• Images are the fuel that powers the internet's engine.

    The old days of bulletin boards and blogging are gone, relegated to the past as users find ever more efficient ways to create and upload content to the web. It's a process of trial and error, and it leads right up to the present, where words are secondary and photo and video platforms dominate the online landscape.

    In this environment, where visuals are so pervasive they appear wherever you scroll, click, or tap, it becomes harder to distinguish quality work.

    Now living in Cronulla, Lance Morgan began taking photos while living on the Gold Coast. What began as a release, a way to extricate himself from the pecking order, developed into a talent that now occupies more of his time than surfing ever did.

    You'll find Lance's work growing in the online jungle. Look closely, however, and you'll see something less prosaic than your usual daily fare.


  • An image that requires a period of intense focus to fully appreciate: Mikey Brennan, Shipstern Bluff


    I was born in Ireland, grew up in the Solomon Islands till I was about ten or eleven, and then I moved to the Gold Coast. I now I live in Sydney though.

    I spent pretty much my whole childhood in the Solomon Islands so I've got lots of memories from there. It was an amazing experience for a kid, we lived in Honiara, the capital, and we had World War II wrecks out in front of our house. Plane wrecks that you could swim around, or paddle a canoe around the reef, and then a jungle out the back.

    I didn't realise it at the time, but my parents tell me now that it was a pretty lawless place. We were there on the eve of the civil war. The the day after we left, the place my dad worked at got set on fire, and most of the Western buildings in the capital also got set alight because the locals were angry at the disparity between the wealthy white people and the not-so-wealthy locals.

    I've never returned but it's definitely on my list. I'd love to go back and see how it's changed.


  • Hayden Blair flies into frame at a wave that's usually photographed from a safe distance


    About four years ago I picked up a camera because at the time I was living on the Gold Coast and I was getting the shits with the crowds. I started with a GoPro, as I think as a lot of people do these days. I kept at it for a couple of months until I though, 'Yep, this is something I want to invest a bit more in.'

    So I did.

    I bought equipment but I've never done any courses - I'm completely self-taught. Sometimes I feel like my progression is too slow; I know what I want to shoot, and how I want to shoot it, but there's not enough swells to make it all happen.


  • A good photo allows the viewer to consider a surfer's situation, as does this image of Kipp Caddy, but spare a thought for the safety of the photographer.


    A year ago I moved to Cronulla because I'm an aviation firefighter at Sydney Airport. That's how I get time to chase swells.

    People ask me: "How do you manage to chase swells all the time?" But we're on a 24-hour roster so I only work two days out of eight days.

    If a swell hits on any of those other days then I hit the highway, and Cronulla's a handy place to be a surf photographer. It's very easy to jump on the highway and head south, or even north. It's also got a couple of very good waves in the area. Very good slabs.

    Cronulla's close to the airport too, though for the moment I'm going to have to settle with exploring this beautiful country. Fortunately there's still so many crazy waves that I want to go and search out.


  • Early entry is the advantage of riding longer equipment, but there's a downside too: once that rail is set there's no deviating from the path.

    Ollie Dousett - above and in sequence below - chooses his line wisely.


    This place is one of my favourite waves to shoot. It’s quite a drive from my home and has taken me a while to dial in, but when it’s on it’s well worth the effort.

    Over the past eighteen months of chasing this fickle beast I’ve run into Ollie on most sessions - even the swells that slip under the radar, as was the case with these shots.

    He’s put in a tonne of hours down there and is one of the most inspirational guys you could spark up a conversation with. He trains so damn hard and has more drive than a Mack truck. It blows my mind that he doesn’t have any sponsors, but I don’t think that will last long.


  • Cape Solander bares its teeth, Max McGuigan pokes out his tongue

     

    After what I've been told was a bit of a drought, there's been more Cape Solander swells this year than any other year. It was amazing. We were out there every other week through winter. We had a lot of those south swells that tended east - just perfect for it.

    I was really lucky because I had six weeks off as well. It was perfectly timed for all the swells that Sydney had.


  • Light, composition, action: Joel Parkinson inside a perfect surf shot

     

    I get pretty stoked when I see a great wave, but I don't get too excited about what I might've shot because there's so much that can go wrong.

    So many times I've come back to the beach thinking I've got an amazing shot and there's a water drop or it didn't fire. And then other times, I've thought that I haven't got anything and I've come back and been like, 'Holy shit, this shot's amazing!"

    These days I try not to even check my photos while I'm out there. I just get my settings right, take a couple of test shots, and then not look at anything until I get back to the computer.

