Christopher Morrison is an award winning photographer and a part of At-Edge’s advertising group living in the heart Toronto with his wife Genevieve. He’s featured in Fixate exhibition organized by RAW:Toronto. On this occasion, I have the pleasure to interview him.
Photographer Christopher Morrison Interview:
“The appeal of the black and white photography”
Christopher Morrison, please tell us a bit about yourself and your universe?
I was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and raised in Halifax. I attended a Buddhist high school where the teachers really pushed me to follow an artistic path in life. I studied painting for a year at NSCAD before moving to Montreal and studying Philosophy at Concordia University. I knew after four and a half years of not following art that I wasn’t happy, so I attended Dawson’s Institute of Photography where after two years I graduated with top portfolio. I knew then that a life of creating art was what I was truly meant to do. I can’t imagine a day without taking a photo. This past year I won applied arts single portrait competition for 2017, and ever since then, I feel like doors are really starting to open for me.
Were you always interested in Art growing up? How did you come to photography?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been doing some form of art. When I was younger, sketching charcoal portraits was my main medium. I came into photography at NSCAD when I took a dark room photography class and the teacher told me I should become a photographer. I didn’t know it at the time but by having my teacher believed in me, it would change my life for the better.
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
Yousuf Karsh and Irving Penn. They made me realize that a portrait was about a feeling, an emotion; getting down to who the person truly is. I knew the second I saw their portraits that it was the path I wanted to follow.
What sort of photography do you specialize in?
I specialize in portraiture. I love human connection and being able to hear people’s stories. Ever since I was a kid, I have always been fascinated by people and their struggles and joys in life.
Do you have a favorite place or technique that helps you find inspiration?
I’m from Nova Scotia, so anywhere by the water. I find peace in the chaos of the waves. It’s like life: sometimes hectic and scary, and then in a split second, it becomes completely calm and beautiful.
What’s the message behind your artistic work?
The message behind my artistic work is to convey an emotion that people can connect with. When people look at it, I want them to be able to feel something authentic. The message is always different.
What are you currently working on?
There’s a portrait project that I’ve been developing over the last year. I’m hoping it will be ready to show this time next year. I’m working on a portrait project that I can’t talk too much about, but suffice it to say that I’m super excited to be capturing a piece of history. I’m hoping this will be ready to show by mid-2018.
What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
Emotionally, I take photographs because it helps me make sense of things. I know it sounds cliché, but our eyes can deceive us but the camera never lies. I truly feel a good photographer will try and capture the emotions someone is trying to hide. I can’t imagine not taking a photo throughout my day. I guess there’s a childlike love for it when I capture an image that truly makes me feel something authentic inside. When I’m behind the camera, I feel that untainted feeling of excitement like when you experience your first crush.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Keep it simple. That advice was given to me by a teacher at Dawson College. It was the first time I was really praised for my work as a photographer after I had decided to seriously pursue it. Ever since then, I have religiously stuck to that philosophy, and it has rewarded me time and time again.
You have been selected to participate in the upcoming RAW Toronto FIXATE showcase. What photographs do you plan to showcase?
I’m extremely excited to showcase some of my artistic portraitures. I’m hoping each image will give a different set of emotions depending on who is looking at it.