We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Herter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, what’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
By far the most difficult decision I ever had to make was giving up all the stability I had as a restaurant consultant and throwing myself out into the world to start this business. I have always been a creative person and I spent many years across 3 different colleges studying art but out of fear I always defaulted back to working within restaurants and allowed it to take up all my time. When I finally told myself I have had enough of doing something that didnt make me happy I turned my focus on starting my photography/videography business even though I had no connections, no idea how to market myself within that world and very little professional experience to stand behind. To say it was a difficult decision was an understatement but at the end it was easily the most fulfilling one so far.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work as a photographer/videographer under the brand name Thirty Three Wolves. When it comes to my art its been a long journey to say the least. I have always loved photography ever since I picked up an old Pentax K1000 and started shooting for a class my freshman year in highschool. I was immediately drawn to the ability to capture a visual moment and hold it in your hands. I still have multiple photos of my childhood best friends sitting in the school parking lot printed in the darkroom in black and white. I event went as far as to get that camera tattooed on my forearm but due to the way my life went after that moment I never actually pursued photographer and even ended up getting the tattoo covered up because I felt it was a reminder of something I never thought id end up doing. I continued to default back to working in hospitality and never utilizing my knowledge I learned in school because it was safe and paid the bills but that drive to create never left it. Flash forward over 10 years and everything has come full circle, In the beginning of the COVID lockdown I started riding my motorcycles around and really exploring LA, while I was doing so I started taking photos again and that rekindled that one thing that inspired me from the beginning, that ability to capture a moment. I was documenting my rides and setting up shots that eventually caught the eye of multiple companies through my instagram. From there I started to work with companies promoting their products and creating more and more content. This really gave me the push I needed to make the choice and throw myself entirely into what I had always wanted to do from the first time I picked up a camera. I always struggled with the idea of pursuing art as a real career and was always afraid it never was going to work out but it wasn’t until I really did it that I realized its all possible as long as you work for it, its not going to be easy but make the effort to put yourself out there and grow and you can make it happen.
All artists and professionals have their own way of doing things so I really cant speak on how other people do their work but for me what drives me when working with individuals or businesses is the goal to really connect with them. I love building that relationship and letting the model feel comfortable within our space of work. Because of all the years of hospitality and hosting that I had, I go into all my shoots with the same mentality, if I can make whoever I am working with feel at home and welcome within the space then I know the shots are going to come out the best they can. Modeling is not easy and people can feel very vulnerable in front of the camera, Its really a great feeling when you work with people trying to get into modeling and by the end of the shoot they feel so confident and excited with the art that we were able to create together. If I can have my clients leaving feeling even better about themselves when they arrived then I have done my job.
If I could pass along any advice or words of wisdom to artists, people who suffer with anxiety/depression or anyone just looking to make a career change, it’s to know that the power to reach those goals is there within you. It takes a lot of courage to take that first step and it’s scary as hell to do so but when you do, the world really opens up to you and I promise it is worth the struggle.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I were to put together a small trip around the area it definitely would include some motorcycle riding. One of my favorite places to really just take it all in is the Topanga Lookout Trial that ends on this giant slab of concrete that is covered in graffiti. While you’re standing on this platform at the very top of the mountains you can see the malibu coast, all the way downtown LA and the entire valley. To me its a super humbling feeling being so high up but also realizing just how small you are in the world. It’s just an added bonus that the motorcycle ride up and down is a lot of fun as well.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My father deserves all the credit for the goals and dreams i’ve had in my life. He was someone who always inspired me to try new things, see what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to stumble before you make it to your destination. I was even lucky enough to see him accomplish one of his lifelong goals of publishing a book later in his life. His process that he set out to meet that goal no matter where you are in your life really inspired me to not give up on my own dreams. On a more personal note, I suffered from really heavy anxiety, depression, PTSD and trauma growing up and my father was the one person I knew I could call about anything and he would be that rock that kept me moving forward. I can safely say that he is the reason I have been able to accomplish all that I have in my life and with every new thing that comes my way, I carry a part of him within me that continues to inspire push me forward.
KJ, Alli, Mika, Jade, Nik, Mykle, Tatiana, Divinity