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Photographers Whose Careers Ended After Freak Accident Seeks Help

By Hanssie on February 22nd 2015

It was a typical shopping trip. Katie, one half of the husband and wife photography team, Matt & Katie, had just spent a day with her mother doing some after Christmas shopping. Katie was putting the packages into the trunk of her car when another car backed into her and pinned her between the two cars. “Doctors and specialists said that another 3 to 5 more seconds of pressure and Katie would have been paralysed, or killed.

That was 14 months ago and Katie, who sustained severe nerve damage, is in excruciating pain daily. Before that fateful day, Matt and Katie were wedding photographers in Australia. They also had a passion with sharing their knowledge with other photographers through their workshops and gave their time to help a charity rescue girls from sex trafficking in Nepal. The couple would travel often, camera in hand to use their talent to benefit others. All that was taken away from Katie, who can no longer travel, shoot or work.



Matt carried the business for the better part of last year, but with mounting medical expenses, caring for Katie and watching their savings dwindle, the stress and pressure got to be too much and he suffered a breakdown. Matt was admitted into a mental health facility for severe depression.

Reading about Matt and Katie on their blog, one can see the love they have for each other and their passion for life. From bungee jumping, to pranks, each video they share in their ‘About Matt & Katie‘ section shows them happy and healthy. They end that section with a wish list of places around the world they’d like to shoot – Bali, Fiji, Vanuatu, Hawaii, London, Italy, Switzerland and Canada – now those dreams have been put on hold as each day is a struggle for Katie to even load the dishwasher without extreme pain. She is currently in a pain rehabilitation clinic to manage the pain, and that has helped. Matt, had to be readmitted to the hospital last month for a short stay.

As Matt and Katie work through the darkest period of their lives, their fellow photographer friend, Jamie Swanson, has set up a Go Fund Me account to help raise money to pay their medical bills and lost income. Please consider donating here. Jamie stresses that all donations on the page are in AUD and also that GoFundMe takes 7-8% of fees from donations – so please consider donating a bit more to cover that cost. All donations will go directly to Matt and Katie.

Last year, Matt shared in a talk with the attendees of the Canada Photo Convention and talked about Katie’s accident and offers encouragement to viewers to commit to live life with zero regrets. After the accident, Katie said that if she had died that day, she was happy to say that she could say she had zero regrets. What an encouraging and inspiring couple.

Again, if you wish to donate, please do so here. Please send prayers and positive thoughts to these two that are hurting in our photography community.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Vince Arredondo

    Very inspiring

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  2. robert garfinkle

    I will donate for sure… yes, inspiring. I will help out where I can. Thanks Hanssie

    In my life – A person who I consider to be, “The Yoda, of Yoda’s” of photography, my friend Phil, fell victim to a stroke in July 2012. Complicated by diabetes, in which he had lost the vision in his right eye years earlier – a blood clot, the stroke brought about the legal (legally blind) loss of vision to his left eye… This worsened matters, of course…

    While in the hospital during the first few weeks, recuperating, he was given medication which somehow dislodged the clot in his right eye, and now he could see out of his right eye – with correction. Talk about a tragedy and miracle at the same time…

    As you can imagine, for quite a while, my friend could not even talk about photography at all; His love for photography started with film, way way back, not doing it professionally, but for sheer enjoyment. Yes, he’d be asked to participate as a photographer in weddings / events, and said yes to a few, but never ventured off into business, as he felt it’d distract him from his enjoyment / love for it…

    He became well enough physically and mentally to get a new Camera, a D610, his first full frame, and just enjoys the heck out of it – he states he does not need much more than the basic camera, yet always wanted a full frame; notably, he is unimpressed by pixel count and could care less about the video aspect.

    The article above reminded me of my friend Phil, who in part helped encourage me to realize the untapped passion within me, got my camera a few years back – now all I have to do is listen to him and you guys here in this forum, and maybe someday, I can actually produce some decent content… :) as for now, I have fun with photography more or less – the “being good at it” is waiting to happen :)

    Phil has been well enough, recovered enough, to venture out to do nature shooting, and travels too. We occasionally hit the road now and then, to find stuff to take pics of, and sometimes along with his wife, who recently got her D7100 –

    just sayin…

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    • Hanssie

      Very inspiring! I’m glad Phil is back on his feet (so to speak) and back to his passion. Life is so short and we take so many things for granted. It takes stories like these to remind us that we have so much to be grateful for.

      I woke up last night at 2am after a nightmare that I wasn’t able to run or walk anymore. I went back to sleep being grateful that I have the ability to run at all. Life’s little reminders…

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    • robert garfinkle

      Thanks Hanssie…

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  3. Jason Markos

    As you say Hanssie – inspiring stuff, as well as heartwarming and humbling.

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    • Hanssie

      Very much so. In an instant, a life changed forever through no fault of her own. Scary and makes you remember to be grateful for what you have.

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