George Mattei shares a stunning collection of photographs that capture idyllic images of the Jersey shore. See more of portfolio on his website.
My photography got its start when I was in high school. One of my friends got a film developing kit for Christmas. Of course, he had to have something to develop, so he also got a camera. Soon, four friends and I were developing photos from our frequent trips to the local park to shoot trees, the lake, kids and each other. The high school yearbook provided further opportunities to shoot sports, clubs, dances and plays.
After two years at a local community college, it was off to the School of Visual Arts in New York. Photography all the time—I loved it. Four years later with a BFA, I became the first assistant to an advertising photographer in Manhattan, which was where my real education began.
He had clients in the food, automobile, pharmaceutical and liquor industries. With some of his business coaching under my belt, I was ready for my next position as a photographer at Nabisco.
Twenty pounds and four years later, I opened my own commercial studio. I loved the challenge of taking a client’s idea for a product photo and bringing it to life. Sometimes it was simple. Sometimes it was more complex, like when I had to hire stylists and models or travel to a location with an assistant and tons of equipment, but it was always enjoyable.
I started producing stock photography where I was able to shoot the subjects I liked while putting my own “spin” on them. I was always interested in nutrition, medicine and the workings of the body, among other things. This led me to concentrate on photographs of a more conceptual nature where I would illustrate the concepts of time, pain, addiction and certain medical conditions.
My photography went into another direction when we moved to the shore region of New Jersey. When I was much younger, my family would always go to the shore for a summer vacation. It was my favorite place. Now I did not have to travel so far to enjoy the waves, sand, food and beautiful seascapes. Lighthouses, sunsets, fishing boats and storms are some of the subjects I like to photograph.
Tourism, food and commercial fishing are other areas of South Jersey industry I would like to photographically explore as I continue to enhance my portfolio.
Much of my photography is produced using HDR, or High Dynamic Range photography. No single exposure from a film or digital camera can reproduce a scene as well as the human eye. By taking three to nine exposures from very light to very dark and processing them with specialized software, a wider range of tones is produced.
The details that would be lost to a single exposure are preserved, mimicking, as close as possible, the human eye.
On occasion I will also use the long exposure technique. The shutter remains open for many minutes, capturing the motion of clouds, water and people, while stationary objects remain motionless.
Artist George Mattei invites you to follow him on Instagram.