MATTHEW WARELEY - Who am I?

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Photography has been part of me for as long as I can remember. My first camera was a purple 35mm film camera with a hulk tattoo on it that I got in my kiddies meal from Stears. I can’t remember what age I was then but if you know Stears you’ll have an idea of how long ago that was hahaha, burgers were about R4 that time.

I think my next camera after that was a point and shoot 35mm camera my mom got me for my grade 7 camp (2007) (I still have those photos till this day). Ever since then I’ve been using anything and everything to take photographs,  2MP & 5MP phone cameras, borrowed point and shoot digital cameras you name it. 

It wasn’t until 2013 that I started shooting and editing more and more each day (On a digital point and shoot). I can’t even say that I realized it over time, something just switched over night. I woke up one morning and decided I’m tired of saying “If only I had a proper camera for this” every time I saw something beautiful worth capturing. I researched a camera, sat down and taught myself the basics of photography, taught myself how to use the camera through Youtube videos of the camera and then approached my mom with my idea of getting the camera and asked her for a loan. The rest was history? Haha

Na that’s where it started. I started shooting literally everything. 2014 to 2016 was quite a hectic period of immense personal growth on all levels for me. I started doing things on my own and started missioning everywhere. It was during this period that I started using photography as more than just a hobby or passion, I learnt how to use it to deal, deal with what I was going through. I think it was this time that photography started becoming a form of art to me. This grew me and sparked a lot of personal projects. 

Other than that…

My lifestyle and my hobbies, like skateboarding, meant I was exposed to a lot. Things some people consider dangerous or suspect. It was during this time that I started using skateboarding and public transport to get around a lot. I experienced a lot because of this. I experienced everything on a street level, I was walking, skateboarding, so that meant I connected with my surroundings in ways you couldn’t connect through any other way. Only skaters will understand.

This connection I had to the street, being connected on this level, meant I not only saw the bad but actually so much good, beautiful moments that I’ll carry with me forever. This good that I saw made me fall in love with this city even more, but on a different level, not just the pretty beaches, mountains and forests, but the beauty that makes home home, things you will only see and feel in Cape Town. Things that are Cape Town, in every essence. A year or so ago, again, something switched, I wanted to capture this. 

My passion for photography as well as my pride, love and connection to this city lead me to want to capture the things that made it home. I love this place man, and I am extremely grateful that I got to experience it in this time and era. I woke up one day inspired take this pride and love and use it to drive me to capture things that I love. Things that are overlooked, things that are frowned upon, everyday things we see but don’t pay attention to because we see it everyday. 

Besides the fact that I love taking beautiful photos of everything that catches my eye and heart, I want capture photos of Cape Town right now. Photos of things that make Cape Town Cape Town. Photos that only people of Cape Town can relate to. Photos that instil a sense of home inside of you. 

Photography is not only a hobby or passion to me, I use it and aspire to use it, as a form of art, as my creative voice, to express, to deal, to challenge, to celebrate, to create and to protest.I’ve already started on this journey, and I have come so far, but this is only the beginning.