Tell us about how you got into photography and what sparked your interest?
The answer that I always used to give to this question revolved around something my friend Jay Dutton said to me, because I used to take a lot of photos on my phone, and I remember taking a photo of my friend Criso whilst he was playing with his band. I took it on my phone so it was pretty shitty. I think it was an iPhone 4 at this point. I remember showing Jay the photograph and he said “If you had a DSLR you’d be dangerous” – I liked that, so I decided to buy a camera. I used to cite this as the reason I got in to it, but in truth it was the last in a long line of things that pushed me towards photography. I grew up listening to Joy Division, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Black Sabbath and a lot of other darker stuff, and I remember loving the visuals for those bands – they were usually black and white, grainy, and they fit the music and the band’s personality so well. I played in a lot of bands over the years and never really thought that any of the photographers that took my picture whilst I was on stage got it right. We got Jay to start taking our pictures and it clicked – he brought out those black and white photos after our tours and it would be like looking at our shows again, through my own eyes instead of someone else. I never told him that, but it was awesome, and fully made me want to try and capture what I could see, and make it into that kind of art.
What influences your style and how long have you been in the game?
My style is very much influenced by the music and art that I grew up with. My parents were goths in their younger days, so I grew up seeing that imagery from all of those bands like the ones I mentioned before. I remember getting into bands like Nirvana, Slipknot, Korn and Deftones, and seeing that same dirty, grunge style in their imagery, and loving it. My style isn’t for everyone I suppose, but neither is the music that influences me – but I like it, and that’s all that matters to me really. I’d say that I’ve been a proper photographer for about three years, before that I was still guessing, getting it wrong and not really taking it that seriously. I never referred to myself as a photographer, until I felt I’d got to the right point.
You recently did a shoot with RICCO London – what inspired the shots?
The location we were in was an awesome apartment in London, and really, I didn’t go in with a specific idea or mindset. I rushed around the place thinking “Okay, what the hell can I do in here?”. The photos came out quite varied, because I bounced around the place a lot, changing my mind quite regularly – but I think that made things quite electric.
What’s life like being an emerging photographer?
It’s part creative burn-out, part lack of sleep, part frustration at other photographers, part missed family events, part gaping hole in your bank account and part social media slowly tearing what you thought you knew about social interaction to shreds. Apart from that, seeing your work out there in the world being used for cool stuff is always good, seeing it on billboards and being used in other countries is amazing. Like, thinking about how many people will end up seeing it and stuff like that. I’ve been lucky to be able to see that happen with my work.
What would you like to see from emerging brands and do you feel street culture plays an important role in your life?
Stop copying each other, invest in your art, stop thinking you’re awesome, you aren’t, get over the ego of owning a brand and just do good work. Stop using your friends as models, pay for the real deal. There’s no point in investing in one side of the camera and not on the other. Honestly, street culture for me is different to what I think most people would deem to be street culture. I grew up as a skater, so street culture for me was skate wear. Ripped hoodies, and generally looking like a wreck. I can see that culture creeping more and more into the mainstream nowadays, which is kinda cool but kinda not. The street culture I left behind is still very important to me, but street culture as it is now doesn’t really bother me, as I don’t like a good 99% of what I see.
Can you share some of the projects you’re currently working on?
I’m now fully booked until 2018, and the only thing I can really talk about is that I’m on tour with JAWS next month, so check out their social media and get to a show.
Are there any photographers around right now that are producing work you love or draw inspiration from?
Not really. That may sound a bit narcissistic, but I really try not to draw inspiration from other photographers. Creative people are like sponges, and we have a tremendous capacity to absorb what we see and what we hear and turn it into ideas. Because of that, I stay well away from other people’s work. The only photographer whose work I absolutely love right now is a guy called Ryan Muirhead, he is pretty much god level, check him out.
We noticed on your Instagram that you were showing a lot of love to the more traditional method of photography, shooting on film. Why is that?
I like being as varied as possible with what I do. I’ve picked up this weird thing, where if I love something then I go all in and I give it my absolutely everything and learn as much as I can about it. If I don’t like something, then I won’t bother at all. My Dad is the same, apart from the fact that he’s a biker who lives and breathes bikes, he could take them apart and put them back together without even thinking about it. Maybe I got it from him. So when I got into photography I wanted to learn it ALL, like when I listen to music, I go from listening to black metal, to hip hop, from jazz to ambient, from classical to blues. I’d hate for there to be a part of something I love that I don’t know. So that’s why I taught myself how to shoot with film. I love it just as much – if not more than digital – because just like all those genres of music, it is just another island in the sea of something that I love.
What’s next for @morgantedd, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I actually want to start doing some creative direction on projects. Obviously still working with my hands and my cameras, but I want to be more active in the conception of ideas for shoots and campaigns for brands. That’s not so much a goal for me, but more of an interest. I don’t tend to think that far ahead. Five years ago I was a retail grunt working for Apple, and I never thought photography could be a career. I was very wrong, so I won’t look that far ahead. As long as I still have a camera in my hand, my family, friends, my girlfriend and my dog, I’ll be happy.
By Ricco London - @ricco_london
Credits - @morgantedd
Contact - firstname.lastname@example.org