INTERVIEW: WES MORGAN/DRK___ROOM (PHOTOGRAPHER)

FFO: VERY AESTHETICALLY PLEASING COLOUR JAPANESE STREET PHOTOGRAPHY AS WELL AS VERY AESTHETICALLY PLEASING BLACK AND WHITE JAPANESE STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

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Image taken from the series “Exploring Tokyo- Tokyo in Colour”

Who are you?

Wesley Morgan // (alias) drk__room

 

Is there any specific reason that you decided to go under an alias rather than simply going by your name in advertising yourself as a photographer?

It’s not something I have really thought about until I was asked the question to be honest. I guess that I feel the alias is more striking than just another photographers’ name. I want my work to be perceived in a way that is questionable and I think the alias “drk__room” reflects that by being very vague. There is no gender or identity to my work which I think is better because the people that view photographic work already have a critical view of peoples work that are from certain age groups or cultures, which in turn will affect how the work is received.

 

Where are you currently based?

Nottingham, East Midlands.

 

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Image taken from the series “Exploring Tokyo- Tokyo in Colour”

What is your current photographic work about?

My current work reflects my experiences and portrayal from my recent photographic trip to Tokyo, Japan as an outsider through street photography.

 

What are your opinions of Japan from an outsiders perspective? Is there anything you hoped to gain through photographing Tokyo?

My opinions of Japan haven’t really changed because I never had any solid ones to begin with. With me traveling to Japan solely to create photographs, I wanted my work to remain a passive plain in the middle of the cultural clash of my views and ideologies as well as those in Japanese culture. All I wanted to gain from photographing Tokyo was my own experience and understanding of the place. I wanted my work to be a window into a culture and place that is vastly misunderstood to most people.

 

I see there’s a lot of portraits within the series, what was your approach in taking photographs of people in a completely different country? did you find the language barrier a problem? did you ask to photograph them or did you simply just capture what you saw at that moment?

My approach in general was to not ask and just shoot, fortunately this approach worked very well for me in my time visiting Japan. Everyone was friendly and approachable and accepting of somebody with a camera. Another point to mention for my work was that the camera I use is very small and discreet and doesn’t make any noise when taking photos so this was an advantage for me, over using a larger more noticeable camera; that would make me work slower, meaning I may not be able to capture what I intend due to be noticed or taking too long to take the image. Although there was an obvious language barrier there was no need to ask, the people reacted very happily to me wanting to photograph them.

 

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Image taken from the series “Exploring Tokyo- Tokyo in Colour”

Do you ever plan of exhibiting this series maybe? or creating a zine from them?

I do yes. I have a collection of small series’ on my website and I have created a book for my final piece in my first year of university, which acted as a test print for me for when I get around to printing a short run of books.

 

What got you interested into photography and taking images?

I have always been a very creative and visual person, at the time I started to become interested in photography as more than a hobby it was very unknown to me. I wanted a way to express my visual creativity with an impact.

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Image taken from the series “Exploring Tokyo- Tokyo in Colour”

Who are you inspired by?

My work is generally inspired by photographers such as, Fan Ho, Bruce Gilden, Weegee and Masashi Wakui.

 

Did your trip to Japan lead to your interest in Japanese street photographers inspiring you? or were you influenced by them prior to your visit? Also, is there any reasons in particular that you’re inspired by Japanese street photography in comparison to more western street photography?

I wouldn’t say that I am particularly inspired or that I follow Japanese photographers because I went to Japan. The thing that inspired me was the difference in culture and how the people work in and around such an advanced city. It’s the mesh of traditional culture and modern culture is what inspired me to be so interested in the Japanese aesthetic.

 

What are your future aspirations?

To continue to publish work that I enjoy.

 

Got any future projects in the lineup?

As I had mentioned previously I am still planning to release a short run of books from my work in Tokyo. Since creating my test copy for my university hand in, I want to create a solely black and white book to go alongside my majority colour work I have already printed. I am planning to exhibit my work in galleries when the time presents itself but that’s something I don’t want to rush into. As well as having work from Tokyo I do have a collection of images from Kyoto I want to realise but I am still editing down that collection.

What advice would you recommend to young photographers today?

I would say there is are no wrong ideas when it comes to a visual practice like photography, the only limits are the ones you set yourself, be bold and daring to try new things and always challenge yourself.

 

You can keep up with Wesley’s work via the links below:

Website: http://the-darker-room.format.com/4127340-tokyo-in-colour#1

Instagram: @drk__room

Wesleyjnm4@gmail.com

 

 

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