Friday, May 25, 2007
Max Morse - Making Pictures
Although just beginning his professional career, Max Morse is already landing big jobs and in the process building an impressive portfolio of work
At a small bar in the Southern California beach town of Manhattan Beach, I met up with Max Morse to talk about photography, images and plans for the future. Morse greets me with a quick wave, taking off a pair of white sunglasses and casually tossing them on the table. We shake hands and he ushers me to a seat and a cold pitcher of beer.
Morse is a young photographer who only recently left the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, yet despite his youth, he comes across as a mature and seasoned professional. His career began, as many do, with a rejection. Morse had been in San Francisco where he met a photographer for the local sports team. After being told there was no room for him to shoot the game, he passed his card on to the photographer, who looked at it and said, “You have a great photo name.” Morse took that to heart and cultivated his image as a professional.
Discussing his approach to sports photography, Morse explains, “I was born to be a professional athlete; I just wasn't any good at sports. So now I play the games in my head when I'm photographing them. I love shooting sports. There's a routine to it that works for me. I get to the venue a couple hours early, get myself set up and work through what I want to do in the game.
I always have a good idea of who's in the game that I'm going to want to shoot and how I want to get those shots. Once the game begins, I work methodically to execute the plan. Of course, it's a game and not entirely predictable, but if I have a good game plan, I'm usually well-positioned to get my shots and the spur-of-the-moment action.”
While it might seem that the unpredictability of a sports event would enable a photographer to transition to fast-paced news coverage, Morse is quick to say that the two are very different. “The faced-paced, seat-of-the-pants kind of photojournalism that the news photographers do can be rough. That kind of work can make me flustered. With sports, I feel more in control. I was shooting some of the immigration protests that went on in Los Angeles this past spring, and when I was shooting those events, I felt like I was taking pictures more than I was making pictures.”