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This Is Northern New South Wales

Draper Shot Me

5 4We first came across Matt Draper‘s stunning Byron Bay images through our instagram. A few @ tags and a follow later we began conversing, saw a few more amazing images of his pop up in our “insta feed” and it was time for an email, and this little feature of his talents…

How long have you lived in Byron Bay and why did you move here?
I first moved to Australia from New Zealand early in 2007. Working as a builder during the GFC I was forced to chase construction work where I could find it – from the Gold Coast to Perth and beyond. Somehow I always managed to find myself back in Byron Bay. It has an unmatched energy to anywhere I have lived before. Byron Bay encourages more creativity and less ego, it’s a tiny town with a huge heart that really helps to create a happy sense of being and more importantly lets you be yourself without judgement. When I decided to quit working as a builder last year to finally follow my photography I moved straight back to Byron, and I haven’t looked back since.

When did you find a passion for photography?
I picked up my first camera when I was around 5 or 6 years old, my Dad has always had a collection of old film cameras which, I started to experiment with at a very young age. I have never studied photography, everything I know I have learnt by observing other photographer’s work or the trial and error of my own. I use to go through phases, sometimes my camera would sit unused for months and months then I would get it out and it would be a total love affair again. Since I am mostly now shooting water I don’t go through those phases anymore. I want to be out there everyday waiting to capture what beauty the ocean will produce.

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What elements of photography are you drawn to?
I am really drawn to the composition of street photography. I am grateful to have been able to travel quite regularly over the past 5 years spending a lot of time in Asia, India and more recently South America. With an interest in writing I have always been driven to make a living from my travel photography and although I have had some success with my work it’s been a hard nut to crack.

Water photography never really interested me too much, as a surfer and keen diver I never thought I could recreate through my camera what I saw with my own eyes in the ocean. It was only last year after seeing a lot of the master Sean Scott’s work that I started looking into purchasing a water housing for my camera. I still really love the elements of street and portrait photography but the ocean draws me in a new creative way.

How do you keep inspired and re-inventing yourself creatively?
I have only recently succumbed to the ever-growing popularity of Instagram opening an account under my business name drapershotme. Instagram has allowed me to follow some truly amazing people who are leading the way in water photography. The photos some of these people are producing really blow me away which helps to keep me inspired and my creative juices flowing. Sean Scott and Alex Frings (Alex who is also based in Byron Bay) are two water photographers that I get a lot of daily inspiration from.

What does Matt Draper get up to as a day job?
I have recently (last year) given up my day job as a builder to dedicate 100% of my time to my photography. People can find me shooting the beaches of Byron Bay to Broken Head, where I am offering waterman/woman professional photos of themselves and their surroundings. If you have received a wristband out in the ocean containing the address to my website ( there’s a really good chance I have a nice photo of you. You can email to preview your photo.

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Any hot tips for aspiring photographers?
Personally I find in this day and age a lot of younger photographers and/or people that are relatively new to photography get a little bit caught up in the idea that they need to acquire the latest and greatest camera gear. I really am a true believer of the best camera is the one that’s with you; you’re going to miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. The more you get out and shoot the more you will learn, dare to be different. 

You can follow drapershotme on Instagram –