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Meet Matthew Belter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Belter.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Matthew. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I had always been an aspiring photographer and at the same time a huge live music fan. I figured I’d try and blend the two together and become a live music photographer. This was approximately five years ago. I had no mentors at the time, so I jumped in head-first and tried to figure the whole thing out. With no real experience, my first big break came via Hunnypot Live in Los Angeles. I reached out to Jonn Anderson (Founder & CEO) to see if I could sneak into an upcoming show and he obliged me with full-access to his next gig. I hit it off with the team and began shooting regularly at his legendary bi-weekly shows at The Mint. It all started there and can’t thank John enough for believing in me from the very beginning. He’s truly a class act.

After a year of shooting Hunnypot Live, I felt like I had enough experience to request an official photopass for a major act and reached out to PR for Disturbed with a request. My initial response was a resounding, “No”. I respectfully thanked them for their time and amazingly enough received back a reply noting that a ‘spot’ had opened up in San Diego if I wanted to drive down to that show. That’s all I needed and was on my way. My first experience in the photopit was rough and with minimal experience to date, struggled to keep up with some of the pros I was surrounded with that evening. I had the bug from that point forward and the rest is history.

I believe I have gotten to where I am today for two reasons. First, I have put in the time to practice and perfect my craft over the years. I have shot shows across all musical genera and each has provided me the opportunity to learn something new along the way. This diversity keeps me sharp and relevant. Second (and most importantly), I surrounded myself with some amazing role-models which have taken the time to work with me along this incredible journey. World-class photographers like Matthias Hombauer, Igor Vidyashev and Jason Miller were instrumental in my growth and were always there for me when I had questions (and there were plenty of them). I’d also be remiss not to mention my good friend Steve Brazill. He’s a true master of all things photography and even a better person when all is said and done. Blessed to have him as a friend and mentor.

So five years in, I’ve had the great fortune to have interacted with some truly amazing people and have shot upwards of 1000 live acts all over the country. I’ve also been able provide to my client’s cutting-edge photos that capture the true essence and spirit of live music. My work has been featured on CD covers, in tour programs and has been memorialized across major music and news publications all around the world. That said, I do this not because I have to, but because I love to. There is nothing quite like shooting live music and it’s something that continues to get better with age.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Well, anything worthwhile is hard. If it wasn’t, everyone would be doing it. Challenges for me started off on the technical side. How to shoot in manual mode, live music composition, etc. I learned the most from world-renowned music photographer Igor Vidyashev. He’s a consummate pro and incredibly patient teacher. From day one, he was able to focus my bouts of impatience into a process that works for me. He literally ‘flipped the switch’ on my technical skills and creativity and I was off to the races from that point.

Another challenge I had was on the editorial side of music photography. I was never the best writer but worked hard to improve each and every day. Jon Meyers (Owner of The Vinyl District) has been instrumental in my growth and development along the way. He’s coached me from day one with a no nonsense approach that keeps my work focused and relevant to his readers. Jon’s one of the best in the business and his publication is second to none in the industry.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
As one might gather, I am a professional photographer specializing in live music. There is nothing better than being able to bring a live performance to life through pictures. My shots seem to capture the true emotion that’s live music and that focus has always been an important part of my work. I’m also laser-focused on providing high-quality content in a thorough, timely, and professional manner.

What you may not know about me is that I am also CEO of Bear Ice Company, a full-service ice delivery company here in Southern California. I joined the family business in 2015 after a 20+ year career as a retail executive and have never looked back. I guess I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and these endeavors allow me to live live to it’s fullest on my terms. I’m proud of that!

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in a stable family in San Bernardino. I was an introvert for a good part of my childhood and broke out of my shell in my late teens. I’ve always loved music and as a youth could typically be found in my basement spinning classic rock such as Sammy Hagar, Rush and my all-time favorite Van Halen. I also was a wanna-be jock who competed on my high-school varsity basketball and track teams. I was lucky enough to meet the women of my dreams back in 1992 and we’ve been together ever since. Tania’s one of the smartest and most caring people I know and has been a true supporter of my dreams since day one. Not sure where I’d be without her.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Matthew Belter
    2201 N Lakewood Blvd – Suite D244
    Long Beach, CA 90815
  • Website: www.iceboxphoto.com
  • Phone: 949-294-9570
  • Email: matthew@iceboxphoto.com


Image Credit:
Matthew Belter, Daniel Knighton/Pixel Perfect Images

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