Natural light is photographer Justin Morris’ muse. The way it plays on the water, preferably highlighting a surfer, is the what this Folly Beach-based artist lives for.
Whether he’s on his home beaches of South Carolina or in the boonies of Bali, Morris makes time for the light to work its magic. His craft is pointing and snapping his lens to capture a moment in time ... like no other.
How did you get into photography?
I have always been interested in photography, but it was really once I got my first dslr camera in 2010. I was working at a hotel with a buddy of mine who was shooting surf. I would pick his brain for hours to try and figure out more about photography and learn as much as I could. Shooting in the water was also a huge breakthrough, because I can take photos of our area that aren't very common. I really enjoy shooting surf and ocean photography, but also enjoy travel photography. I just love the endless possibilities that come with knowing how to capture photos.
Why Folly Beach?
Folly Beach is so special to me because of the people and general vibe of the island. I've been living on Folly the last six years and it has a way of pulling you in. I love the surf community here, and everyone is very supportive of each other. Artists will help each other out and it’s not so much a me-versus-you mentality. Living on the island inspires my photography because the island is rarely the same two days in a row. The light changes, the landscape changes, the crowds change and it’s always changing depending on the time of year. That keeps me on my toes.
What type of projects are you most interested in pursuing in the future?
I am very excited about a project/show called Animal Shred 2 that I’m doing with my buddy Kate Barattini. She’s very talented and creates killer paintings of human bodies with animal heads. For our show in August, I will be introducing photography with some surf-related shots of people wearing animal masks.
You shoot a lot of surf and travel. How do you emphasize and incorporate these activities into your own life?
Shooting surf and travel actually go hand-in-hand. There is surf all over the world and I'm always looking forward to my next spot to explore. I love going to new places. I love feeling out of my comfort zone. It has helped me grow as a photographer and as a person.
Coolest place you’ve traveled for work/fun? What destinations are on the schedule for this year?
I recently went to Asia for the first time and had a mind-blowing experience. I feel like I could go over there for a year and still not see everything I’d like to see. I’m trying to get back to Asia for true surf trip next winter, with my eye on the Philippines. I am also headed down to Mexico for Mexi Log Fest at the end of this month. It’s a very grassrootsy surf contest on one of the best longboarding lefts in the world. Last year I flooded my housing and couldn't shoot some of the most talented longboarders in the world, so I am excited to redeem myself.
Photography is a tough business these days. How do you think/look outside the box for new work?
Photography is a very tough and competitive market. I try and keep an open mind and do anything I can to make money off of my camera. That can be doing markets, selling online, shooting for brands, shooting weddings, product photography, etc.
Any advice for young artists just getting into photography?
Just stay true to yourself and shoot as much as possible. Constant shooting is a must to evolve and master your equipment. Shoot things that interest you and it will come naturally. Also, be a good people person, easy to deal with, so people will want to shoot with you and give you business. It takes no photographic skill to do that but it can take you a long way.
What do appreciate about the Nectar brand? Favorite Nectar style?
Nectar has always supported my photography. I love how the brand markets itself and that it’s affordable for everyone to enjoy. My favorite style is the Palms shades. They are great all-around glasses that I can wear to the beach—or to a wedding!
All photos by Justin Morris