Matt Bagley in San Remo getting his gear on ready for a shoot

The story of Matt Bagley

Our Client:

Welcome to the Ocean.

Limited edition artwork by Matt Bagley.

“Giving people the chance to see the truth of human impact in both a sad but beautiful frame.”

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Discover the Unseen

Who is Matt Bagley?

Matt Bagley is a fine art ocean photographer based in Melbourne. His collections take his audience on a captivating visual journey of Australia’s Southern Ocean. They give viewers a unique experience of the ocean’s breathtaking beauty from above and below the surface.

The motivation behind ‘The story of Matt Bagley’

Our Director at The Tropics, Alec has worked with Matt professionally on a number of client projects in the past. This time, Alec took the opportunity to work with Matt on a personal level to capture him working behind the scenes on his latest top-secret project.

In the video, we hear Matt telling his story, while Alec captures intriguing details of Matt preparing for and working on his new collection, Discover the Unseen.

Matt Bagley preparing for his shoot, getting all his gear ready

On location at San Remo, Victoria

Captured all in a single day and night, Alec shadowed Matt in the small coastal fishing town of San Remo in southeast Victoria.

The Tropics wanted to film Matt’s process as authentically as possible. The San Remo Jetty is a special place for Matt and his family, having spent much time there over their lives.

It quickly became obvious to us that Matt is a familiar face here, with every fisherman we passed by on the pier asking after his father, promising gifts of duckfish and shark from their recent deep sea catch.

With his son Leo by his side, Matt moves along the jetty like it’s his home. Together, Matt and Alec worked through the storyboards, frames and desired spots for each shot.

Matt Bagley in the water building his set, wrapping a black backdrop

The shoot

While the sun was high in the sky, Matt and Raquel - Underwater Videographer and Safety Diver - captured the underwater shots while Alec moved around capturing people and life around the jetty.

Clear skies, light wind and a setting sun added to the look we were hoping for, which gave beautiful, natural contrasts and long shadows.

As Matt kept one eye on the moving tide, we prepared for the night shoot. There was a 30-minute window between the incoming and outgoing tide and everything had to be set up and captured within that time.

In the ocean at night, we were very much out of our comfort zone. We tried not to think too much about the stingrays and seals that Matt revealed would often come up to say ‘Hi’. It was overwhelming in every sense.

Matt began to build his set, wrapping the black backdrop and hooking up one of his discoveries from below. After much hanging, balancing and extreme focus, Matt was ready to shoot. Click. Click. Click.

Matt Bagley shooting on set at San Remo for Discover the Unseen.

The soundtrack

The soundtrack is an original creation by Alec, specifically for this production. It perfectly supports the video that goes behind the scenes of Matt’s latest collection, Discover the Unseen.

The collection explores the impact of human consumption on our oceans. It captures the beauty of nature and gives insight into how Mother Nature has reclaimed discarded ocean debris.

Similarly, the soundtrack carries light and dark moods supporting the awesome beauty of the ocean juxtaposed with the sad reality of careless human consumption.

Alec explores both minor and major chords in a way that creates a bittersweet, emotional yet ambiguous feeling throughout. The sustained major chords build on the suspense and intrigue of what is unfolding and the minor chords come in halfway through, translating the sadness and melancholy meaning at the heart of this project.

Matt Bagley shooting a discarded tyre underwater at San Remo for his collection, Discover the Unseen

The outcome

The result is a powerful, captivating production that not only goes behind the scenes in the making of Matt’s latest collection ‘Discover the Unseen’, but is also a story of Matt’s continued passion and connection to the ocean.

Marine life lives beyond the naked eye

Discover the Unseen

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A few words from Matt:

It was great to see Alec embrace the unfamiliar ocean environment, always up for a challenge.

There's a big difference between working with somebody and having somebody work for you. One of the key things that stands out when working with Alec is that he is not just doing his job; he is fully emotionally invested in what he is working on, no matter the subject. You are always working with him. I value his advice not only on the best way to capture the moment but also on how to improve it, how the story can grow, and what we can do to make it better.

There are many people out there who just point and shoot. They have great technological ability, and you can give them very clear direction to capture exactly what you want. However, there is also a special type of person who can truly think outside the box, think ahead, adapt, evolve, and push you and the project to be better. The project becomes more than yours, and so does the vision. When you work with people like Alec, he brings out the best in you and the entire team. That's what makes it special; that's what a true storyteller is.

You feel his obsession and his aim for the ever-elusive quest for perfection. He has true tunnel vision when he is working, sometimes to his detriment, as my 8-year-old son Leo said, "That guy would just not stop taking my photo." This is not the first and will not be the last project we do together.

Matt Bagley,
Fine Art Ocean Photographer
Melbourne, Australia

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