Welcome to the world of Morgan Tedd. Having found his work through brands like Dark Circle and GVMNT, it was easy to realise that I needed to pay close attention to what he was doing. After following his work for a little while, it was clear to me that I just had to ask him if he fancied answering some questions. Evidently he said yes, so here we are. Here's how it went...
I know that there will be some people reading this who are yet to discover you so please can you give us a brief introduction...
My name’s Morgan Tedd, I’m 27 and I’m a Photographer / Videographer from Birmingham, England.
Straight to the point, I like it. So what does a normal day consist of in the world of Mr Tedd?
Every day is different, which is one of the amazing parts of working as a creative. One day can be just chilling out at the office with good coffee and editing, other days I can be up and down the country shooting for all sorts of different and awesome people. Every day is unique, as cheesy as that sounds
What are your top three interests?
Photography (No duh right?)
Right, with all the formalities out of the way, lets get into it. How long have you been into photography and what was it that got you into it?
I’ve been a photographer now for three years, but I wouldn't say that my interest in photography ever really started, like one day I just said “Oh cool now I like photography”. It’s more that I've always loved creating things, making stuff for myself and for other people to enjoy. Music was actually my life for years, I have always played in bands, and done a decent amount of touring, my degree is also in Music, not photography. Through music I met a lot of photographers, including one of my best friends J.Dutton, who is an amazing photographer. He’s the guy who really pushed me towards actually picking up a camera, and turning that creative spark into something more. I remember I took a photo on my phone at a show, and I showed him and he said “If you had a DSLR, you’d be dangerous” and that’s something that’s stayed with me, and it's the sentence that made me want to give it a try.
So it's basically a part of who you are rather than a hobby you have. That's awesome. I know that you also do some video work, did that come along with the photography or was it something you decided to give a go a bit later?
Video actually came along before photography, part of my degree was based around audio-visual concepts for avant-garde/music concrete pieces, so I bought a crummy little camcorder and started making weird visuals for very abstract music. That’s what launched my love for making music videos!
Ah ok, that's interesting. Maybe that is why photography is something that you have excelled at as you are used to making videos consisting of numerous frames and now you need just the perfect one. Knowing that you have shot for brands like GVNMT and Dark Circle and have recorded a number of music videos, what has been your favourite shoot to be a part of so far?
Damn, that genuinely is quite tough! Although I love the GVNMNT guys, and the Dark Circle gang are family, I’d say my favourite shoot was actually with an artist called Doug Hyde. He is a truly lovely guy who appreciates art and the artist making it, whether that’s creating images with a brush, a pencil or a camera. I have a fantastic working relationship with Doug, and he has been a massive support for me coming up as a photographer.
That's great man. I'll have to do my research on this Doug guy, he sounds pretty damn awesome. Considering you’re a fairly new photographer/videographer, what would you say has been the hardest/worst part about it? And also the best part?
The worst part is the little voice in the back of your head that tells you “No, you can’t do this, I mean dude, look at his work and her work and his work, they’re all AMAZING at what they do, you’ll never get there!”. I think the hardest thing to do with any form of self expression and creativity is overcoming yourself, as you can be your hardest obstacle to get past. Self doubt has pushed me back plenty of times, and it's usually a product of fear, fear of failure, fear of rejection, but when you learn to let that fear push you forward, instead of push you back, you’ll start developing and rising out from it. The best part of my progress so far has been working with RBH (www.rbh.co.uk), they took me on as photographer not long after I went full time and they have all taught me so much about the industry, and have helped push me forward and better myself as a professional. I can't say thank you enough to Debra Hepburn and the whole team for what they have done and continue to do for me.
I've never actually heard of RBH, time for me to do some research! Haha. I see that you don’t just have one style of shooting, you capture some stunning portraits but also some amazing scenic shots. What would you say is your favourite?
I don’t really have a favourite, I mean anything where I get to see somewhere or meet someone new is always a plus, but all the different areas of photography have their different ups and down. For instance, I love working with new people, and I love reading people, so portraits are great for that, telling someone's story through mood and conveying a feeling that way is always a fantastic challenge. And the landscape stuff I do, is just so much fun, I tend to see a shot that someone else has done and want to know how to do it! And the best way to learn is to just get out there and do it! So that's what I ended up doing, with astro photography and landscape stuff, plus I love new places, and I love exploring. I think as a side note, when I was learning music, I learnt all different genres, and to this day I listen to all different genres, my favourites playlist can jump from Miles Davis to The Misfits, from Black Sabbath to Sia, from Kendrick Lamar to Godspeed you! Black Emperor, and that's how I like to think of photography. If you restrict yourself to one area, then you’ll never know what the other areas could teach you! So I try and learn as broad a range of skills as I can, you never know when you might need them!
