“ THE OCEAN HAS SO MANY FACES. THERE ARE DAYS THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY SERENE, WHERE IT IS AS PEACEFUL AND KIND AS A LAKE AND THERE ARE DAYS THAT SCARE ME TO MY CORE, WHERE DANGER FEELS INEVITABLE AS I'VE BITTEN OFF WAY MORE THAN I CAN CHEW. THATS THE MAJESTY OF THE OCEAN; YOU NEVER TURN YOUR BACK TO IT, AND YOU ADMIRE IT FOR ITS POWER AND BEAUTY. ”
Morgan is a 30 year old photographer from Santa Barbara, California. His interest in photography started in his teens by experimenting with his family's home video cameras at the beach, goofing off with friends and exploring the central coast. He graduated high school early at the age of sixteen to concentrate and explore visual media more freely and intensely via as many mediums as possible. After working in the graphic design industry, he decided to pursue filmmaking and then photography as both a creative outlet and occupation.
Growing up in and around the ocean provided him with his favourite subject to photograph. Subsequently, the majority of his work is water related and involving the the oceanic lifestyle. He frequently incorporates his passions of travelling, nature, architecture and fashion into his work. While he strives to capture what he see as beautiful, this is rarely the perfect moment. Instead, he gravitates towards light, textures, and the abstract nature of the Earth, as well as the human element and the infinite variables of emotion that keep him on his toes when working with people.
He considers himself an active participant in the digital age. The internet has allowed him to communicate, network, and collaborate with people, places, and subject matters across the world. He enjoys working with both film and digital mediums, and motion pictures are the apple of his eye. He dreams of nothing more than visiting the next new country, capturing whatever beauty it may hold.
© Morgan Maassen
Q + A
Spotlight talks to Photographer and Filmmaker
Morgan Maassen about his passion for all things Oceanic.
ABSTRACT NATURE OF
Spotlight: What is your favourite subject matter?
Morgan: My favourite subject matter is the ocean. It's always changing, reflecting light and colours and textures in ways that nothing else ever can. It's such a powerful entity, one that I am truly challenged and honoured to photograph.
Spotlight: Is your preference moving image or stills photography and why?
Morgan: In the last several years I've really gravitated towards filmmaking, because it seems like an evolved version of photography. Photographs can exist so beautifully as a frozen moment in time, with so little context. A film is a collection of those, advanced by sound and narrative, and is so much more intricate to make. As i evolve into spending most of my time filmmaking, what i love is how there is so much synergy between both passions. While i may spend less time shooting photos, my process continues to grows in parallel to exploring the world of motion.
Spotlight: If you had limitless resources, what would you make a film about?
Morgan: Antarctica. My dream location to explore and document.
TO EXPLORE AND
Spotlight: Where is your go to surf spot and what would be in your quiver?
Morgan: I'm happiest at home, surfing some of Santa Barbara's pointbreaks with my closest friends. I really love surfing my Channel Islands Fishbeard, and have some other awesome boards in my quiver shaped by Ryan Lovelace. A close second is Tahiti. The power of the waves paired with the beauty of the ocean and mountains is unparalleled; however sometimes it far transcends my skill-level.
Spotlight: For someone that has spent so much time in the ocean, how would you describe it to someone who has never experience it?
Morgan: The ocean has so many faces. There are days that are absolutely serene, where it is as peaceful and kind as a lake... and there are days that scare me to my core, where danger feels inevitable as i've bitten off way more than i can chew. Thats the majesty of the ocean; you never turn your back to it, and you admire it for its power and beauty.
Spotlight: Do you have a preferred kit list or do you continuously update it with advances in technology? What are they?
Morgan: I am shooting almost exclusively on my Red Weapon camera now, with just my Nikon primes: 14mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.2, and 80-400mm zoom. A lot of the still work i share is actually framegrabs off this; but in my pack i always have my Nikon D6 body, which i throw the same lenses on for when i want to capture a photograph. I still shoot a lot of 35mm film, but totally at the whim of personal projects or unique subject matter.