Matthieu Paley

What is bred in the bone will come out in the flesh! Born in France, Matthieu spent a good part of his early years in his family camping-car exploring various parts of Northern Africa, Europe and Asia.

Over the last 15 years working as a photographer, Matthieu’s passion for human nature has taken him all over the world, from sharing the life of the last true hunter-gatherers in Tanzania to documenting the isolation of Nauru, the world’s smallest republic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Following a decade of relentlessly documenting the harsh, unforgiving existence of Afghanistan’s Kyrgyz nomads, Matthieu shot his first National Geographic story in 2012 (“Stranded on the Roof of the World”).

Matthieu recently completed a global story for National Geographic on the evolution of diet. Traveling through 7 countries, from the Inuits to the Bajau, the Hunzakuts to the Hadza, Matthieu documented remote self-sufficient communities whose diet are free of food from outside sources.

Matthieu has published several books of his work and his fine art images have been shown in solo exhibitions worldwide. He regularly leads workshops for National Geographic Expeditions and is a lecturer for National Geographic Live.

Apart from photography, Matthieu uses video and writing to better open people’s eyes on our common humanity. Over the course of his career, Matthieu has learned 6 languages, helping him to instill a sense of intimacy into his images.

After living 20 years in Asia, Matthieu currently resides in a small village on the Aegean Sea, in Turkey. More of his work can be seen at