The Dark Side Of The Moon
Welcome Back

Hello, my name is Matt Jones, and I am a 26-year-old picture taker currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. For the 99 per cent of you who have no clue who I am, it’s a pleasure to meet you. And to the other 1 per cent – you lingering fans who have curiously contemplated my disappearance from the world of automotive things since last June – I’d like to formally announce that I am in fact alive, and that for the past 10 months I’ve actually just been shredding around on two-wheeled machines, hunting Bengal tigers in the most remote corners of Bangladesh and Bhutan while living on nothing more than the land itself and its own presented opportunities.

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Radical, I know. And what a total blast it’s been! But alas, reality has kicked in, bills need to be paid and the good folks over here at Speedhunters were once again in need of a native to the great Dirty South, who isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers in effort to exploit the unknown. So here I am – in full force and more mature than ever…

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Although, I’d like to advise that you not misread my maturity, as I’m still the guy who’s going to irresponsibly throw himself into the abyss to document whatever calamity is thrown his way. I suppose I’ve just matured in the sense that my taste buds have changed and my interests have flourished into a more thorough mindset.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m still a ‘car guy’ through and through. And considering Speedhunters celebrates all aspects of the automotive community, it would be wrong for me to negate any specific segment of that, right?

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I think what I’m trying to say is that my preferences have changed. Things that used to make me jump out of my skin with excitement, have seemed to become somewhat mundane.

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And that’s completely okay, because it’s a natural form of progression we all face at some point or another. But where exactly does that leave me?

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Well, I presume nowadays my motivation just comes from finding content that is so bat-shit out of this world crazy that it doesn’t even matter what I jot down and publish, as no matter what the genre, the portrayal of pure emotion and speed shall simply be enough. And that’s the way it should be.

Import Meets
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So, in light of my recent return I decided to drop a foot in the ol’e pond and attend the annual Import Alliance Atlanta meet held about an hour south of the city at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. You know, that awesome place that hosts NASCAR races, Friday Night Drags and a whole bunch of other petrol-fueled fun activities.

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Ahh, the nostalgia… Front-wheel drive burnouts, roasting clutches, parking lot chicken and middle Georgia bikini sweat. Can you smell it? I can! Oh, wait a second. I literally can…

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And after a 10-month hiatus, it didn’t take but 10 minutes for reality to set in – the reality that I am completely indifferent to what’s going on around me. Cars, yes, I’m certainly interested in those. Though just as predicted, my love for the import side of the culture has seemed to have faded.

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This doesn’t mean that I think it’s stupid or worthless, or something I’ll forbid to cover, as I still enjoy the sights from time to time. But it’s a taste thing. For instance, my roommate loves chocolate ice cream. I’m more of a vanilla man, myself. Simple enough.

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Yet oddly enough what really caught my attention is that I’d like to think that I’ve been attending shows like these for years, and after taking so much time off, this ludicrous hood may just have been one of the most interesting things in my mind. But why? That’s crazy, right?

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Or maybe it’s not that crazy? I guess it’s just that after you see something so many times, you tend to get pretty disinterested. And the moment you see something completely different, whether publically accepted or not, it excites the living hell out of you.

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With that said, I can tell you that at this meet there was your standard slightly modified NSXs, gold vinyl wrapped R8s and even a genuine Skyline or two. But in my eyes, what was new about this? This is something the good majority of us have all seen time and time again, and certainly something you can find on your own with a simple ‘#inserteventhere’ search. So why should I waste your time? I can’t. I won’t. Honesty has always been my best policy, and I’ll be damned if I don’t at least attempt to uphold that.

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So what I’m hoping to bring to the table in my return is character. And by ‘character’ I’m talking spirit, presence and real-deal emotion. Like that of an old 911 or a box Chevy which still has the original owner’s scent forever ingrained into the interior. Not specific to those cars and not bashing any others, but you get the point. Character as well as variety.

