Jessie Morgan Photo RAYDAR

Jessie Morgan Takes Us Behind The Lens

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Jessie Morgan Photo RAYDAR

Beneath the city lights of London, the pulsing rhythm of its thriving music scene resonates with the creative spirit of Jessie Morgan.

The photographer’s relationship with a camera began innocently in her adolescence, a raw exploration that blossomed into an unshakeable passion. A proud Kingston School of Art alumna, Morgan’s work is dipped in authenticity, echoing the human spirit in its most candid forms. Their exploration of the music scene is far from the silent stills of an exhibition hall; they’re a pulsating symphony, illuminating the electric intimacy of live performances and the soulful depths of the musicians themselves.

“Photography chose me more than I chose it,” Morgan confesses. “My initial foray into the art was via clumsy self-portraits during holidays or in front of webcams. And then, when I got my first camera, it was like growing a new appendage—it accompanied me everywhere. The digital landscape, particularly Tumblr, significantly influenced my formative years, showcasing the immense potential of storytelling through visuals alone.”

Similar to the explorative delight of a young filmmaker experimenting with his first short films, Morgan finds joy in the creation of their art. Yet, unlike those dispossessed pictures forgotten on the pavement, the photographer’s frames are immediately embraced, cherished for their unfiltered snapshots of a moment.

“Coco was the first series that made me perceive myself as a photographer,” they share. The collection radiates a tender subtlety, evoking emotions that Morgan never thought she could express. They add, “It was the first project I made that I truly wanted to be seen. If someone was to only ever view that series, I would be content.”

The visual artist’s approach is deeply rooted in her commitment to authentically portray their subjects. With her lens, she invites us to experience the intimate, vibrant lives of others while celebrating the process of creation itself. As they expand beyond the realm of music photography, Morgan is now focused on cultivating a cohesive aesthetic that blurs the line between her professional and personal work.

In the end, the photographs stand as a testament to the potency of visual expression. Just like an activist harnessing the power of creative protest to amplify her message, Morgan’s art voices a nuanced narrative—one that encapsulates her distinctive viewpoint and captures the vibrant human moments they encounter. Through their work, Jessie Morgan tells a captivating story and, in turn, allows us to revisit our own.

1. Coco

This image opened so many doors for me, and it happened so organically. During lockdown, I moved in with my friend Alex and her two kids: Otto and Coco. Coco and I, since meeting, have had a special connection through imagery. It seems to be a real running theme that most of these have focused around collaboration.

I’d never been so personally invested in anything before I fell in love with my process and experimenting I was so grateful lockdown gave me the chance to do that. These photos were all created naturally — I gave Coco a space, and he made it his own, taking his lead. This will always remain one of my favorite bodies of work as it entirely reshaped my development as a photographer and deconstructed every element of my “process.”

2. Sona

Leading on from the work of Coco, I wanted to collaborate more creatively. Graduating through COVID meant that the last year of my degree was mostly spent in isolation, so I really sought creative community. I met Frankie who styled this shoot through Instagram, we gelled and she really helped to push me creatively with her styling – the shoot became more playful and fluid as a result.

3. Pool Table

This was the first time I got to shoot with Izzy — she is such a creative force in all the best possible ways. We’d searched for the weirdest and wonderful locations around Crawley to promote the merch and new album designs. The end of last year I was feeling so creatively out of tune with my camera set up so I bought a £20 early 2000s Lumix camera on eBay, which in the last year has taken 90% of my favorite photos, and an old 35mm I had barely touched since finishing my degree and it was the happiest I’d felt shooting in some time.

Something about stripping back a setup to something that is so accessible universally and using that as a blank canvas felt so refreshing — there’s been a huge shift in the last few years into content creation, and it has caused an identity crisis for a lot of photographers, but something about this set up and this shoot reaffirmed where I want to be as a photographer in a slightly less profound and dramatic way than it sounds. There was something so invigorating about the collaboration and being given a space to experiment. I met Izzy for the first time at Fashion Week in 2019, and even in a minute interaction, I knew I wanted to shoot her again.

4. Ellie Dixon

This was my first-ever press campaign for a major label and my first real pitch. It was a big milestone I’d set out my goals to move away from being a “content creator” and back towards being a photographer, the difference of which is interesting in itself — alas. I was able to bring together people I had loved and admired whom I’d known for a long time and trusted to create this space that felt magic.

I’ve never been on a shoot that the energy felt so welcoming. I worked with Georgia Fisher, who I attended school with, to create Ellie’s world in a set full of Easter eggs to mark the evolution of Ellie and this new chapter. I didn’t know it at the time, but these photos have been such an important moment for me creatively, and I’m very grateful to have played the tiniest part in Ellie’s evolution.