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110 – Cultural Chronicles: Preserving Identity through Photography

In this episode of The Nerdy Photographer Podcast, I speak with a photographer dedicated to preserving the rich tapestry of diverse and disappearing subcultures around the world. Join us as we delve into the stories behind the images, exploring the challenges, triumphs, and profound impact of documenting these vibrant communities before they vanish into obscurity.

My guest, Matt Jacob (or as he is known online, Matty J) shares his stories and process when it comes to documenting the rituals, traditions, and everyday lives of subcultures on the brink of disappearing. From hunting with eagles in Mongolia to tracking the Bedouin in the Arabian Peninsula, he uncovers the complexities of capturing the essence of cultures facing rapid change and globalization, as well as the urgent need to preserve these unique identities for future generations.

As we celebrate the diversity of subcultures worldwide, this episode serves as a call to action for photographers to become custodians of cultural heritage. By documenting these communities with sensitivity, respect, and empathy, photographers have the power to amplify their voices and shine a spotlight on their struggles and triumphs. Join us as we explore the transformative potential of photography to bridge divides, foster understanding, and honor the richness of human experience in all its forms.

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About My Guest

cultural portrait photographer matt jacob matty j

Matt is a photographic artist dedicated to the transformative power of visual storytelling. With a passion for capturing narratives through photography, he offers audiences valuable insights into untold stories, inviting them into unfamiliar lives through aesthetically beautiful and meaningful images. Through his large social media following, Matt not only showcases his art but also provides educational tips and episodes from his podcast, fostering a community of fellow creatives eager to learn, grow, and find inspiration. Additionally, he is excited to announce his latest offerings—an insightful eBook and an upcoming video course—that delve deep into the art of portrait photography, providing aspiring artists with theoretical education, practical guidance, and creative motivation.

Matt’s journey began humbly with a disposable camera and aspirations of aviation. Unexpectedly, a battle with cancer reshaped his perspective, instilling in him a deep appreciation for life’s fleeting moments. This profound shift inspired him to craft timeless snapshots that transcend mere imagery, resonating with diverse audiences and emphasizing the significance of cherishing each form of life and culture. Furthermore, through his growing podcast, Matt delves into the deeper and more meaningful philosophies surrounding photography, filmmaking, and other art forms, enriching the art of conversation with discussions and insights garnered from his own journey and the experiences of fellow artists. Beyond his artistic pursuits, Matt is driven by a dedication to exploring lesser-known sub-cultures worldwide. Through his lens, he aims to provide a glimpse into these rich ethnicities, fostering understanding and empathy.

You can also find Matt’s work through any of the following channelss:


What Did You Think of Our Discussion?

What are your thoughts on preserving cultural identity through photography? Share this post with a friend or leave a message below and tell me what you thought of our talk. Or reach out on social media and leave a comment or send a DM. Your thoughts are always welcome – as are your questions about photography and topics you would like to hear discussed in a future episode!

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The Nerdy Photographer

With more than a quarter century as a professional photographer, The Nerdy Photographer's goal is to spread knowledge and laughter throughout the photo industry. Please follow along on social media and subscribe to the podcast.

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