That makes perfect sense. It's better to have too much in your arsenal than not enough. The last thing you want is to see a scene and not be able to capture it perfectly. Over the few years you have spent behind the lens, what has been the most surprising thing you have experienced?
This might sound strange, but the biggest surprise for me was how it brought me out of myself and made me a lot more social and outgoing. When I started shooting for Dark Circle, I didn't know any of those guys. I just turned up one day, and Aaron (The Owner) asked if I could take pictures for them; before I knew it I was out on the SoonCome look book shoot making new friends and having a great time. It taught me to say yes to new experiences and new people, which is something I was quite closed off to before.
Ye I get that, I'm a bit of an introvert myself so I know first hand that cracking that shyness barrier is one of the best things you can do, as it opens up so many opportunities. Now I know you have worked with some awesome people and companies, but is there anyone, be it musicians, brands etc, who you hope to work with in the future?
I’ve always said that I would LOVE to shoot something for Brixton. I wear their stuff quite a lot and I love the brand's message and look. I’d also love to take portraits of Nick Cave and Tom Waits, two incredible artists who I very much admire.
What is your main goal to accomplish within photography/videography?
To never stop, to keep finding out where it could take me and then taking that step forward. I want to be 80 and still carrying around a camera! Everyone's journey changes, I won't be shooting streetwear forever will I? So my goals are forever going to be changing with age, and when one box gets ticked, another will appear!
This is a question I tend to ask everyone as I'd like the reader to be able to leave with something to really get them thinking, and you never know, it may actually be something that sits with them and helps them with their own situations. During your life, and this doesn’t have to be business related, what is the best piece of advice you have been given, and what is the best piece you can give?
The best piece of advice was actually something that I’ve lived by for years now, but I heard Richard Branson say it on Chase Jarvis’ “30 days of Genius" the other day, and it is this,
“I’d rather regret something that I tried and failed at, than something I didn't have the courage to attempt”
Basically I don't want to be a 50 year old dude with a family, a dog and a stack of things that I wish I had tried when I was a younger man. It’s this mantra that has led to me being a full time photographer, to driving 10 hours to play a show in Berlin, to giving people a second chance, and them still being in my life today, and it’s led to me being content with who I am, living with very little regrets, makes me live in the present, without casting myself back and wishing I'd done something that I had the chance to do, but didn’t. Everyone has that night where them and their friends drink too much and do something insane, probably end up arrested, and although at the time you may not be laughing, you will be in a few years time when you remember it! So I guess that’s what I'd tell someone, if you say yes to new experiences, even if you feel out of your depth, and throw yourself into something instead of shying away, then you will live a pretty awesome life, because “I wish I did that…” lasts oh so much longer than “I shouldn't have..”
That's some good advice dude. We're coming to an end now but before we finish up I'd like to know where do you hope to be in 12 months time?
I’m about to start a new side of my career within RBH, stay posted on that! But in regards to everything else, I want to be still shooting with great clients, still travelling and seeing new things, and hopefully in 12 months time I’ll have the new Canon 5D mark 4…even though that's just a rumour at the moment.
More importantly, what can we hope to see in the near future?
I want to work with even bigger brands, and I want to put out more and more and more photographs!
That sounds awesome mate, I can't wait to see it all!
Now, I know I've already got you to answer quite a lot of questions but before we finish I have five questions that are a bit more fun. They all start with 'Have you ever....' So here we go, have you ever...
...down the stairs? Yep, I actually passed out as a kid when I was at school at the top of some stairs and went all the way down them!
…gone on a bad blind date? Nah, drama!
…seen the same movie more than once at the cinema? Never have, I was tempted to see the new star wars more than once but I’m lazy and don't like cinemas anyway.
…been locked out of your house/car? My dad got locked out of his house when I was a kid, so I remember him boosting me through a back window into the house so I could let him in from the front. I think it was his house anyway?
...been arrested? I’ve never been arrested, but I’ve been hassled by the police plenty. When I was younger as a skateboarder I was always getting told to stop skating stair sets and grinding rails etc, and now I get told that I can't shoot in places and moved one, I kinda like it!
Text Kiefer Horlock
Images Morgan Tedd
Models Charlie Holmes & Junior Clint