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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

Making Pictures While he has worked amidst the glamour of monster events like the Super Bowl and the World Series, Max Morse often prefers the less mainstream sports, which give him more of a chance to be creative as he's shooting. The pressure for the "hero shot" is off, and he can experiment with different techniques like light painting (previous page) and move more freely to catch a unique angle (right).

While at the Brooks Institute, Morse earned an internship with Sports Illustrated photographer Peter Read Miller. As an assistant, he learned to work with athletes in studio environments. Working on the sidelines with Miller, Morse also honed his ability to be in the right spot to catch the best action moments.

The notion of “making pictures” is what sets Morse's work apart from the hordes of other young pros in the same struggle to get work. It's also the reason he has started so fast on such a promising career. He's a picture-maker, not a picture-taker. Even in the demanding conditions of an event like the Kentucky Derby, Morse is calm and in his element, focused on making pictures.

Says Morse, “When I'm at Churchill Downs, I'm moving around and I'm really just looking to make pictures. I can look for colors and shapes, and when I see something that looks like it's going to happen for me, that's my kind of photography. When I'm doing an assignment, like shooting Barry Bonds or something, I have to be on my toes and I take what I can get; I like that kind of work, too. But when I can watch and observe and wait for the shot to come to me—it's like things slow down for me and I can make a picture. Maybe it's because I've been a sports fan my whole life, but I find it far more calming than the news scene.”

Making Pictures Morse says he prefers to be "making pictures" rather than "taking pictures."

The difference can be seen in images like this, where he spent the time to look for the perfect combination of shapes and colors. It's not the same kind of photography as going to a baseball game with a mandate to get a shot of Barry Bonds.

The Derby is one of Morse's favorite events to photograph. He's been to four of the big races at Churchill Downs. Each year when he travels to Louisville, his goal is to make one really special image beyond what he shoots during the race itself. “Because I'm there for a week, I can really spend some time on the backside of the action and look for what's going to work for me,” he says. “I come away with a few hundred bad shots and one that just happened. I get lucky every now and again I guess.”


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