This year (2016) I started producing
The History of Matt’s Models. – Part 1, Years 1999 – 2003.
“For 14 years, every single week, models and aspiring porn actresses would arrive at my door, come inside and strip naked. The first few years were what I refer to as the Glory Days of Adult Internet. It was all new, fun, exciting and mysterious!
I’ve always said the most valuable, lasting and endearing aspect of my site was the Audition Videos. They were a glimpse into each girls lives at that particular moment in time. Their stories were funny and fascinating; poignant and even tragic. I did my best to treat every model with respect. By using humor, compassion and understanding, I believe I was able to get the models to relax and be very open, both personally and physically.
There is something completely riveting about that little space of tension between the time a model sits in front of a complete strangers camera and when she undresses. When she finally unveils herself – it’s a surprise every time.
Looking back I can’t help but think how all these beautiful young women bared their souls and bodies for me and the Adult Industry.”
The original bio of Matt’s Models is below for anybody who really wants to read that historical document.
In 1995 I was working at a small advertising agency in Newport Beach, CA. Our client base was mainly “Audiotext” (Phone Sex) companies. I had developed relationships with some of the main Adult companies including Hustler Magazine and some of the adult industry photographers of the time.
One of my main clients told me to look into something called the “Internet” for possible advertising opportunities. Over the next year I became more familiar with the “World wide Web” and ran some phone sex and Bulletin Boards Service ads for clients.
In 1996, I left my job to start an online advertising agency for the adult industry. A friend of mine told me I should consider selling adult photos because there was a demand for it, and because of my access to the adult photographers in Los Angeles.
I contacted Stephen Hicks (one of the main Men’s Magazine shooters) for a CD of his photos, but he wasn’t selling content over the Internet – yet. Shortly thereafter he did put together a CD of 1,000 photos for licensing to adult sites. I cut a deal with him to sell the CD and placed ads on the Net.
I was immediately inundated with orders and clients asking for “Exclusive” material. I went out and found my own photographer and an agent who represented nude models. I became a “content provider” for many burgeoning adult sites. I was in fact one of the first adult content providers on the Internet.
At the time, “Amateur” nude models were a popular trend, and I was helping feed the demand. I spent much of the next two years watching my photographer shoot naked girls in rented locations all over Los Angeles and Hollywood, CA.
About this time digital cameras were emerging, so I bought a cheap camera and started experimenting on my shoots. I had no previous experience as a photographer but I had watched my photographer week after week. Eventually I realized I didn’t need my photographer so I fired him and started shooting my own photos.
I noticed that most adult sites were using the photos of the models along with fake bios and information about the girls. I used to call it the “dirty fantasy” usage e.g. “Jane is an 18 year-old dirty little slut who loves sucking cock” etc etc. However I had been hanging around these girls for the past couple years and knew that they were just your average “girls next door” trying to make some extra cash. I wondered if people would be interested in the REAL STORIES behind these girls? Plus I had been living a rather unconventional lifestyle and thought maybe that would interest people as well.
So in 1999
I started “Matt’s Models”
The early internet was rampant with stolen photos, and mine were no exception. I used to find my pirated photos all over the internet; sometimes with copyright still intact, sometimes with copyright brazenly removed. It used to (and still does) infuriate me. So when I started my site, one of the simple goals I had was to perpetuate the idea that THESE WERE MY PHOTOS.
I wanted to develop a style of shooting which was EASILY RECOGNIZED as MINE. Since the site would also be about my own life (to some degree) I decided to name it “Matt’s Models“. In addition, my own name on the photos was further affirmation that they were shot by me. I wasn’t really thinking about “brand name recognition”, but that’s exacty what I was creating.
As I look back now, I think it’s fair to say that in October of 1999, I truly had started one of the first REAL “Reality Porn” sites.
Although I didn’t have a master plan or even a business plan, I used my somewhat limited advertising knowledge to get the word out about my site. Much of the growth came from word of mouth, originally from stolen photos and later planted photos through free outlets like “Newsgroups”.
The amount of adult site competition in 1999 was MINISCULE compared to now, thus I gained lots of subscribers very easily. I actually spent little time and virtually no money marketing the site. Most of my time was spent finding cute new girls and shooting them. I had found a niche, kept at it and people were enjoying it. Matt’s Models eventually became the benchmark site for fresh, amateur, American girls.
As time went on, I didn’t change much about the actual style or technique of my shooting other than to upgrade digital cameras as they came out with higher megapixels. I shot everything with on-camera flash – no strobes. Because I was not a photographer by trade and I was shooting so primitively – my photos truly were “Amateur” looking. As my site became more popular, I often received hate mail from other “Glamour” or “Professional” photographers and photo enthusiasts. I used to take it personally, get all riled up and engage in arguments with my critics. Now I’m old enough to understand that most of that type of mail comes from JEALOUSY.
My style caught the eyes of a lot of people including a few celebrities and one of the most famous photographers in the world Terry Richardson (terryrichardson.com). I met Terry in LA and again in New York. He actually offered me a deal to publish a book of my photos through his publisher!
I will admit to being “equipment challenged” and not schooled in photography. However, In my own defense I have to say the following: In being as prolific as I was, through all these years, working with over 1,000 different models, shooting without assistants, makeup artists, lights or fancy locations; in other words: JUST ME AND MY CAMERA – I believe I am one of the most UNDERRATED PHOTOGRAPHERS on the net!
Whether you liked or hated my photos, one thing you can’t deny me is that I did DEVELOP MY OWN STYLE. I didn’t read books, I didn’t take classes, I didn’t try to emulate what others were doing (except the basic erotic poses in the early shoots).
Basically I would hire a model, grab a cheap location and start shooting whatever transpired. Granted I had some business requirements (quota and as explicit as possible) but I shot whatever I thought looked good. I let the model be herself as much as possible. If a model was doing something incredibly sexy, I wanted to share that with the viewer as accurately as possible. I wanted the viewer to SEE WHAT I WAS SEEING, to FEEL LIKE HE WAS THERE. I wasn’t TRYING to create or fabricate ANYTHING, I was trying to ACCURATELY CAPTURE THE REALITY OF THE INTERACTION BETWEEN ME AND THE MODEL. I developed a great method to get the most out of a model (especially new models). I also think I’m good at seeing the right NUANCES through the lens and CROPPING PROPERLY while shooting. So while I’ve never been a “photographer’s photographer” per se, I believe many of the things I AM good at it, are overlooked.
I kept the site solo girl until a couple of years ago when I started shooting some girl/girl and boy/girl material. If I didn’t do it – one of the umpteen adult sites starting around the corner would. In addition, the responsibility of managing Matt’s Models (recruiting models, producing photos and video, backend programming, updating, hosting, customer service, marketing etc) became more challenging. So I hired more people. While I now have help in producing some of the content on the site, the essence and style are the same, but with better production values.
A lot has changed since the inception of Matt’s Models. Internet Porn exploded beyond ultra saturation with huge companies buying their way into the pie (most of the sites are some version of a CONTRIVED “REALITY” SITE). There are literally millions of pornographic pages on the net. Porn isn’t taboo any longer, in fact it’s very mainstream. Jenna Jameson and Vivid are on CNN, Ron Jeremy is on the WB and Paris Hilton is in a Porn Video. What’s the world come to? ha ha.
Through it all I’ve kept doing what I do: Running my little homespun porn site. I feel like Matt’s Models is “the little porn site that could”, in spite of the bombardment of knockoffs and competition. I’m still here and plan to continue doing what I do best: providing you with fresh, amateur Porn girls every week – FOR REAL.