When I see Mallory Morrison’s work and attempt to describe it, I think the words that best come to mind are, “with held breath.” Her images capture tangible moments, stopping time in places we rarely get to examine. “My style is ethereal, romantic, and dreamlike,” she said, when asked how she describes her own work. “I like to create images that do not look like they are shot in reality. Almost paintings of another world. To do so, I shoot all of my work underwater in pools. I can suspend reality and movement in this environment as well as tell stories. Usually I shoot women and there is a lot of movement in my work because I have always loved capturing a moment that can never be exactly replicated- a fleeting moment.”
When you close your eyes and let your mind dream, what you see is very likely what Mallory puts to images. It’s no wonder her inspiration comes from her own sleeping mind. “My [inspiration comes from] dreams, props, illustrators, painters, graphic designers. Mainly I get a lot of my ideas from my dreams. I like to recreate them in water to help me process what was going on in my head.”
“My work is art,” she told me. It’s simply true, and it’s hard to argue with it. It would not feel out of place to see her photos on the walls of the Uffizi in Italy, but at the same time would still feel at home in the MoMa in San Francisco. “I like to create work that is open ended so that my viewers can interpret and connect with the work personally. To me, that is at the essence of art. It is living and morphing with every person who views this moment that I have setup and captured.”
“I started as a dancer for 24 years, and I started in photography shooting dancers. First shooting them on stage then I brought them into the studio. After a while I got tired of the cement box studio. I would always bring in trampolines to get them off the ground. It was so boring having them stand and even the jumping shots got boring for me after a while. I had a gravity problem! I thought of water as a solution to my problem. That was 7 years ago and I haven’t looked back.”
Mallory’s Favorite Gear
Mallory’s Advice to Emerging Photographers
“Learn the business side and/or have help from someone who knows what they are doing. I would say that assisting photographers that you admire is a great way to learn the business side of things. Being a successful photographer takes a few things- being technically a good shooter, being open minded and creative, and being a smart business person. You can’t necessarily learn the business of photography in a classroom. It takes a lot of hands on experience working with someone who is successful.”
“I have always been such an A-type personally that I want to plan everything and things need to go according to my plan. For those other A-types out there: being a fine artist as a career takes time and patience. This is a life long career that takes a lot of time to learn, grow, and mature into the artist that you want to be. Sales and recognition will follow eventually.”
“For both commercial and fine art photographers, knowing how to comfortably talk about your work- explain it and sell it is vital. his is something that I still have a hard time with, but it is something that we all need to be aware of and continue to improve upon. Photographers express their thoughts visually, and it may be hard to transition those thoughts fully into words, but actively trying to improve on it will be very beneficial to you in the end.”
“Having a great talent and niche is key, but knowing how to market it is essential for your success.”
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