Marvelous multiple exposures and haunting silhouettes, these describe Oliver Morris’ figments of film. He is thinking with each frame and is going analogue all the way.
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Oliver Morris. I am 18 years old and living in Hampshire, England. I’m currently studying English Literature, Modern History and Photography at Queen Mary’s College. My spare time is taken up with music and photography.
How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
I started seriously taking pictures about 2 years ago as my mum used to be into a lot of landscape photography whilst living in Switzerland using 6×7 film cameras and also using a number of old Russian 35mm cameras for documentary work. So while searching through my loft at the time I came across a massive box full of her old prints and equipment, creating an interest from there onwards. That year I started college and chose to take on Photography as one of my three A- level courses and I have continued to develop my work and technique as a result. My first film camera was a Pentax Super ME which I loved for the small amount of time I used it before buying a Canon A1.
Describe your style in photography. What are your usual subjects and themes?
I don’t think I can describe my style particularly well but I guess it is a mix of fine art and some elements of fashion all rolled into one. My subjects are usually people within a landscape using double exposures to make them almost blend in with the surroundings. I want to keep people interested with my images and I like to feel with this particular technique there is a number of different parts to the image rather just a simple picture.
Amongst your numerous film photographs, which is your favourite?
This is probably my favourite image I have taken – as the day I took this picture the weather was terrible everything seemed to be going wrong, the 120mm film in my Lubitel 2 snapped so I decided to use my Canon A1 instead and this picture was at right at the end of a roll which still wasn’t great, but I just had this exact picture/idea in my head and luckily it came out well and made the day worthwhile. Just a reminder to not stop when you think things aren’t going to go right for you! I was so pleased with it in terms of detail and the composition of the image and a lot of people who see my images always pick out as one their favourite which is usually the best indicator of when you are doing things right.
What is the soundtrack for your series of photographs?
Probably an album from Bon Iver called For Emma, Forever Ago – the album was recorded in a remote cabin out in Wisconsin and a lot of my images are inspired by Justin Vernon’s music, whilst most of my images being taken out in woods and landscapes away from people, so I think if I was to play music alongside the images it would be the perfect fit.
We all have our idols, which photographers do you look up to?
Locally I don’t really have a specific photographer I look up to but I have a number of friends whose work I always find interesting but Steve Gullick is an idol for me in the photography world. Although not directly inspirational in terms of creating similar images, but he takes a lot of picture of my favourite bands and creates some absolutely amazing album covers and promo pictures – so if you don’t know him check him out! You’ll be surprised how many images you recognise. Plus when I went to see Foo Fighters last month at a secret show in Camden for 500 people, he was fronting the support band which was very surreal!
If you could take anyone’s portrait using film, can be living or dead, who (would it be), which (camera would you use), and why?
I know it sounds pretty cliché and boring but probably Kurt Cobain – I love Nirvana and I think Cobain represented a whole movement at the time – as well as being an obviously troubled figure. There are a number of iconic images during his time on stage, so I think it would have been amazing to try a simple and stripped back shoot to try uncovering his actual character as a person through film portraiture.
Analogue vs. Digital. What makes analogue/film photography more special than digital?
Analogue all the way! Although I feel that digital has it’s time and place within the media of the modern day (due to ease of use) I just personally don’t see there to be any real challenge in digital. You take 1000 pictures cut it down to the 30 and edit the hell out of them – personally I feel like I am cheating myself when I do that. I also feel that with film I am constantly thinking with each frame – If I have a maximum of 36 pictures I don’t want to go get them developed and see that they turn out rubbish and have to go back to the location – so I think it gets the best out of anyone taking photographs. Also, when using the darkroom with B&W film and getting it right when printing, then seeing the picture appear on the paper, there is a real sense of achievement rather than just uploading onto a computer and opening up Photoshop.
Do you own Lomography cameras? Which is your favourite?
I own a Diana Mini and a Holga 120. Out of the two I’d probably say the Diana Mini, although I love the Holga, I find the Diana Mini a really cool way of documenting everyday life – I don’t see as a serious piece of equipment, so I just take it around with me and when I get a roll developed I catch a pretty interesting angle of just normal situations.
A lot of people are into photography today, what would you say to them to inspire them more?
I don’t think there is anything I can really say to inspire others as I look up to so many other people – but the one thing I would see is just keep on shooting take as many rolls of film as you possibly can and keep trying different techniques, as there so much to learn, especially with film. Plus don’t be annoyed if you get a rubbish roll developed figure out what you did wrong and keep on progressing!
Do you have any ongoing/future projects?
I’m currently part way through an exam project at my college focusing on ‘challenging conventions’ so I am producing some more double exposure work in line with this theme which will be appearing on my Flickr soon – so please check it out if you spare minute!
You may view more of Oliver’s work at flickr.com/lullabiestoparalyze.