Sean Morrow

Sean Morrow

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into photography?

I was born and raised in the London Borough of Camden and have a very academic background. After my first job out of University I very quickly realised that I wasn't ready to settle down and have a 'normal' 9-5 life. I then googled some destinations I could travel to that was coastal and offered some volunteer opportunities in exchange for accommodation. El Salvador came up so that was where I went. Just before I left, however, a good friend of mine was shooting 35mm film and I really liked his style of photography so I jumped on eBay and bought a cheap second hand 35mm camera to take with me. After El Salvador I subsequently travelled to all the other countries in Central America, continuing to shoot film. Alas, when I got my pictures developed most of them were absolute rubbish because I didn't know about the light meter that I had to follow in the view finder and to be honest, I didn't know much about aperture or shutter speed so a lot of my photos were heavily under exposed. Despite this, there were a handful of shots that worked, in particular shots that captured the surf lifestyle on the pacific coast. This provided me with the impetus to learn more about film cameras and photography so I could capture more moments along my travels. It also sparked a curiosity in me to learn a bit more about surf photography which brought me to Russell Ord's documentary 'One Shot'. This blew my mind and I wanted to learn more so I saved some money and headed to Australia and booked onto one of Vagabond's workshops on Bluey's beach and soon after that went on the North West Adventure headed by Russell.

What excites you about getting out there escaping & creating?

To me, escaping and creating is the ultimate high. Personally, there's no other feeling better than exploring a new place and creating great art. I grew up in a tiny small council apartment in central London and the only outdoor activities available to me were playing football on a small concrete pitch on my street. So growing up the only window I had to the natural world was the TV. This is why I've spent so much of my adult life travelling, exploring places I've never been and doing stuff that interests me. Escaping and creating allows me to live my childhood dreams. Vagabond photographic provided me the perfect opportunities to combine both the experience of escaping and creating great art simultaneously.

What fascinates you about the ocean?

It's other-worldly and its power can never be underestimated. The ocean can take away life just as much as it can give life. The juxtaposition of these two effects fascinates me and it demands the greatest respect. I also believe that this paradoxical nature provides the perfect backdrop to creating amazing art. For example, photographs of surfers illustrate this theme perfectly - whilst a big wave can hold destructive power, an experienced surfer could elegantly carve his/her way up and down the big wave thus creating a beautiful aesthetic against the inherent risk and potential dangers of the ocean. Capturing the natural beauty of an empty wave can provide an even more dramatic visual. It is the job of the photographer to capture these moments.

How was the Vagabond workshop at Bluey’s Beach last year, fav moments and what was the experience like sharing the ocean with like minded people and also getting to hang out with and learning from Warren Keelan & Russell Ord?

The Vagabond workshop at Bluey's beach last year was amazing. It was a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who share a passion for the ocean and a great introduction into what's involved in shooting ocean photography. Warren and Russell are incredibly accomplished photographers and they shared so much advice with us from the technicalities of the camera/housing set ups and optimising workflow to how to capture the colours of a sunrise on an early morning shoot at the beach. It was incredibly encouraging and inspiring to spend time with Warren and Russell and hearing their stories of how they got to where they are and being around other ocean photographers made the whole experience a memorable one!

You also came along to our Nth West Kalbarri/Gnaraloo Adventure… Pretty different to the Blueys experience! What were your thoughts on this trip?

Where do I begin?! The North West Kalbarri/Gnaraloo Adventure was really special. It was hands down the most beautiful part of Australia I've ever seen and to spend the week Russell, Tom and Hooky was just incredible. Firstly, I learned so much about photography in this week than I ever had. For example, Russell taught me how to shoot sharp images underwater with 35mm film, guided me with positioning in the water to capture the surfers and also taught me about light metering. Our conversations also went into how to make money while travelling using photography. So spending time with Russell gave me a real and raw education on ocean photography with the Indian Ocean as the classroom, not to mention the fact that we were blessed with some epic waves. Having Tom Carroll there really took this experience to another level. To share the ocean and take photos with Tom was just legendary and watching him surf up close in the flesh was something I never thought I would see. I learned so much about his holistic approach to life and the benefits of meditation, reflection and introspection. It was also amazing to have Hooky there too who I had met in the previous workshop at Bluey's beach. Hooky is an incredible surfer and an avid photographer so to share this adventure experience with him gave the trip a sense of familiarity and of course some hilarious stories!

If there was one destination you could travel to and photograph where would it be?

One place that has been on my bucket list for a long time is Iran. One of my best mates is from there and he has told me some amazing things about the natural landscape of Iran. Combined with it's ancient history and rich culture, Iran is a country that I'm desperate to explore with my film camera.

Where can we follow your work? (Website / Social)

IG: seanmorrow1


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing