About Matthew

A short history

I was born in Southwark hospital England 16 July 1975 but started living 23 May 1975 in Earls Court London, when my mother attended a Led Zeppelin concert.  She was 7 months pregnant with me at the time.  The first sounds I heard was the drums of John Bonham (Led Zeppelin drummer) to the opening of the concert with the song "Rock & Roll“.  I just wanted to be "Born" and see what the intriguing sound that fascinated me was.  The rest of my life I guess… was... awesome.

My first qualified photography course and paid job was in July 1995.  Thus far, I have received 16 National awards (South Africa) by recognised photographic institutions.  I also have various editorial published works nationally and internationally.

The way I see my photography; I have a high regard and respect for my subjects.  I treat them with the utmost sensitivity and care.  I am their voice and have to represent them.  Privacy is very close to my heart.

"Where does the name "Impacto Foto" originates from?  I am a firm believer that my business has to be influenced by contributions or people I meet.  I never liked the idea of attaching my name to anything and over glorifying myself, it irritates me.  I prefer to be seen as a servant rather than a boss.  In 2005 I was doing photos in Rome, Italy, when the Carabinieri (the most fashionable and aggressive police I have ever met in my life) stopped me and questioned me about my doings in Rome.  At that point in time it was the height of terrorism in Europe and no suspicious photographers were tolerated.  I tried to explain my being there but was told sarcastically "When in Rome you do what the Romans do".  I then grinned and gave my full co-operation.  I was taken to the nearest police station and my camera was confiscated.  Then the interrogation started.  After the one police officer and questioner viewed the footage on my camera, my photos were complimented and obviously, the convincing factor that I was not a terrorist and that "nuns" were on the menu for that day.  I cannot remember his precise words, but his tone of voice was calming and telling me that he was convinced.  Impacto Fotografia was the last I remembered.  I returned to my accommodation at St Lorenzo cemetery where one of the priests asked me why I was so late.  I told him the whole story and he asked if he could view the photos, I showed him and the exact same words came from his mouth, and that was it, if it was good enough for the Italians, it was definitively good enough for me.  Impacto Foto was officially my new name.  I sometimes use Impact Photography to root out confusion but it is the same thing.

Published work

National Magazines

  • Finesse
  • Destiny Man 
  • Destiny Woman
  • Baba en Kleuter
  • SA Flyer
  • Bruids Gids
  • SA Soldier

National Newspapers

  • Beeld
  • Die Son 
  • Rapport 
  • City Press
  • Volksblad

International Publishing

  • Janes Defense
  • African Flyer
  • Digital Photo


List of "mosts" while on assignment:

  • Frightening: With no doubt, the mine strikes at Marikana in 2012.  I was imbedded with the South African Defense Force and tasked to cover the story with photos.  This was no joke.
  • Awkward: Well, I have been arrested twice while on assignment by being at the wrong place at the wrong time with a camera.
  • Sad: Being in a war torn country like the Congo, documenting the pain and hardship people endure.  To see the evil in people and the chaos they leave behind.
  • Happy: This is a regular occasion, when bridal couples cry (and cannot stop crying) the first time they see one another on the walk down the aisle.
  • Most honoured occasion: I was the only photographer commisioned to take aerial photos of the proceedings for the funeral of former President Nelson Mandela. Photos were used by Reuters news agency and distributed worldwide.

While on asighnemnet in Rome Italy I visited my uncle Padre (Father) Carmine De Filippis. I always knew he was quite high in the Roman Catholic Church but his humbleness did not show any form of status. After having a discussion with one of the priests I found out that his Role as priest was actually played by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the Movie "The Rite". It is always a great time visiting him and the other priests when in Rome. His church and cemetery and Cimitero Monumentale del Verano  is one of the oldest in the world today.