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As with this sort of character comes variety as well as originality. Not in the sense of, ‘look, this has never been done before’, but in the sense of bringing new content and fresh outlooks to the table. Because it seems that it’s in the moments that we step out of our comfort zones, that our eyes are finally opened…

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It is then that guards are let down. Discrimination and competition are thrown out the window. No longer are there cut and dry rivals, but community and fellowship amongst all participants.

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And it seems this way because at the end of it all, all of this nonsense is solely for the love of all things automotive. After all, building cars, racing so on and so forth is all supposed to be an art, isn’t it?

Getting To The Point
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Though through all of this editorial ranting about my ambiguity to the scene, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having a pretty decent time at the weekend’s riotous event. Despite hearing about how a vendor had over two grand stolen from his booth and how a car was stolen from the local motel, I got to see a few old faces, pin down a car that I actually felt send a shiver through my spine and even sneak a beer or four in my belly.

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But at the end of the day, I think I more or less walked away with clarity than a memory of a car meet. That along with a greater understanding of materialistic maturity and the progression that my heart is experiencing and the direction it’s moving, as well as how I would like to curate my content from here on out.

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So here’s to the future – the next generation of Speedhunting – where you’ll never know what’s about to pop up on your screen, as I’ll be aiming to surprise on all ends.

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Raise your glasses high to the clinically insane, the rebels, the misunderstood and the artists – for these are the individuals who will keep your heart racing and your ass to the edge of the seat…

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These are the individuals who will keep this passion alive and the progression steadfast.

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Shake and bake, baby. Shake and bake.

Matthew Jones
matt@speedhunters.com
Instagram: matthewjonesphoto

Cutting Room Floor
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63 comments

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1

This is awesome. Been a long time speedhunter myself and been waiting for a Atlanta based Speedhunter for a while now and here you are! Here in Atlanta there are plenty of events going on if you're in the loop that is.
Hope you bring some scenes I haven't seen here.
Leonard,

2

Wow, Matthew. What a breath of fresh air. I think we're going to be friends.

3
Gonzalo Uruguay

Excellent job Mathew!

4
Speedhunters_Bryn

Hallelujah. Now let's get back to having some fun!

5

As someone living in the south I'd be interested to see what other events you plan on attending throughout the year. You heading to VIR for Hyperfest or FD ATL?

6

Omg these starions are screwing with me i thought one was a white FC and another a silver mk2 supra I'm so confused.

7

Hooray for the underdogs!

8

Bravo! Welcome back Matt

9

sweet photos but....., every single one looks you have used some crappy instagram filter to try make them look old or something. Kinda like looking at photo albums from the 80s that have started to fade.

10

Is this the new speedhunters instagram feed?

11

Nice reference in the title.. I like that. A welcome back then! I appreciate this type of writing.

12

not a fan of the photography and I didnt get the point of the post, was it event coverage? Was it a short story? Or Neither?

13

Jason Hardy This would be considered an editorial.

14

TheRace Thanks man. Looking forward to getting back in the swing of things.

15

RBJKT Thanks brother!

16

FunctionFirst I'll most likely be at FDATL, but will be looking to cover the event in an entirely new direction…

I've got a few tricks up my sleeve. You just wait ;)

17

Paddy McGrath Thanks Paddy. Means a lot. This piece is a little choppy as it had to be toned back a good bit, but really looking forward to bringing some new things to the table.

18

Leonard Gousha I'm on it bud! If you ever feel like I should know about something going on thats generally pretty far from the norm, please don't ever hesitate to shoot me an email with a heads up.

19

Love your style! It's fresh, a little different but still the photography we love. Your colors are a little more artistic than the other guys. My next wallpaper is definitely in this post!

20

hypodermic The photos aren't really that sweet. Some are hit or miss, and some are WAY over the top, but thats also because there's actually a pretty strong underlying correlation between the images and the editorial.

I feel that with exploring new events, features and editorial outlets, I should also be breaking free from the "norm" or "standard" of automotive photography. I feel there are too many rules and far too many people saying an image of a car or meet must look a certain way. In fact, these days I'll almost believe I'd rather have one of my images publicly ripped to shreds than have it look like another photographers.

