MATT PAUL CATALANO | Photographer, Film maker
Matt was born and raised on the Jersey Shore. Like many shore folk, Matt immediately took an interest in ocean based activities from surfing to fishing and eventually ocean and surf photography & cinematography. His father was an amateur photographer and was the initial trigger behind Matt’s interest in photography, travel & culture. As a kid he was fortunate enough to travel to places like Egypt, Alaska and Hawaii among others. He became PADI certified at the age of 15 and acted as the manager of a local business’ e-commerce department through high school and into college.
After graduating Manasquan High School with high honors he was accepted into Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. He spent 2 years attending and studying the liberal arts and decided to finish his business degree closer to home (and the ocean) at Lehigh University in PA. Matt graduated with honors throughout and celebrated by skipping his graduation ceremony and chasing surf in Mexico and then went off backpacking through Europe, documenting everything along the way. During his time in school from about 1998 through 2003 he and a good friend / professional surfer created a surf video and published it on DVD which documented waves and surfing at home in NJ and also around the globe.
Feeling a lure back to the ocean lifestyle and his creative side, Matt forego immediate job offers and went to live in Hawaii documenting the surf world in 2004. He soon ran out of money and decided he wanted some corporate experience and ended up back on the East Coast working as a business information systems consultant for IBM. Specifically, he worked with SAP and transformed legacy accounting systems for companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Campbell’s. Matt ended up working remotely for the next 7 years as a developer and consultant and used his free time to document the ocean both photographically and through motion. He has spent at least part of every winter since 2004 in Hawaii and has lived and worked out of countries all over the world including Australia, Indonesia, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Spain, India, Japan, and the Caribbean among others. He used his “home office” to chase swells around the world between conference calls and project deadlines.
In 2012 Matt decided to go full-time into the visual arts and has worked with many clients from ESPN, the BBC, and CNN to dozens of brands and editorial outlets in the ocean and surf industries. He has most recently worked with Patagonia assisting with creating some productions in Hawaii, South America, & South Africa. In the editorial world Matt’s work can be seen published in print in magazines globally. He was able to land the cover photo of Surfing Magazine in February of 2016. He remains a freelance visual journalist and is still at the beginning of a new chapter of his career with endless ideas in the works.