South Fayette man combines love of art and environment |

South Fayette man combines love of art and environment

Matt McIntosh is surrounded by some of his photography equipment while on location.

South Fayette resident Matt McIntosh has made a career out of combining his passion for the arts and the environment.

With a bachelor’s degree in applied media arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and graduate school education in Washington, D.C., he has held jobs as a magazine layout designer for a series of medical magazines, an art director for Scientific Consulting Group in Gaithersburg, Md., and a visual information specialist contractor for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is a certified scuba diver and a FAA-licensed drone operator.

McIntosh is the visual information specialist for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The position allows him to capture images in National Marine Sanctuaries, where the environment is protected.

The foundation sends him to places like American Samoa, the Olympic Coast in Washington, Cape Cod and the Florida Keys.

In early August, he traveled to Hawaii to gather footage and photography of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and to provide design consulting ahead of a Maui sanctuary visitor center redesign.

“My most interesting jobs are usually in the field, not behind the computer or with a paintbrush,” said McIntosh. “The clean water, the fresh air, meeting new people, spending so much time in the car or on boats with my team, being in new towns, seeing and learning about all the underwater life — this all combines to tell stories and educate the public using video and/or design about the environment and the sea.”

“One of my most difficult shoots was trying to get footage of humpback whales breaching in the foreground with the whale-watching boat in the background in waters off Provincetown, Mass.,” McIntosh said. “The whale-watching captain would constantly adjust his speed to get his boat closer to the whales, while the whales would never surface in the same spot. It was a constant guessing game to get my drone in the right position while flying from a vessel. I had to fly the drone safely while adjusting the camera, all while the wind is blowing one way and the currents are pushing another and the waves are rising and falling. I was very relieved at the end of the day when I reviewed the footage and realized I had gotten some great material.”

A different job entailed creating images of sharks for a graphic visualization. McIntosh created his artwork on a Wacom tablet, which is a computer that can be drawn and painted on. He also recently made a commercial, handling all the sound, lighting, producing, shooting and editing by himself.

In the near future, he hopes to start a media company. In the meantime, his creation of infographics, illustrations, paintings, publications, animations, videos and graphic design help to communicate important stories and information to the public.

“I am extraordinarily lucky that I get to do what I love for a living, a little something beneficial for the environment and the planet,” McIntosh said.

For more information and to see McIntosh’s work, visit

Categories: Local | Carlynton
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