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Matt Ebenezer
Katie Finn

YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT

March 3. 2014

One of the questions I get asked regularly at workshops and conferences is this:

“Where do you look for inspiration? Which photographers inspire you?”

I think people assume I’ll list the names of some big name rock star photographers. But I don’t.

Of course, there are plenty of photographers who I admire. But they’re not where I find my inspiration these days.

To find it, I don’t need to look very far from home. My family is full of inspirational people who I love, admire and respect.

There’s one little guy in our family who is definitely note-worthy.

Meet Shannon.

6 years ago today, on the 4th of March 2008, my cousin Dave and his wife Claire gave birth to Shannon.

Just a few days later, Shannon needed open heart surgery and sadly, he suffered a massive stroke.

Doctors said he probably wouldn’t survive. And if he did pull through, he’d be paralyzed and brain damaged for life.

This came as devastating news for Dave, Claire and the whole family.

Thankfully. By God’s grace, Shannon made it through.

He is now a happy, healthy, funny, full of life, totally normal 6 year old boy. To meet him today, you wouldn’t have a clue what a miracle child he is and what a rough start he had to life.

At his 6th birthday party this year, instead of getting presents from all his school friends, Shannon decided to do something different.

He asked his parents if, instead of presents, he could raise money for other ‘Heart Kids’ just like him.

So far Shannon has raised $275 … and counting!

Now THAT’S inspirational.

Shannon, you are a little champion and we love you soooo much! We are so proud of you for using what you’ve got to help other people. Big high five for you!

==========

As photographers, how often do we put other photographers on a pedestal for taking pretty photos of pretty girls in pretty dresses in pretty locations?

All while there are so many inspiring stories all around us, just waiting to be told.

Sometimes we’re so busy searching for inspiration that we overlook the stories that are. Right. In. Front. Of. Us.

I’d like to encourage you with this thought.

You don’t have to wait.

You don’t have to wait to be “successful”.
You don’t have to wait for that destination wedding.
You don’t have to wait to be a better photographer.
You don’t have to wait until you ‘know your camera’.
You don’t have to wait until you’re ready.
You don’t have to wait for someone to give you permission.
You don’t have to wait to be picked.
You don’t have to wait until you’re ‘good enough’.

You can start today.

Maybe you have a Shannon in your life. Maybe your next door neighbour has an inspiring story. Maybe your grandparents. Maybe a local charity, or one way overseas.

There are inspirational stories all around you. And you can start telling them now.

You don’t have to wait.

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I’ll finish this post with a really touching video Matt made 5 years ago after Shannon’s 1st birthday party.

Side note: If you’d like to donate to heart kids for Shannon’s birthday you can here: Heart Kids.

To tell Shannon you donated or even just to send him an encouraging birthday birthday message, just leave a comment below. We’ll make sure to read all of them to him.

~Katie.

Shannon’s 1st Birthday from Matt E on Vimeo.

Add Your Comment
8 Comments
  1. Adrienne said:
    Happy very belated birthday, Shannon! You are pretty darn cool. :) I hope you're having a great year!
    • Hello! I am a photography amature. I would like to thank you for this ggreat blog post. I really enjoyed seeing it. I have already signed up for your RSS feeds and would like to ask if you have and email list? wwould enjoy seeing your newqs inn my mailbox!! Thanks again!!
    • There's certainly a great deal to find out about this topic. I love all of the points you have made.
  2. Mike said:
    Happy Birthday Shannon, We can all benefit by following your fine example of thinking of others. God Bless & be well!
  3. Corinne said:
    Happy Birthday Shannon. You are a hero and a super young man. You are an inspiration and a blessing to your family.
  4. Malachi Garratt said:
    Hi I'm Mal, I wanted to wish you a Happy birthday Shannon! I loved reading your story and your video from your first birthday. I'm almost 6 too. Malachi :)
  5. Jodie said:
    Shannon happy birthday. Thank you for being Tristan's best mate ever. Xx
  6. Anne and Jon Finn said:
    Happy Birthday Shan! We are so proud of you and how you are helping other heart kids! Very inspiring :)

HOPES, DREAMS AND PAYING THE BILLS

February 26. 2014

In just over an hour I fly out for my 9th trip to America.

