Just a few minutes of dreaming and it’s like a virtual vacation in the Hawaiian Islands, or trip down west coast, thanks to Matt and his photography.
There's more to Matt than just taking drool-worthy images though. His roots go deep as a videographer, which is something that first helped him build up an impressive list of companies that have called on his services, and now allows him to give back to nonprofit organizations that don’t have the budget required for video creation.
Going from only shooting video to having found a passion for still imagery is something he credits Instagram for. “A few years ago someone introduced me to Instagram and the idea of sharing through that medium is when I took it more serious,” Matt told us. “I hadn’t been into photography much, but once I got on Instagram it fueled my passion even more, knowing I needed to put out more content. From there I’ve figured out my style and how I wanted to share my stories.”
Matt’s artistic eye was first sharpened at the age of 10 through making videos with his brothers and neighbors where they grew up in Canada. “Everything started with videography, we loved making films together. Crappy horror movies, ridiculous things that 10-year-olds would make. They turned into comedies every time. What it came down to is that I love storytelling.” That storytelling of his now makes all of us jealous with each new image he posts.
The name Wake up Matt on Instagram and YouTube is as simple as it sounds: wake and enjoy the surroundings, even if it’s the prairie of Manitoba where he grew up. “I wanted to start Wake up Matt to find the beauty that’s already around me that I’ve been ignoring. Waterfalls are literally just water running over a cliff. But obviously they’re not just that--their power and beauty is amazing and takes people’s breath away. It’s something so simple yet at the same time there’s so much more to it.”
With a special affinity for waterfalls, as you’ll see when scrolling through his Instagram, the photographer has a nearly limitless supply of content just on the Hawaiian Islands alone, yet, there are a couple of other stops on his list of dream locations. “Norway would be at the top of my list for sure, they have some unbelievable scenery. Also, I really want to go to Japan. There’s so much there, and because I love sushi.”
Even though Matt’s photography has now become a way of life, he hasn’t thrown in the towel on video, well, maybe only the horror videos. His video skills are being offered up to nonprofit organizations that could benefit from quality video but can’t afford it. Unfiltered is a nonprofit Matt started to give back, be it to organizations helping women at risk, get youth playing basketball or anything else that strikes a chord with him.
“I’ve always loved working with nonprofits. Originally it started out with the church I went to someone hired me for their nonprofit. When I was just starting out with video most nonprofits had the budget available for where my skills were at. But as I grew, it became more limited. So many organizations do amazing things but don’t always have the budgets to afford to make their own videos. I’ve worked with half dozen in the past and my goal is to expand it nationally and globally.”