Neil Morris is an Art of the Blur member and has been posting his work to the group since late 2017. Neil lives in East Yorkshire and was brought up in Leeds during the 60’s and 70’s. He enjoys many styles, but especially portraiture. Many of his images have a black and white, grungy feel to them.
Neil started with a Mamiya SLR but today owns a variety of cameras. However, he continues to shoot film.
Read on to find out more about Neils thoughts on his work and on photography. Be sure to follow his work by clicking through to his social media spaces. Thanks for sharing this with us Neil.
AotB. Tell us a little bit about you – where are you from – where you grew up – what you do – likes – dislikes?
I am 55 and living in East Yorkshire but was brought up in Leeds in the 60’s and 70’s and still have a nostalgic vision of those times. Apart from photography, I still love “Northern Soul” and Lambrettas and Vespas of which I own 3.
AotB. How did you first develop an interest in photography and can you describe that “moment” when you knew that photography was something you just had to do?
I had a Mamiya SLR back in the late 70’s and just took snaps, then I read an article in a magazine on how to photograph children by getting closer and using candid techniques. This peaked my interest but I let it go and didn’t own another camera until the early 2000’s when I got a point and shoot which I used for snaps. Then one day I shot some reflections on a rippled steel wall and that was it – I was off and soon decided I wanted more control.
AotB. What kind of photography is your favourite and why?
Portraits without a doubt. I am a people person and can talk to strangers in the street easily. I enjoy the interaction in creating images that show something of the person I am photographing. I tend to feature portraits in all the groups I join such as abstract, blur, Lensbaby.
AotB. What type of cameras do you shoot with and why?
I have a Nikon D7100 for most uses, I prefer the Nikon bodies as all their vintage lenses fit. I have a Fuji XE-2 mirrorless that is fantastic for carrying around and so easy to use. It is like a real camera and looks like a rangefinder so people are not intimidated by it. I have recently started shooting film again so have a Zenza Bronica medium format, a Lubitell 166 twin lens reflex and a Zorki 4 35mm. I love using film as I feel it really grounds and connects you to the subject.
AotB. What is it that interests you most about photography?
My brother was a great painter and drawer. I was never very artistic and tend to think in lists, grids and straight lines. Photography has allowed me to free my mind and explore my own creativity. My main inspiration and favourite photographer is ‘Saul Leiter‘. His use of colour when every “SERIOUS” photographer was using black and white combined with his use of mirrors, reflections and steamy windows is simply sublime.
AotB. What is your favourite photograph that you have ever taken? Show and tell us something about it.
This is my favourite photograph. I was doing a Clockwork Orange style session with Ellie, my friends’ daughter. It was thefirst time I had used off-camera flash and was a momentous moment when we saw this on the back of the camera.
AotB. How would you describe your style?
I don’t think I have a specific style. I flit around the genres like a butterfly but carry the ethos that is my Instagram bio –
“I can see reality with my eyes so I like to use my lenses to step outside of that”
That may mean shooting from a different angle or shooting through plastic, clingfilm or using double exposures. I don’t use Photoshop but do use Lightroom and sometimes Nik Analogue FX to get a deeper, darker look. I particularly like their glass wet plate looks.
AotB. Do you have any formal training in photography?
Not formal but I initially went on a 10-week basics course at night school which gave me a good grounding with regard to the exposure triangle. It introduced me to thinking about colour, tone, form and composition. I have also done a one day course with a professional photographer on off-camera flash which was a revelation.
Aotb. If you had to choose one lens, which one would it be and why?
As I shoot with a crop sensor Nikon, I would choose my 35mm f 1.8 as this is a fast lens that effectively gives me 50mm field of view. It’s a great all-round lens and with the use of adjuncts such as prisms, clingfilm, steamy glass, etc will give me the look I strive for.
AotB. Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so, what do you have your eyes on?
I said earlier that I have just got into shooting medium format film so I have acquired a developing tank and am exploring the idea of a film scanner and a good quality printer. This would satisfy my desire for the feel of film. but afford me the opportunity to develop digitally.
AotB. What gives you ideas and inspires you to create your imagery?
I am inspired mainly by imagery from old films such as film noir or the French greats like Vivre sa vie, and I pay homage to Dadaism and the surrealist artists.
AotB. Name a favourite website you visit often and what online spaces do you use to promote your work?
I often search the internet for inspirational imagery and this is my main motivation for joining groups such as “Art of Blur” where sharing my own images is equally important. I haven’t really explored the whole showcasing thing and am only on Facebook groups and Instagram. My name, @neilorangepics is a play on Neil Neil Orange Peel from The Young Ones.
AotB. Tell us about something you’re still learning?
I think I need to spend more time observing, maybe go out without a camera and look at what I could capture, and how to observe the light, composition and tone. This image shows how this worked. I had passed this bridal shop and it brought to mind Miss Havisham and how she is trapped in her wedding dress as was this dress in the shop window. I stopped and wondered how I could set her free in an image. The result is a long wide-angle exposure with some zoom out to draw the light through the glass as if escaping.
AotB. What would you say to someone just starting out with photography?
It’s not about the equipment it’s about understanding light and how to capture it and your vision.
AotB. Some photographers say that they see the world differently and that they have a different perspective on life. What is your perspective on the world and on life?
We all interpret the world differently and present our images in line with our own experiences, emotions and abilities. I think we should all take more time to try and understand how these variables have resulted in the images before us and show more interest and appreciation.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Neil. If anyone else would like to share something with the members, feel free to contact us here. If you’d like to ask Neil something or just leave a comment, you can do so below.
You can see more of Neils’ work at the following spaces.