As a kid from a small country town in Queensland, Australia … that’s pretty cool.

To be flying out to speak at WPPI in Las Vegas – possibly the world’s biggest photography conference – that is amazing.

The small town I grew up in had a population of 1,000 people at the time. WPPI attracts 15,000 photographers from all over the world.

I think I’m one of roughly 10 photographers from Australia (that I know of) to ever speak at WPPI. Katie is one of the others. That’s even more amazing!

To speak and teach at this level is an honour, a responsibility I take very seriously, and a dream come true.

My Mum was a teacher. My Dad was a Pastor. Before I was born, they were missionaries in Papua New Guinea and Arnhem Land.

Teaching and helping others is literally in my DNA. There’s no denying that.

So, what’s this got to do with hopes, dreams and paying the bills?

I want you to know that you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. All three are possible.

Don’t let the negative people in your life tell you otherwise. These people in your life often disguise themselves as “realists” who “have your best interests at heart”.

Listen to them. And then ignore them.

A life without hopes and dreams is no life at all.

Dream.

Dream big. And then dream even bigger.

Everything Katie and I have done over the last 8 years?

It all started with a dream. And then we took action to make it a reality.

The crazy thing is, even with everything we’ve done so far, even with Katie getting hit by a car 2 months ago … we’re still dreaming.

Bigger than ever. You just wait and see 🙂

Add Your Comment
12 Comments
  1. Wise words Matt! Thanks for sharing :)
  2. Al Hegerty said:
    Matt, both you and Katie are amazing people. Our lives and indeed the world is is a better place for having you both a part of it. Enjoy your trip. You both deserve the praises and rewards you have received.
  3. Alannah said:
    You write beautifully Matt...Keep dreaming..both of you..x
  4. cathy said:
    Changing your own lives and the lives of others one day at a time, so love that about you guys....You are both definitely the Joy that this world is all about C xo
  5. Kelsey said:
    A-freakin'-MEN to that!!!! :-)
  6. Andrena said:
    Wisdom beyond your years Matt Ebenezer
    • Ken -
      He gets it from his Mother.
  7. Crap I love you guys :) Did you ever receive the cool pres I sent you last year, i never heard and now wonder if you got it xxx :) Hope so, was super cool ... Kerin xx
  8. Safe travels Matt! Blessings on your time in the US and if it happens, I look forward to meeting up with you!
  9. Amy said:
    You truly are inspirational Matt. One day I'll get to your workshops :)
  10. Lara said:
    Go you good things! Your positivity is brilliant and inspiring! I cannot wait to see what you're dreaming up next!
  11. Danny said:
    And que tears thanks Matt.

DREAM BIG, WORK HARD.

November 18. 2013

About 3 or 4 years ago, we were inspired by some photographers who were leading photo tours to other countries.

At the time, we thought “That’d be cool to do someday!”

Well … tonight at midnight we fly to Cambodia to lead our very own Photo Adventure Tour for the first time! We’ll be joined by 12 lovely people, some from as far away as Canada!

After the 9-day tour, we’ll have some down-time to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary in Cambodia. This will also mark our 8th year of working for ourselves.

Photography allows us to live an amazing life that’s full of travel and adventure. Best of all, we get to enjoy it together.

If we could go back 8 years and give “past Matt & Katie” some advice from “future Matt & Katie”, it’d be this …

“Dream big, work hard and never stop believing that anything is possible.”

Our next Photo Adventure Tour to Cambodia will be in May 2014. Let us know HERE if you’re keen to come along.

Add Your Comment
2 Comments
  1. I've been following your photography for awhile now and I'm so happy for you guys with this adventure. Can't wait to see the photos!
  2. Ken said:
    Have a wonderful, blessed time on your inaugural photo tour. AND have a lovely 8th wedding anniversary in December.