I caught up with latest recruit to the Freestyle Bristol team Cloe Morrison, fashion and music photographer who moved to Bristol to pursue her career outside of the traditional university route, to get to know the story behind her work.
Azélie: What’s your journey been as a photographer?
Cloe: When I was younger I had this kids camera I used to carry around with me, I was obsessed with that. Then when I was a little bit older I got a polaroid camera and I used to take photos of everything, random objects lying around the house, thinking they looked cool. I think I was trying to convey the way I saw the world visually. I dipped my toe in painting and art, but taking photos was something that I just loved. I started taking it seriously when I studied photography for sixth form – that’s when I really fell in love with it and realised it was something I wanted to do with my life. Mostly because before that, I didn’t realise I could.
In your portrait photos, you seem to place importance on textures in the fabric. Does fashion photography come naturally to you?
Fashion photography was the first thing I ever wanted to shoot, professionally. And it is still where many of my big goals are with photography, shooting magazine covers and dreams like that. But my struggle is I’m kind of split into pursuing goals that revolve around music photography and goals in fashion photography, but those are the ones that mean the most to me. I’m someone who just loves fashion, like, I LOVE fashion. I’ve worked a lot with a brand called Minski and shooting her clothes. I love the way the clothes become the base of the inspiration for the shoot and everything sort of works around that, almost creating a world based on something that somebody’s made.
As well as commissioned shoots, you’ve creatively directed your own series, such as Stolen Identity – what is the story behind that?
For a while I was doing a lot of series based on the concept of identity and I explored it in a lot of ways such as British identity. I explored other people’s identities and I was looking at it very externally. Then I was trying to see how I could explore my own identity, but without doing a series of self portraits because I’ve done that before, and that’s when I came up with the idea of putting my identity onto other people and having them steal it and shoot them as me. I started thinking about the idea of how easy it is to take and borrow things from other people and take them on as your own.
Stolen Identity series
Stolen Identity series
What is your process with choosing the backgrounds for your portrait photography? Some of them look very much intentional and others look more accidental but seem to say something about the subject.
When I’m thinking of these things, I basically just sit and mindmap in my head. I’ll have the person‘s identity, or whatever the shoot’s about, in my head. Identity is sort of the overarching theme of all of my photography. I’m trying to help people, brands or musicians convey themselves and their identities. I want to do credit to them. So I think about things that relate to them and that’s how I create these mini worlds.
Left: Alice, right: Minski Clothing
My First Time
Your Bond series seems to be about friendship. Are they real characters or have you created them in a way to symbolise something?
Yes the series is about friendship – female friendship – I wanted to explore the innate bond that we have as women and convey that through images. That photo on the train was completely candid, that was genuinely just three girls on the tube… It’s one of my personal favourites – I actually shot that on film and I remember when I got that roll of film developed, how excited I was when that photo came out because it just looks like a shot from a film.
It seems like your friends are very eccentric people.
Yes, definitely, I think it’s so important. I definitely surround myself with creative people. I love the fact that I can hang out with my friends and leave and feel inspired.
What are your dreams as a photographer? You talk a lot about creating worlds – where does that end up?
My big dreams are to shoot editorials for magazines. I have a list of people I would love to shoot for, brands I love like Vivienne Westwood, Gucci…I would love to shoot editorial for these people that I idolise because again, it’s this whole world-creating. When you have people and brands that have such strong identities, like identities already, creating a world for them is so fun. And then on the flip side of that is music photography, because I would love to still continue doing that, and honestly, to end up being someone’s personal photographer and go on tour would be amazing. I follow a lot of photographers on Instagram like shotbyphox and that’s what she does, throughout the year she will just go on tour with different people. Like imagine being Harry Styles’ personal photographer!
Left: Little Simz, right: My First Time