Photo Spotlight

Photographer Spotlight: Matt Valler

Based in St. Petersburg, FL, Matt Valler is a photographer who works in everything from music to weddings/events to product photography. I really dig what he's doing in the music space and wanted to share his work with the No Echo readership via the following Photographer Spotlight piece.

Where were you born and raised, and were your parents into the arts?

I was born and raised in New Bedford, MA. My parents were not into the arts but were super supportive of everything I did. 

Bloodlet at Crowbar, Tampa, FL, 2018. (Photo: Matt Valler)

What was your first musical love?

My first musical love was Nine Inch Nails. Still Love them to this day. Than I moved on to the nu metal wave before I found hardcore. Once I got into hardcore, I was listening to everything from Unbroken to Piebald.

Gullwing at Crowbar, Tampa, FL, 2018. (Photo: Matt Valler)

What is your camera and post set up?

My current set up is a Canon 80D. Usually when shooting a show, i bring my Rokinon 10-20 MM, My Canon Nifty 50, and my Canon 70-200mm. My post set up is not unlike others, I use Lightroom and Photoshop. I love my current set up.

Gouge Away at Lucky You Tattoo, St. Petersburg, FL, 2018. (Photo: Matt Valler)

Who are some of your favorite bands to shoot?

Great question, I love shooting Horsewhip. Not only have we become extremely tight as friends but they legit are one of my fav bands. There is also Meatwound, they are straight joy to shoot, Switchblade VIllian, Vacancy... I could keep going. There isn't a band I have shot that wasn't fun. I love what I do.

Meatwound at The Bends, St. Petersburg, FL, 2018. (Photo: Matt Valler)

If you could go back in time, who are some bands that you would have loved to shoot?

Oh wow, I love this! Let's see, when I was young and going to shows in the Boston area, I wish i had my current set up I'd shoot Converge, Cave In, Isis, all those bands I was going out every weekend to see. 

Iron Reagan at Fubar, St. Petersburg, FL, 2018. (Photo: Matt Valler)

Is it getting tougher to carve a space out at venues since there are so many people shooting these days? How do you feel about that?

It's not real hard for me, because where I shoot, i am usually the only one shooting with a legit set up, so people in the crowd usually give me the space I need. People with phones usually are cool with me just getinng in there shot (although I try not to).

As far as how I feel about everyone shooting with their phones ... I mean, I get it because I enjoy a show through my lens, honestly. When I go to a show where I can't bring my camera (because of DSLR polocies), I usually have my phone out, but as someone who used to play in bands, I couldn't imagine looking out into the crowd and not seeing eyes or fingers pointing at me, but instead cell phones. 

Switchblade Villain at Tiny Town, St. Petersburg, FL, 2019. (Photo: Matt Valler)

Tell me about some newer bands that we should all be on the lookout for.

As I said above, Horsewhip are fucking amazing. I can't say that enough. Thorn from Tampa, FL are great, too. Vacancy from Tampa/St. Pete. Not so new stuff but still great but Meatwound, Switchblade Villain, Mosquito Teeth are always on throughout my day.

Thorn at The Bends, St. Petersburg, FL, 2019. (Photo: Matt Valler)

Who are some modern-day photographers that you admire?

This is funny, because photographers who read this prob wont dig this answer, but I love Peter Mckinnon, Evan Ranft, I don't follow a lot of people who do what I do. 

Wrong at Crowbar, St. Petersburg, FL, 2018. (Photo: Matt Valler)

If you had to pick one of your photos that best encapsulates why you love shooting bands/artists, which one would it be and why?  

There is a multi exposure I shot during a Horsewhip set at Lucky You Tattoo, As soon as I took it, I loved it. When I got home, I processed it and uploaded it. It's one of my favorite photos I have taken. Soon after that, the boys in Horsewhip asked if they could use it in their record, that was put out few months ago on Financial Ruin Records. So I saw that image go from a tiny screen on the back of my camera, to print on one of my favorite records. That was a great feeling.

Horsewhip at Lucky You Tattoo, St. Petersburg, FL, 2018. (Photo: Matt Valler)


See more of Matt's work on his website and on Instagram.

Tagged: photographer spotlight