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Friend of the Brand - Matt Shapiro

We chat about the crossover between visual arts and athletics with our friend Matt Shapiro

  • Words By:: Anna Binkovitz
  • Images by:: Matt Shapiro

While most people may not think of visual art and athletics as overlapping fields, for Matt Shapiro, they have always come intertwined. After spending his teen years competing in rock climbing competitions, he got his start running while working for an artist in New York City.

Name: Matt Shapiro
What you do? Sports and Lifestyle Photography
Where are you based? Flagstaff, Arizona
Where we can find you? Find me on instagram @Shapirothehero or at

“He was doing this project called The Space Program, and as a part of that we participated in astronaut exercises before work every day. I led this “Space Camp” on daily runs in the city, which challenged me to begin running, something I have always found really hard.”

One of these astronaut runs took Matt out to Governor’s Island for his first ever trail run – or, as he called it at the time “dirt running.” As he learned the true name of the sport, he also found out about ultra marathons, a level of competition he hadn’t known existed. After diving headfirst into 100k and 100-mileraces, Matt has spent the last few years bringing together his athletic and creative passions, shooting various athletic communities and events.

“It helps the creative side for me, to be able to do the sports I enjoy while shooting. That comfort with those environments makes things more natural.”

The fine arts and endurance running communities attract some of the same people: those who possess an intensity, who become completely absorbed in their work. So it has been natural for Matt to build close personal relationships in the long-distance running world. It’s a small community, and so Matt already knew Article One brand partner Nikki Hiltz when he was approached to capture their collaboration.

“Nikki is such an accomplished runner and so they spend so much time on the serious side of running… it’s nice to shoot them in a way that’s more fun. Every time we link up to work together it’s just a blast.”

Having a blast really seems to be the thing that keeps Matt coming back to the athletic space, personally and professionally. “This is my work community, and my sports community, and also just the people I would want to be spending time with anyways.”

So swing by a casual fifty mile ultra marathon, and odds are you’ll see Matt, either sweating it out on the trail, capturing shots of runners along the way, or just relaxing at an aid station. You’ll recognize him as the one wearing Article One x Mission Workshop, a style he says “hasn’t left my face” since picking them up.