Anyways…who doesn't love the 80's? :)

21

Haha love the last pic! my friends kept telling me they saw me on speedhunters, and now I see what they meant :)
love the editorial though! Thanks for comin to IA!

22

Groovy! Can you say a bit more about your time spent down in Bangladesh and Bhutan? I'm not a fan of killing animals, but I can't disrespect the ancient callings of the human psyche... I'm more interested to hear about the "living off the land" part. What kind of places did you call home, and how was most of your food sourced? What kind of food was it? Sounds fascinating!

23

Nice article Matt, makes a refreshing change from the rest of the content (not that there's anything at all wrong with it), but you know what they say about variety...

I kinda liked the 80's themed pics, wouldn't want them in every article, but made for a nice editorial. Any more info on the miata, looks decent but I can't make out the URL on the windshield. 

Please tell me that the 'tiger hunting' was to shoot with your camera and lens, and nothing else!

24

Maybe its just me, but minus the excellent spread on that Mk.1 Escort, the last crop of articles have missed the mark. Anyone else?

25

Robo_No1 Look up KMiata.com I had to pleasure to see this car in action at the West Michigan Honda Meet on Gingerman Raceway last year. Granted it did not have that gnarly custom LoveFab header at the time but a very cool conversion none the less!
http://www.kmiata.com/home.html

https://youtu.be/yR4a7On7B3k

26

Robo_No1 more coming soon

27

@Mook Genius While I can say I've found a lot of the recent articles and their subject matter kinda boring, I also think the Escort article was the worst offender. I think the Advance workshop tour is the best out of the last few weeks. Different strokes for different folks

28

If you were going for a specific unique photographic style I didn't get it and the rambling editorial totally lost me.  Photos feel amateurish and the long winded editorial should be in S3.

29

@IA is boring It's been a number of years since ive been, mainly because of a disrespectful crowd. I agree with the instagram filters missing the mark.

30
therealnecroscope

I'm certainly primed and ready for some oddball stuff. Other than the bleach filter, most of this content fell a bit short of unusual. I love artistic expression with the photos. It's just as important as the subject matter.  Keep it up!

31

KeithCharvonia LOL! Bummer... People totally do exciting things all the time, so I had no reason to doubt him. Oh, well. :p

32

gliebau KeithCharvonia Haha I was kidding.

33

This felt like speedhunters hipster edition.

34

I remember driving past the motorsports park on my way down to florida to pick up some miatas! Wish i could have made it. Thanks for the photos.

35
howaboutwetryagain

wow, this was um... yeah, definitely not what I consider good.

36

cute filter bro..

37

speakethetruth But how are they hipsters? They all look alike? And they're into the same stuff? That's not hipster?
Or is that called hipster irony? people who try to be unique but end up around a bunch of other hipsters trying to be unique, making them all not unique? I don't know...

All i know is that I'm a one and only ultra hipster, cause my hipster level is at 9,000,001.

Oh... you know how everyone hates Iggy Azalea... Yeah well i like her ass OH BOOM HIPSTER LEVEL INCREASED TO 9,000,999!!!

38

@howaboutwetryagain agreed. I could barely read it.

39

i liked it, its honest.
plus not every article should be presented "Mac n cheese" to appeal to the suburban, bland, trend following, but quick to judge keyboard warriors.

welcome back dude :D

40

It's not that hard to read, and the pictures are still cool to look at (although the editing is quite heavy). I liked the article a lot and agreed with much of what was said. Thanks Matt! Glad to see you're back from such a crazy adventure

41

Why does it seem like this was all about your adventure and not about the cars?  While a self exploration journey is interesting there is no reason to belabor the point and go on about it...  plus the photography was mediocre at best; all of the pics seemed to be run through a cheap instagram type filter. Other wise the framing and detail would have been more appreciated. Nobody want to read about someone's douchey self indulgent travels with only vague unrelateable references with a real conclusion or meaning in the end.. I could have looked at someone's instagram feed and learned more about what was going on in Atlanta.  What happened at the show?  Was there an interesting car you liked?  A connection?  A builder w a story? How about showcasing somebody's hard word and dedication? It looked like there were some amazing machines there.

