Did you ever just sit in the midst of a herd of elephants? It’s magical. Joanne Matson, an American born photographer tells us about her passion for animals photography, nature, and Africa.
Tell us more about the artist that you are.
My name is Joanne Matson, I am 67 years old, born in Detroit, Michigan USA. I am a retired
Administrative Assistant for General Motors Research Laboratories. I have spent 34 Years working there.
#ElephantsMyFavorite | © Joanne Matson
A female wildlife photographer... Wow, how did it begin? Tell us about your story.
Years ago, a female coworker encouraged me to photograph as a hobby. We went on a couple excursions and she taught me how to be my own person with my own style in addition to techniques. My favorite subjects to photograph are wildlife, landscapes, and people. I have traveled to 59 countries and appreciate each one for their culture and beautiful people, whom I bring a little part of their heart with me when I return home.
Can you account for your preference for animals and nature?
I feel at peace when I’m in nature with wildlife. I have been to Africa (numerous countries) 14 times and feel like it’s home, where I belong. For some reason I have a connection with animals with no fear, only love in my heart (except for spiders and snakes). Animals do what they are supposed to do - they are pure, not vengeful, and just the way they are supposed to be. Elephants are my favorite. They are loyal, love of their family, and grieve; in addition, they are comical and peaceful. Did you ever just sit in the midst of a herd of elephants? It’s magical.
#WildBeauty | © Joanne Matson
How are you perceived by your male peers in the business?
I hope I’m respected equally by my male peers in the photography field.
How do you reconcile personal life and your profession?
Being retired it’s easy - just do what I love to do - photography.
What are the challenges you face in your work? How do you overcome them?
My only challenge is learning my Canon camera and, I have been attending photo workshops to enhance my photos.
#Predator | © Joanne Matson
Any scary moments?
Couple times an animal came pretty close like a lion walking straight at me while sitting in a safari vehicle with no door and turned just a couple feet away. A curious baby hyaena put its front feet in the same vehicle in front of me and was so tempting to pet it. What a moment. Two other things that have touched me in so many ways - gorilla trekking in Rwanda and David Sheldwick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi spending personal time with 26 orphaned baby elephants.
Tell us about your best shots. What story do they tell?
I’m hoping that each photo is self-explanatory.
What makes the peculiarity of your shots?
It’s definitely nature - if you don’t feel nature, then your photo means nothing - it’s just a picture with no heart, feeling, or appreciation.
"If you don’t feel nature, then your photo means nothing."
#WeAreNotPelicans | © Joanne Matson
Any milestones or awards yet?
Years ago I received a Defenders of Wildlife Award. Wasn’t even first place, but it made me proud and worthy, especially since I have no self-confidence (can I say that?).
Do you have any projects in the pipeline?
No projects, just waiting for next safari to South Africa in November.
A word of advice to those who look forth to you in the domain?
I hope that the people who view my photos feel the same passion and love for wildlife as I do. I’m not a writer, but hope they feel something - maybe a smile and appreciation of wildlife.
“I’m not a writer, but I hope people who view my photos
feel the same passion and love for wildlife as I do.”
Just imagine you are followed by a wild animal, what will you first think of saving, your life or your camera?
I would definitely save my camera.
I would also do anything to save an elephant. My heart breaks for each elephant (and rhino) that has lost their life due to poaching and human conflict.