As the five-month-old lion cub curiously swatted at the camera in Antelope Park in Zimbabwe, Matthew Littlewood heard an ominous crunch. The camera stood no chance against those powerful paws. Yet a cracked lens was worth it for the travel photography enthusiast, because he got the shot.
For Littlewood, photography has been a passion since he picked up his first black-and-white film camera in high school. Combined with an eagerness for exploration, his photography produces striking views of his perspective on the world.
“I want to inspire people,” Littlewood said. “That’s the reason I take photographs.”
Armed with a Canon 7D and an array of lenses, the talented 25-year-old has travelled to 37 countries in the last five years.
He has listened to lions roar outside of his tent in the Serengeti, run with the bulls in Spain, quad-biked the coastline of Santorini during its famous sunset, dove off the coast of Thailand and danced in the streets during Carnival in Brazil. He’s seen sights such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Machu Picchu and he has captured them all on camera along the way.
“I’ve always loved it, but never wanted to pursue it as a career because I didn’t want it to become a job,” Littlewood said.
Instead, he holds a degree in design from Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia. Through web design, he believed he would be able to fund his travel and photographic passions. But, he said, “the older I get, the more I just want to chase the photography thing.”
Although he specializes in action shots, Littlewood admits to spending a lot of time “waiting around and preparing for that split second chance at capturing something special.”
His photographs have been featured in the Gold Coast Creative annual magazine and the Argus online magazine. Recently, Littlewood produced a photo book titled “Find Yourself Lost.”
“People ask me if there’s a theme in the book, a progression to the story, and there’s not,” Littlewood said. “It’s just a big mess of the world that I’ve seen. It’s there to get lost in.”
Melissa Waters, a long-time friend and occasional travel partner, said that Littlewood is the ultimate traveller.
“There is no destination that man doesn’t want to conquer,” Waters said. “I believe his photography inspires those with aspirations to travel to finally get the courage to just go.”
Littlewood cited other photographers and travellers he’s met as his own form of inspiration. “I go and explore these places and I want to share the stories that I, and other people like me, have in the hope that it’ll inspire others to step out and try something new and grow a little bit,” he said.
“I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Oh, I wish I could do the things you do’ and they don’t realize they can,” he said. “It’s not the hardest thing to do, they just kind of have to do it, and I want to show people that.”
Littlewood doesn’t see himself as rich or overly affluent. He works hard to do what he enjoys, which is something the rest of us could and probably should take note on.
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To view more of Littlewood’s photography, check out his website Matthew Littlewood Photography.