MORGAN MAASSEN – THE MAKERS

Meet Morgan Maassen, surf/ travel shooter, world explorer and dog lover.

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Where do you look for inspiration?
In the realm of media, I look to reading, art, music and cinema. Beyond that, traveling inspires me on every level, and the ocean is everything to me.

 

Describe one of your most challenging moments shooting.
What flusters me most is external pressure. I've done commercial shoots where there were up to a hundred people on set and it feels like everyone is reliant on you producing good work. It's terrifying, and such a far cry from being solo in the jungle or ocean, shooting for pleasure. Sometimes I love the intensity of those situations, other times I want to run as far away as possible. That and the cold! I think the only time you'll ever hear me complain is when I am not adequately equipped for the snow or wind.

 

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done for a shot?
I've been circled by a bull shark, had jet ski's go over my head, been run over by a car, slipped out of my helicopter's seatbelt with no door...the list goes on. Stupid risks seem to be a constant in my quest to get the shot. 

 

What keeps you motivated/ excited about life?
Traveling, meeting new people, art, the unknown and I love to make things. I can't not be making something at any given moment, whether it's a film, drawing or plans for an adventure. 

 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned since you started photography?
The importance of synergy and interacting with others. Growing my ability in dealing with people has been huge for me, as I am a major introvert, and like to operate alone in everything I do. I've learned for better and worse that it's impossible to get anywhere in filmmaking or photography without the ability to interact with others and develop relationships.

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What’s your favourite photo (ever / at the moment) and why?
This photo of the mother & calf Humpback Whales swimming off of Tahiti. I was on a lifestyle shoot where we were zipping across the channel from Tahiti to Moorea, when we saw the calf playing in the water. I jumped in with my camera and watched it swim around, as playful as a puppy, yet still clocking in at a solid 5 meters long. Suddenly, it disappeared into the depths, only to return a minute later, ascending underneath its massive, 20 meter long mother. Not only was I dumbstruck but I literally couldn't breath as they drifted silently towards the surface. Moments before the mother's pectoral fin was within touching distance, I found my composure to snap this one photograph. They surfaced, grabbed a breath of air, and were gone with the flick of a tail... but this photo lives with me forever, a postcard of the most profound moment of my life.

 

Describe your favourite part of the world (aside from home) and tell us why.
Basque Country. I'm infatuated with their countryside, their culture, food and quality of life. The coastline and mountains are so dynamic and interesting to shoot, but to me that area and its people have life figured out in ways that the rest of the world will never comprehend.

 

Who is one of your favourite people to work with and why?
I really look up to Steph Gilmore for both her style and ability in the water, and character out of the water. It's incredibly special to be able to travel with someone and document them when, across the board, they inspire and incite happiness in you. Josie Prendergast, a young longboarder from Byron Bay, also has been  pleasure to work with. Her style and youth is a potent combination that's really pushed my work and appreciation for the beauty of surfing.

 

How do you want to be remembered?
As someone who loves traveling, loves dogs, and exploring everything along the way.

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