Matt Antulov and his identical twin, Lucas, were once cute kids in tiny tuxedos holding a giant cheque at the 2007 JDRF Sydney Gala. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at just 20 months old, Matt and his family have had a long-standing relationship with JDRF. Matt is now 17 and a bit taller than you may remember. What has he been up to since his days as a JDRF’s Youth Ambassador?

We caught up with Matt and his mum Sandra (below) in December at the White Rhino art space in St Leonard’s. School had finished for the year for Matt, and he had braved the morning traffic from their Malabar home to practice for his driving test – he’s about to go for his red P plates. We’re at White Rhino because Matt is an up-and-coming photographer. He’s been asked to display some of his works in the current exhibition.

Matt and Sandra

Matt is humble when he talks about his artworks. He took his inspiration from famed Sydney photographer Aquabumps, and is mostly self-taught. His images are a mix of traditional and drone photography and they capture the quintessential turquoise water and golden sand of the Aussie coast. Three of Matt’s large images are displayed in prime position on the gallery’s stark white walls, capturing your attention as soon as you walk in.

Outside of his photography, Matt is an active middle-distance runner for his school. He takes after his mum that way, as she is a runner too. Sandra competed in the Big Red Run, raising funds for JDRF in 2016.

Matt talks about how he manages his type 1 diabetes when he exercises, but doesn’t dwell on the negatives. He makes it sound simple – he checks his blood glucose levels beforehand and disconnects his pump to run. He also tells us about life as an identical twin, when one has T1D and one doesn’t. The twins regularly get questions about this, including why Lucas doesn’t have T1D also, and if he will get it. But, this doesn’t worry either of them too much.

After meeting with us, Matt was off to spend some time on his major art project for HSC. He plans to try his hand at some portrait photography for this, and he’s already been practicing his skills using his sister and mates from school as his subjects. He’s also looking forward to getting involved in wedding photography in the new year.

Matt is keen to connect with us again in 2019, donating one of his beautiful images as a Gala auction item. We look forward to following the Antulov family’s journey as Matt completes his final year of school and goes on to do more incredible things!

You can see Matt’s work at @mattyantulov on Instagram

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