Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Mahlstedt.
Hi Matthew, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My mother is an amateur photographer and I picked the skill up from her at an early age but it was mostly just a hobby. I didn’t even have a real SLR camera after leaving home. Then after a breakup, I decided to treat myself to an SLR that I had always wanted. At the same time, the company I was working for as a graphic designer needed a product photographer which I took on. I then started moonlighting to earn some extra money so that I could pay off my student loan quicker. Then I had another breakup, and this was the kind that just kept on breaking you. I needed to change up my life, so I left the full-time position with the company I had been with for over 11 years and started my own business at the end of 2018. 2019 went pretty well as my first full year working for myself and then I got hit with a one-two combo of the Covid pandemic and a serious injury from a motorcycle accident. Fortunately, a good friend of mine needed help at his motorcycle shop, skills I picked up from my father, and that’s helped me ride out the pandemic while I try to re-establish my photography business.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Well, Covid was obviously a major setback but my motorcycle accident was much more detrimental in a long-term outlook. The accident severed the tendons to my quad right above the knee which required surgery and nearly a year of physical therapy to recover from. My style of photography requires lots of running around, climbing, and flexibility so when the accident happened, I was very fearful that I’d never been the same photographer as before. The recovery was extremely challenging as well as keeping myself isolated during the height of the pandemic to ensure that I could go to therapy regularly.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I think my specialty as a photographer is that I don’t specialize in anything. I try to be as well-rounded as possible. I’ve done weddings/events, journalism, commercial, and fine art. I know the printing side whether it’s digital or darkroom, I know the technical dry science side and I know the ethereal creative artistic side as well.
As for what I’m known for… Well, my business name sums it up, That Baltimore Photographer. Whether it’s the places, people, events, or just life in Baltimore this city is my muse and has been the foundation of my oeuvre.
And for what I’m most proud of, that would be the work I’ve done with non-profits. Events like A night to shine, which is a prom for people with special needs, doing holiday portraits for families with autism, and even doing pets with Santa for the Maryland SPCA. Those are the endeavors that not only feel the most satisfying but tend to bring out my best work.
I set myself apart from others. And really, it’s the same topics that I mentioned earlier about not being a specialized photographer. The two most common questions I’m asked as a photographer are “How’d you get into photography?” and “What do you photograph?”. I usually respond to the second question with a checky little photographer’s joke of “The same thing as every photographer, Light.” The concept that you’re not a Wedding photographer or Fashion or a Landscape tends to confuse people in my experience.
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
No, I’m still trying to figure that one out on my own. Operating solo has always worked well for me. And most of the photographers I’ve admired have long since passed so I tend to read their biographies as a means of learning from the masters.
- Email: ThatBaltimorePhotographer@gmail.com
- Website: ThatBaltimorePhotographer.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thatbaltimorephotographer/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThatBaltimorePhotographer/
All photographs were created by myself and are the copyright of That Baltimore Photographer, LLC.