MEET. Marc Morrison

APA_Willie_Nelson_11© Marc Morrison

Meet Photographer and APA | SD member, Marc Morrison.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
Wow pick the top 5 — that’s a tough one but here it goes

@shayanhathaway – site for photographer Shayan Asgharnia his unique photographic eye and many topics that make you think🤙🏼
@yeserodrigueztx – site for an amazing aerial/drone pilot/shooter – did I mention that she is my better half?
@ramonarosales – site for super talented celebrity portrait photographer
@aphotoeditor – site where Rob Haggart assists in keeping all of us visual artists relevant
@strayrescuestl – site for St. Louis Animal Rescue. Really I have no ties to St.L but I’m passionate about animal rescue and what they are able to accomplish on such a grass roots level is nothing short of lifesaving!

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
Another impossible question as this is a never ending list. Honestly it truly depends on who I’m shooting and where we are. Right now if I had my choice I would be spinning the new Run The Jewels – RTJ4 while mixing in Rage Against The Machine’s live record. When I’m shooting a musical artist I always touch base with their management to find out what they are currently listening to and go from there.

Who were your biggest influencers?
Albert Watson, Richard Avedon, Gordon Parks, Annie Leibovitz, Herman Leonard, Jim Marshall, Pennie Smith, Mary Ellen Mark, Les Stone, James Nachtwey and most importantly my mother who always had a camera with her and is responsible for my early interest in photography and the arts.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
The best piece of advice I ever received was “You want to be a photographer? Ha! Forget about it there are already too many and you will never make it”. I was in university for photoj and working part time selling stereos. I made it my business to know the names of most of the photojournalists and commercial photographers in the city where I lived at the time (I’ll only say it was in Texas).

As it happens photographers love their quality stereos so I found my self face to face with a bunch of the local photographers. I can honestly say that knowing most of them was almost enough for me to change my career path.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I was super fortunate to be able to attend university and find my passion straight away. After graduation I continued selling stereos while shooting for UPI wire service and stringing for the two major papers in town at the time. After about a year I was able to go freelance 100% and I have been doing so ever since.

What do you want people to understand about the industry?
This is complex for me to answer. I’m currently mentoring two photographers in different stages of their lives. I believe that I’m doing everything possible to remain positive given our current professional climate. I believe now more than ever one must possess not only a tremendous level of proficiency in photography but you must have an unbridled passion as well. Every photographer I personally know is having to scale production sizes way down to meet budgets. This in turn means much more responsibility falls on our shoulders.

I recently read an interview on “The Luupe” featuring Annie Leibovitz’s manager Karen Mulligan. In the context of the interview she says “The budgets of ten years ago don’t exist anymore. It forces you to be more creative and become more collaborative.You have to think – if Annie doesn’t have those budgets any longer than what does that say about the rest of us?
To understand our business is to understand the technical aspects of photography as well the legal, financial, promotional, logistical and people pleasing skills we all must possess to make a run at being successful and oh yes take as many motion classes and workshops as possible.
If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
If I had the skill set I would be a drumming for a band that produces original high energy sound such as Slaves or Viagra Boys. When we were not recording or touring I would be working with every animal rescue organization that could use my help.

What do you do when you get stuck?
I get on the mountain bike and hit the trails hard. The beauty of riding on rocks and roots is that you can only think about what you are doing at that time. Once you take your mind off the ride you pay the price big time. It’s great to clear your head and ride off last night’s pizza and beer at the same time.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
Oh heck yes about a hundred but a few are: Disgraceland, Crimetown, Heavyweight, Noble Blood and The Ballad of Billy Balls

What is your best advice for your peers?

1 – Do not burn any bridges as the world is so much smaller than you think.
2 – Never accept a shoot unless you are 100% jazzed about it and willing to put in 100% effort
3 – Do not argue with a creative. If they envision one thing and you another — always give them what they are looking for and if there is time – shoot your vision as well. This is especially true with a new client and maybe next time around they will have more faith in you taking the lead.

What advise would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
Seize opportunities when they present themselves. I have been incredibly fortunate so far in my career as I have been sent all over the world on assignment. I think of the 20 years of traveling to some of the most beautiful locations in the world — and only a handful of times did I ever build in extra time to be a tourist — dumb, dumb, dumb.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow so you should absolutely make the most of your opportunities.

What do you see yourself doing in five years?
Within the last 5 years we have seen a sizable uptick in requests for motion along with stills projects. Adding a high quality very experienced video production team was one of the best decisions we have made. The ability to respond to so many different creative opportunities should keep us busy for many, many years to come.

To read more about Marc Morrison visit our website.
To view more of Marc’s work you can follow along here.