Former student succeeds in career as a photographer

Matt Odom

Matt Odom enjoys telling people’s stories through unique perspectives. Macon’s photographer thrives in a career that doesn’t seem like a job to him, and he enjoys the challenges and everyday variety that his assignments bring.

Here are five things to know about this 2011 Mercer University diploma.

1. He started out in event photography.

Odom started out as a commercial television producer, where he learned basic photography skills and the tricks of the trade. While working full time as a child support enforcement officer for the state and then as a parent engagement officer for the Bibb County School District, he started doing club and late night photography, then weddings.

He wasn’t sure if he could be successful as a full-time photographer, but his surge came when he was fired from his other job. He started shooting for Macon Magazine, and his career took off from there.

“I just stayed with it. I am blessed to be where I am now, ”he said. “It’s one of those things where I love what I do. It doesn’t seem to work. When it doesn’t sound like work, that’s what you want to do.

2. His work varies from portrait to industrial.

Odom says he is known for his portraits but is a jack of all trades. He does industrial photography – taking photos of people working in industrial or commercial environments – as well as agriculture and architecture. His expertise in portraits runs through all of his work, as he captures people in their element.

Odom has just started a personal photography project on black farmers in the south, and he will be continuing a series on black hunters in the fall. His past personal projects include “Dawn: poverty profiles”, “Overcome the coronavirus” “Que-Riosity: Georgia barbecue”, “The push of the playoffs” and “The Kings of the Ring.”

“I love to photograph people who have great stories to tell,” Odom said.

Matt Odom is pictured during his graduation from Mercer in 2011.
Matt Odom is pictured graduating from Mercer in 2011.

3. He likes challenges.

Today, Odom travels the country for his work. He feels lucky to be at a point in his career where his reputation precedes him, clients contact him directly and he can choose which projects he wishes to pursue.

He has taken photos for prominent clients such as Bloomberg, Forbes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, NPR, Google, Comcast, Dell, Home and Garden TV, and Food Network. Odom couldn’t reveal specific details, but said he was involved in a “massive project” last fall that will be released in October.

“If I do something over and over again, I’m bored and want to move on. When I do that, nothing is ever the same, ”said Odom, who has also freelance work for Mercer in the past. “No one person I photograph is ever the same. No snapshot I photograph is ever the same. There is always something different and exciting about the shoots.

Odom’s proudest achievement so far is working for National Geographic, a long-held dream of him. For this assignment, he took photos of Bryan Stevensen, Founder and Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative. This project led Odom to later photograph The Legacy Museum for Stevenson.

4. He enjoys mentoring others.

Odom now supervises more people and enjoys being able to give advice from his professional experiences. He encouraged anyone moving into an artistic field to take business courses. Classes aren’t always glamorous or fun, but they provide a necessary foundation of financial literacy that will help a person navigate their career, he said.

Odom now enjoys teaching his first photography class at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. He said he always urged aspiring photographers to “hang on”.

“When you start out, you’re going to go through lean years where you have to make do. But after a while, it will fall into place, ”he said.

5. Mercer taught him to think critically.

Odom graduated from Mercer College of Professional Advancement in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in personal services. He credits Dr Margaret Eskew, professor of English in the Department of Liberal Studies, in particular, for helping him learn to think in critical situations.

Already a “human person,” his degree showed him how to work more effectively with others, and he applied this knowledge to the real world when communicating with his clients and assistants.

Stewart C. Hartline