42

More on the rotary powered Corolla please.

43

Your pics are over edited mate. Too much vignetting, too much fading.

44

If you pay attention to the way the site and articles are presented to us here, and actually read all of the article, you'll understand that this is a builder for a feature.
I for one can relate to this article in many ways, and I don't think that makes ME douchey or self-indulgent.
To the author: I have felt the same way for a while when you talked about seeing the same things so many time and done so many ways that you get disinterested. We live in a world now where you can get printed in a magazine for having expensive wheels and airbags, and contrary to the way much of the scene has turned into, this does NOT make you a car enthusiast. (Not to say there aren't true enthusiasts living the hella flush "live to scrape lifestyle")
I find solace here on speedhunters because I can feast my eyes on the insane, outrageous, balls to the wall builds that are featured. And just like you did, I'm going to go out and look for that out of this world build and attend more meets and shows looking for something unique to get that fire back in my enthusiast lifestyle.
So in conclusion, looks like there's some hate flowing out right now, but I welcome you back!

45

Are these 35mm pictures?

46

speakethetruth lol exactly.

47

@Mook Genius What's funny to me is other than Escort articles on here... I have no real reason to visit this site anymore. everything else is meh...

48

Matt Jones FunctionFirst Tuner Evo in Charlotte!

49

this feels like your vacation pics, not a speedhunter article....

50

I liked the article, liked the pics.

Ignore those who didn't like it, they seem to think whole websites should be dedicated to them and their tastes, foregoing all others.

51

Edouard_Bo it's a look that actually suits this, he's done it on every shot and made you actually feel with his photos, I could swear these were shot on film even. too much commenting is the only problem here.

52

More of this please?

53

gliebau unfortunately that statement was a bit of cynical sarcasm. Although, in my period away, I actually did in fact flee to Honduras. 

I landed in the most dangerous city in the world — San Pedro. At midnight. I was forced to stay at the airport surrounded by military police until I could catch a cab at 4am to a bus station which pretty much reflected a weathered war zone. From that point, I rode a chicken bus for 4 hours to the coast, where I caught a ferry to Utila. 

From Utila, I hopped on a motorcycle for the first time and absolutely fell in love. No helmet. No shoes. No laws. The rest of the adventure consisted of hunting and eating iguana. Partying with the locals. Exploring the island on a dirt bike as well as diving into and exploring underwater caves with nothing but a mask and a flashlight.

The return home is a story on its own….like the fact of how the military pointed a gun in my face, told me I could not walkaway, or I would be killed by the locals. 

Radical indeed.

54

so much passion in this post, love it so much

55

Nice to meet you Mr. Jones, I appreciate this article. I love the fact that the emphasis is not on cars only. Car culture is something that has not been covered as much on Speedhunters lately. I would love to read more stuff like this and get completely lost in the nostalgia that exists at such events and the pure excitement surrounding the culture as a whole. Sure car features are cool, but that isn't the only reason I come to Speedhunters. More please.

56

brianelmore181 amen

57

How weird I was looking at some of your posts the other day wondering why you had gone.

Speak of the devil I suppose.

58

mah eyeeezzzz! @ ___ @

59

ALTHOUGH I FEEL THE SAME, I found this hard to read even in the midst of my boredom. It feels...condescending? For jaded readers a jaded writer is not the answer. Need enthusiasm.

60

hocuspocus "You could've looked at someone's instagram feed and learned more about what was going on in Atlanta"…My point exactly.

61

HE'S BACK!!

62

I personally loved the rambling dialogue you had going through this post, as it perfectly captures how I've grown to feel over the past few years about the import scene.
As they say in the art world, it's better to be hated than to be ignore
Glad to see you back and at it. Looking forward to your new and different perspective on the automotive scene.

63

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