“If I could say anything to people who need my product for their careers,” explained Matt Dunn, “I would probably say, ‘Your face matters and it was a gift given to you by God? You particularly as an individual are a miracle of his creation. Your face is an incredible miracle that needs the clarity, a way to differentiate you from someone else. I’m trying not to sound arrogant in all of this but it really comes down to, I am a powerful communicator with when it comes to a person’s face. I can see their magic, their potential. I know how to put it on a piece of paper so that an audience “sees their magic.” This is why many people I photograph continue to say I am the first photographer who really saw the real them.
“To actors and models, stop playing with fire,” Matt continued. “These are your careers. Don’t let five years of your life go by with mediocrity as your tool.” And Matt knows actors and models, having worked with many A-list actors in Hollywood and New York City supermodels along a career that has spanned nearly 2 decades.
Matt directs the subjects though his double doors on his studio “set” with ease. One might think a photo shoot would center on one subject, but in Matt’s style, anywhere from five to eight actors and other professionals are working. There’s spectacular group camaraderie and sometimes a diva with attitude, as is true with any Hollywood set—and this gives a reality to the experience. More importantly, the group shoot takes the pressure off any one individual and affords plenty of time for wardrobe changes, makeup touch-ups, and new hairstyles (some women go into up-do’s, while men may shave off their 5 o’clock shadows after doing some more rugged looking shots).
In the true spirit of community service, Matt wants to make sure parents have a good, current photo of their children should they need it in a time of crisis. “I feel so strongly about it. Any child under the age of five on the planet to come visit with us for 15 or 20 minutes and we will shoot them for free, and we do that in support of Amber Alerts,” said Matt. “We hope that nobody ever needs to use my picture for that purpose, but I do know, however, when I see the children who have been abducted, and their pictures on television,” he continued, explaining that often the photos available to the media during Amber Alerts are outdated.
“But what I love giving back to the community of actors and models, or people who need to have headshots for the purpose of career—what I enjoy so much about it is the glow in their faces when they see themselves on film through my camera,” exclaims Matt. It’s exciting to see that you’ve really touched someone’s heart about who they are, and I think if I have appreciated and learned anything, it’s that everybody really does have a unique gift, and I’m able to, through the camera, not let an audience see the photography side of it, but more importantly see the person who’s being photographed.”