Los Angeles-based photographer Matt Shouse is at the forefront of a new generation of photographers that document the burgeoning industry of commercial fashion. Born and raised in Fairmount, Indiana, he has been able to effectively transform his childhood passion into a profession that captures a timeless approach to impassioned subjectivity.
Growing up on a farm, Shouse began shooting with cameras at the age of 14 while in school. The photographer recalls making homemade James Bond movies which eventually landed him in the newspapers. It not only opened a level of newfound confidence but paved the way for him to go to school for Film Production. Fast forward years later, Shouse moved to Los Angeles alongside three of his friends and the rest is history.
“I like my photography to feel natural and raw, in a sense. I don’t really retouch really, at all, and I shoot a lot of film. I just enjoy for people to be able to move and kind of just exist in this frame. I try to give the least amount of limitations as possible,” he shares with us. “It’s fun to work with fresh talent because, with a lot of models, everyone has shot them in town right which is cool. That’s a part of it, but it’s also fun to capture someone that hasn’t been captured so many times.”
Since embarking on his journey, Shouse has lensed a wide array of places and faces. Over the past year, he’s worked with fashion brands like Garage Clothing, activewear label Set Active, Fred Segal, Good American, and Mayfair Group among others. With much more on the horizon, the future is certainly bright for the photographer as he captures moments that speak to the youth and today’s atmosphere.
Ahead, Matt Shouse walks us through some of his most memorable photographs over the years, including intimate moments with family and commercial work he’s created with household brands. Continue scrolling to learn the story behind them.
So that’s my buddy, Becker. That was shot kind of recently last November. So I had my buddy from Georgia out here and he’s a video guy, right? So he’s always wanted to shoot with me. He’s like, “Let’s shoot something.”
So I’ll kind of set it up and he’ll run video on it with me. This was just one of those days where I wanted to try to bang out a couple of shoots in a day. I live downtown and was thinking what are some locations I could shoot at that are local to downtown.
This was one of those spots so I hit up Becker who’s also a pro skateboarder and we just shredded down the streets for an hour at the right time. I just liked the way this photo feels. It’s kind of classic LA. You can tell roughly by the cars when it could have been shot but there are not a whole lot of ways to date that photo. That photo wouldn’t change much maybe for 10 years, you know?
2. Jaron Baker
Now, these were shot on the same day, I think. That’s another location that’s like 15 minutes from downtown so basically, I just stack this day with a couple of shoots. That’s my buddy, Jaron and I was like, “Yo, let’s go shoot something.”
This is where things get dark. This is Jaron Baker, who has a pretty successful model and he’s a good dude. He died in a motorcycle accident in July. So all of these photos suddenly became much more important to me. He was always the nicest guy and he never really should have shot with me a few years ago when I first met him, because he just was doing bigger stuff. I was still figuring out my work, but he always like trusted me, and we’d rip around and shoot stuff.
I ran into him a lot of times, it’s out in the city. You know, sometimes you’ll meet someone, many times, and they don’t really leave a mark on you, right? Sometimes you’ll meet somebody maybe four or five times, and they left a big impression on you. And I feel like this guy Jaron always believed in me. We’d always get lunch after shoots and all this stuff.
That was like a tough loss for a lot of people. I mean, I can’t even speak for what his girlfriend and his family are going through, you know what I mean? But I just know what a mark he had on me in a short amount of time.
3. Balenciaga Hoodie
This is just a pure random thing. I was stupid and booked a nice job in New York. I was like, “I should get something nice for myself,” which is stupid, but whatever. I bought that hoodie and I was just washing it in my washer then I was like, “Oh, it’s like kind of sitting there perfectly.” I just took my little point-and-click camera and popped it. Ironically, that’s actually made a couple of brands’ mood boards that I’ve seen but that’s been cool.
5. Model Flipping Hair
The one below that is this guy flipping his hair on the rooftop. That was just at work, we were actually in an outdoor studio that day. I thought he had like a cool look and I was like let’s walk outside. I just grabbed my film camera and was like, “Do some kind of weird hair flip “and then I just love the mountain behind him and the light was nice. I thought it was a fun way to shoot something cooler other than just a white wall studio even if that’s what you’re hired to do. How can you find a moment to shoot something that you like, you know? And so that was that.
6. Great Uncle’s Chair
Basically, this was in the summer of 2017. I still go back to Indiana frequently because my family is there, and this was in my great uncle’s farmhouse. I flew back with this new film camera and I’m in his house. I don’t really have anything to shoot, but I wanted him to hear the sound of this loud shutter, right? Because it just claps really loud.
That’s of a rocking chair in his farmhouse and I shot it. That was the last time I saw him because he passed away a couple of months later. So that’s why I think about that photo because I think about him sitting there with me. You can’t see it, but I have an image that showed what we were looking at and I can picture the sound of that camera clicking. It just becomes more important later, you know what I mean?
7. Dad’s Suit
Since we’re all on sad notes, this here is my dad’s suit. Basically, his father died, and my grandfather, and I flew back for the funeral. It was during COVID so it was super weird. We’re all messed up. I’m in a separate hotel room, it’s this whole thing. Anyways, that’s in the bathroom. I was getting ready in the bathroom and then my dad had his suit hung up there before the funeral that he was going to put on. I don’t know, the fact that that’s my dad’s suit that he’s going to wear to his father’s funeral just felt like a generational portrait. It just felt important to me.
8. Set Active
This one is just horses in Montana for a brand called Set Active that I shoot for. They flew us there and that was like a crazy month of travel for me. I got back from a travel job for one day. The next day, I got on a plane to go to Montana with Bre, Emma, Juliet, and the brand people then we flew to Montana and shot for like a day. So that was cool. Yeah, Montana is sick.
9. Garage Clothing
I really liked this photo, because they rented this big lake house. This brand was sick because they would just let me do whatever I want. They would just basically give me a little set and I would just play. You know what I mean? In the end, I was like, let’s have all the girls jump in the lake and so they all jumped in the lake. This is a basically completely organic moment of me shooting them jumping in the lake and getting out of the lake. I just like how real it feels, like you’re by yourself at this lake house with these girls even though there are probably like 10 or 15 people all standing behind me holding cameras and who knows what.