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Artist of the Week — Erich Morton

December 7, 2009 by · No comments

Zlatina Dimitrova’s interview with the photographer Erich Morton

Erich Morton: Photography was just what I thought about increasingly over my life


Why did you get involved with photography? Why not any other art?

 My father was a photography enthusiast and I remember always liking his photos from his trips to India and France. I had a toy camera as a kid that used 110 cartridge film. I remember taking photos of sun and being surprised at how they came out so drastically different than what I was expecting. I don’t remember choosing photography over any other art. Photography was just what I thought about increasingly over my life.


 What do you get impressed by?

I have a folder of images that I like from other photographers, usually what makes it into the folder are images which use a monochromatic lighting without feeling forced or faked. It’s something I don’t use in my photography but I always like it when I see someone else do it well.

Small Wheel


 Are portraits hard to create?

 I don’t find portrait photography that hard. Portraits are usually a collaboration between photographer and subject. Sometimes there are discrepancies between how a subject wants to portray themselves and how the photographer wants to portray them. Some of the best photographers I know are good at their job because of their ability at working with or around that discrepancy. 



Where did the idea for underwater pictures come from?

I’ve made two sets of photos using models and an underwater camera. The underwater tea party was my girlfriend’s idea. Her memory of having pretend tea parties in the pool seemed very universal. I was excited to be able to depict it in a unique way. The idea for the red headed model was to make a set of images of models that in some way match their underwater environment. It’s something I’m still working on.


 Piece of art…

My favorite pieces of art in my house are a pair of photos by a photographer named Debra McClinton and a framed vintage postcard of my hometown Charleston, SC.



 I try to avoid over-thinking my goals in photography. Sometimes I look back on a situation and regret not having photographed something about it. Usually those situations are when I’ve come up with a plan of what I want to express regardless of what I was presented with. 



I’m a sucker for bright colors. After I’m done with the underwater project I’m working on I plan to work on a project in black and white or with more muted colors. I think of this as an experiment to force me to change how I see.



I had a week where I went snorkeling in the Monterey area of California every day. It was location scouting in a sense but I really enjoyed being able to get in the water and swim so much. The project I am working on now involves working with underwater flora and fauna and has become an enjoyable challenge.


What would photography look like in 20 years?

I think the major advances in photography will come about from the increased computational powers in cameras. Combined with the higher resolution of video these advances will make the creation of certain types of images much easier for future photographers. That kind of technology is going to make Cartier Bresson’s Decisive Moment that much more attainable. I think as devices with high resolution stills and video become smaller and more affordable, there will be some real social changes that come along as well.



Erich Morton was born in Charleston, SC in 1978 and moved to Oakland, CA in 1999. He studied photography at San Francisco City College. Since 2003, he has been making his living from photography with a combination of commercial and commissioned jobs as well a selling art prints.


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