Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Photographer Jeremiah Morris Interview

Vintage meets modern is an easy way to describe the style of Jeremiah Morris, 

let's get to know him a little bet better...

Introduce yourself

My name is Jeremiah Morris. I am a photographer based out of Harrisonburg, Virginia. I am 23 years old, and I currently am attending James Madison University pursuing my degree in Studio Art.

How long have you been doing photography?

I started with photography in the summer of 2008, so I have been shooting for almost 6 years, but most of that time I wasn't serious or I was just doing random things with no clear direction. I have been seriously creating for the past two years I would say.

What type of camera do you use? 

I use a Canon Rebel t3i for the digital works, and for my film works I use an old fully manual canon camera. I am anticipating branching out into large format and experimental film works this fall.

What is your ideal camera (doesn't have to be real)

That's an interesting question and I don't really know. I guess it would be something which would allow me to create complete compositions merely from thinking about it, as most of the time the problems I have with concepts come from the fact that reality is something I have to deal with.

If you had to choose one lens what would it be?

Depends on the shoot, but generally something with a wide aperture range and preferably fixed focal length.

Do you prefer natural light or flash?


Indoors or outdoors?

Again, it depends, but generally outdoors.

Do you like working with models? Can you name your favorite model?
when working with models how can you communicate with the model to get her/him to translate your thoughts?

I do and I don't like working with models. They are one of the main things I find that hold me back at this stage in my career. Coordinating with someone to get him or her to come to some crazy location and wear something crazy and do something crazy is hard. I've been lucky and I've had a lot of friends who were willing to go to lengths to help with my art, but eventually I started breaking out of the molds created by only using people I knew, I want to use new people in new ways, but it's hard to find someone you don't know and get them to trust you on a level that a model needs to trust their photographer and vice versa. It's a scary thing for a lot of people. It can be intimidating. The best models I have are not people who can necessarily do a certain thing, but people who are overwhelmingly optimistic and enthusiastic about being in a collaborative art making relationship. I also love people who see it as just that too, collaborative. I want them to offer their insights and suggest something new and help the idea I started with grow into something we both created.

As far as working with models and communicating with them aptly, it is a really hard thing to do sometimes. I think there needs to be some understanding and chemistry between the photographer and the model, not in a romantic way, just in the way that the photographer clicks with the model on some level. It's hard to explain. I've shot with people and from the first frame it is so clear that this person gets what I am trying to do. These people will need little to no guidance. Other individuals I can spend half an hour working on one pose because they don't understand what I need and I don't understand how to tell them exactly what to do.

How do you feel about cropping images?

I know there are some purists who think real photography is unmanipulated and you have to be skilled enough to get exactly what you want in camera. I think there is some definite validity to that, but I think like everything, you have to make an artistic choice. If cropping suits what you are trying to say in the work you create, then crop away. But I think shooting blindly with no premeditation into what the final outcome will even remotely look like is something to avoid.

Do you like using actions?

( I assume you mean photoshop actions?) Not really.

Describe your favorite image taken by you. 

I know it may be bad, but I don't have a particularly favorite photo. I have several hanging in my room, but those always end up there because they are misprints. I go through phases where I am in love with what I am creating, and then I lose interest. I have to live with this work for so long and look at it so much that I start to feel like I've never created anything worth interest, and that makes me want to create something new, but also makes me want to never create again on some level. And I must say I share this anecdote not because I want sympathy or praise, but because I think it is something that is common among some artists and I just want other artists in the same situation to know it's not just them.

Describe your favorite image taken by another photographer. 

This is hard to answer too. I don't really have a favorite. I have favorite artists but not necessarily a favorite work, not in photography. There is so much to photography it is hard to compare the beauty of an Ansel Adams with the complexity of the message of a Cindy Sherman.

If you could be anything other than a photographer what would you be?

In a practical setting I would be a psychologist. In an impractical setting I would probably be an Egyptologist or Archaeologist.

What are you still learning? 

Who I am as an artist and what I want to say. It's been said that we can't create anything new in art, that every issue has already been tackled in some form or another. That thought is both limiting and incredibly freeing all at once. It makes me feel I should share my version of these issues, things personal to me, and I should try to connect to others through my art on a personal level. Opposite to that I feel I also should make broad statements about the world we now live in and what that means.

If you can photograph anyone or anything in the world who/what would it be?

I would love to go on a trip through America and do a series spanning every state. I would love to try and capture the soul of America in some form.

What movie/play/book/ music inspire you?

Everything inspires me. I guess I will share what most recently has inspired me. The last movie to inspire me was Her, the last book to inspire me was Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, and the last song that inspired me enough to create something was World Alone by Lorde, and that song inspired most of my Disconnected series. That series isn't on Flickr, as Flickr doesn't support gifs. Check it out on tumblr at jeremiahmorrisphoto.tumblr.com.

What inspires you the most?

I have to say I usually find inspiration in music while driving. I can tune out the real world to a certain extent and just focus on myself, my thoughts, and the concepts I want to explore in my art. That and nature. Nature is so important to me.

How can you describe your style?

All over the place. I don't know if I have found my style yet. I look at my work and feel like it's not cohesive, but I don't know.

Did photography change you? Your vision? The way you see the world? 
If you had magical powers (breath underwater/fly/be invisible) what kind of pictures would you be taking?

I think photography has changed me, it makes me look at the world in a different way. I enter into everything thinking about how it would look through the lens. I see the world for a collection of colors and shapes and cohesion of elements, which makes everything a little more interesting. I can find beauty and value in cracks on the pavement.

If you could meet with any famous person dead or alive who would it be? What would you say or do?

I don't think it has any effect on my work, but I adore Andy Warhol and would love to meet him when he was in his prime. I would love to chat about art, the art world, and what it means to be an artist.

If someone asked you how can i be you, what would your answer be?

Don't be me, be yourself.

Name photographers that inspire you the most.

William Eggleston, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus.

in some of your recent photos, you've mixed photography with graphic design, where did that come from? 

It just kind of happened organically. I wanted to abstractly represent the subject matter's interaction with the modern world, and for me the graphic design represents that. This is especially true of my found images project I'm working on now. I am trying to highlight the intersection of the past with the present and the connotations both of those words have.

your photos seem vintage, classic and romantic, would you call yourself an old soul?

I suppose so. I do love old movies, vintage clothes and furniture, and I have a record collection. I guess in those regards I am an old soul, but I would also say I am really interested in modern thoughts and problems.

Find Jeremiah at:
Flickr -- Tumblr-- Facebook --

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