    I tell photographers that I don't check my photos and they're like, "You're crazy, I look at my photos the whole time!" I guess I just don't want to get let down at the end.

    It also makes for a great surprise.


  • Shane Ackerman and the reward for an early-AM kick off and a few hundred highway miles


    I'm happy to shoot anyone...anyone who's having a crack that is. I started meeting up with Shane Ackerman, we'd either travel together or meet up because he's chasing the same sort of waves. He's a guy who I like being in the water with. He's surfed a lot of heavy waves and knows how to handle himself.

    I've put myself through a One Ocean International surf rescue course, because I've had my eyes on waves like The Right and I want to make sure I'm prepared.

    I feel like a lot more guys should be doing these watermen courses because you've got people going out there, putting themselves in pretty precarious situation sometimes, and they don't really have much training or awareness. It's slowly changing.


  • Stuffing a Banyaks barrel from a short-lived gig as a liveaboard photographer


    The media situation is very difficult at the moment. I'm chasing hard and I'm shooting a lot but I'm not really getting much back [from the industry]. Then again, I'm enjoying what I'm doing and I'm just hoping that eventually it'll all start to fall into place and I'll get a few knocks on the door.

    I guess I'm a bit of an outsider, a lot of the big brands and the magazines have their set photographers and they don't really want to veer outside of that.

    I'll just keep doing what I'm doing until it's not enjoyable.


  • And an empty to end on

    See more of Lance's work online.

Comments

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Friday, 11 Dec 2020 at 4:24pm

Unreal pics, love the wide screen presentation.

lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_ commented Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020 at 5:00pm

Thanks mate!

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Friday, 11 Dec 2020 at 4:30pm

Great shots, particularly the parko and Hayden Blair ones - love that angle.
Reckon this bloke would have got his share of cover shots & centre spreads if surf mags were still going strong.

He who hesitates is lost

lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_ commented Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020 at 5:03pm

Mate that's a massive compliment! Thanks a million. I wish the mags were still going strong as well! The Parkours shot is one of my favourite and the Hayden shot was a pure fluke I didn't go over the fall with that lip. Thanks again!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 11 Dec 2020 at 6:21pm

There's a dozen WOTD's right there.

1173

lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_ commented Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020 at 5:05pm

Cheers mate, I've been pretty stoked to have swellnet supporting me through the WOTD's for a while now. With cyclone season upon us hopefully I'll have some more eye candy for you.

spidermonkey's picture
spidermonkey's picture
spidermonkey commented Friday, 11 Dec 2020 at 7:50pm

Agree with the above, but i wonder if the young man with his tongue out gets his flogging.....

lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_ commented Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020 at 5:06pm

Haha he didn't get a flogging the cheeky bugger. Thanks man stoked your all enjoying them.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 11 Dec 2020 at 7:57pm

Cracking photos, few new backgrounds there cheers.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Friday, 11 Dec 2020 at 8:41pm

Shippie eyes.

lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_ commented Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020 at 5:06pm

Thanks man! Mikey Brennan with the hunting for the exit eyes. Shippies has the effect on people...

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Friday, 11 Dec 2020 at 8:15pm

I've spent a couple of good zone out stare sessions on that Shippies photo of Mikey Brennan.
An amazing shot.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Friday, 11 Dec 2020 at 8:30pm

Second time round I see what you mean, I got stuck on that one for quite a while.

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Friday, 11 Dec 2020 at 10:38pm

so good!!

lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_ commented Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020 at 5:07pm

Thanks Tim, catch you in a line up soon.

adamwolf's picture
adamwolf's picture
adamwolf commented Monday, 14 Dec 2020 at 2:23pm

Epic stuff!

lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_'s picture
lancemorgan_ commented Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020 at 5:07pm

Cheers Adam glad you enjoyed it. Hope your getting waves.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020 at 5:10pm

Insane photos, and that one of Mikey at Shippies has to be one of the most mesmerising and insane shots I've seen.

Just Floating's picture
Just Floating's picture
Just Floating commented Wednesday, 16 Dec 2020 at 2:09pm

Agreed, I think I had Shippie eyes on myself just thinking about it - "what is going through his mind with that beast above him?" Love the shots Lance, good on ya for having a crack and I hope the industry starts loving you back soon. I do a bit of photography myself and the time and investment goes unappreciated by a lot of people. Here's to you winnin'!

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Wednesday, 16 Dec 2020 at 3:27pm

Top drawer stuff.