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Behind the Lens—Morgan Woods & Christian Quinlan

During a trip to Sri Lanka filled by simple yet amazing shots of the culture and their adventures, Morgan Woods and Christian Quinlan quickly became one of our favorite travel couples. They weren’t taking photos of each other at the beach, but instead, were focusing their work on the beauty this country has to offer and that only a few really take the time to observe. Since then, we’ve fallen in love with their photographs a little bit more every day until we finally realized that what’s distinctive between them and other people was their connection to the world. Aware of their surroundings and trying to capture moments on the road, they were painting us a portrait of the world that was instantly calming any worried soul.

As we wanted to know more about them, we first thought of asking them questions separately but quickly realized that separating a winning duo would be a shame. It’s now time to change our perspective about the world and the environment surrounding us. Two beautiful minds that are worth listening to and discovering, right here with us.

It seems like youre always on the road exploring new destinations. Can you tell us a bit more about who you are and why exploring new places is such a big part of your life?

C: I grew up in Bronte, Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. I have been working as a carpenter for the past 10 years… Being a self-taught photographer, carpentry has helped me afford to travel to many different parts of the world. Immersing myself in nature and culture, using it as my classroom to try and find an understanding of my own life through observation of humans, nature or humans in nature. I search for places with people who want to connect to the natural world, whether it’s a sport or a way of life that brings them there. Exposing myself to the array of people that the world has to offer, you or I truly learn so much from each person we meet and adopt the beautiful values of the cultures we encounter. Exploring new places is where I truly feel connected with myself, other and mother nature.

M: I grew up a couple of hours south of Sydney on a farm. I always had wide open spaces around me so I’ve always felt so connected to the earth, grounded by its overwhelming beauty. My incentive to travel comes from the desire to see and appreciate the natural world. I love being out of my comfort zone, I love the element of the unknown. You don’t know what is around the corner, what lesson you might learn or what you will see. It is never ending and I am infinitely curious.

Is photography a simple hobby for you or you would like it to become a career?

C: I see photography as a motivational tool, helping myself to reach goals in sharing my travels or documenting sports, health and fitness. Ultimately, I have been inspired by imagery and I would love to encourage other people to get out there and enjoy these things for themselves. I would say it would be more of a career I strive to do full time, that way I can continue my journey and help others discover theirs.

M: I’ve been studying photography for the past 3 years at university. I am more than ready to step out into the ‘real world’ of the industry. I’m still gauging exactly where I would like to go with it but I have always maintained that I want my photos to contribute positively to the world in some way. I’m currently working on a contemporary spin on documentary photography, exploring multiple art mediums combined with images… I’m excited to see where it goes.

What do you love most about photography and what do you find to be the most challenging aspect of it?

C: I love the unknown. The fact that every time you take a photograph, even if someone else has stood in the exact same spot before, your images will never be the same. The challenging part would have to be … carrying around the equipment everywhere you go like a bloody man purse haha.

M: The challenge for me is capturing the immense beauty of a landscape. Photography is an amazing medium but at the end of the day sometimes you can never re-create how incredible the place really is. My favourite aspect is the journey to the photo. The hike, the dive, the adventure. Whatever it may be that takes you there, you have created some kind of unique experience.

Its no secret that nature and the ocean play a huge role in your work. Why do you need to transform these places into timeless moments? Is there any feeling you would like the viewer to feel?

M: Personally, I would love people to feel passionate about the environment. Photographs and documentaries fostered my love of the world and showed me what is out there. I hope I can do the same for others.

C: There is so much in nature and the ocean yet to be discovered. So many unknowns. We know more about the universe than we do our own sea, I find this pretty incredible. I want to try and bring my viewer on the journey with me when I trek through an unknown path or delve into the abyss of the ocean.

Talking of nature, you both consider yourself as environmentalists and we were wondering: what is the most important issue the environment is currently facing? 

M: I won’t say one environmental issue is important than another, everything is interconnected. However, the one I am most passionate about is the ridiculous overconsumption of plastic. It’s beyond horrifying the damage it causes our land and sea every single day. I’m not perfect, I make mistakes but we can all make an effort to shed the habits of consuming single use plastic. Say no to straws… and coffee cups… and you know what, whilst we are here let’s all get ourselves a few canvas shopping bags. 

C: I am no marine biologist, but I can definitely see the effects of human impact on this beautiful world. I want to bring awareness to the issues I may face on my travels. From exploitive tourism or selling natural commodities that negatively compromise the landscape. We all just need to work out ways to accomplish sustainable methods of keeping these destructive activities at bay. Conscious travel. 

If you had to describe your photography in one word, what would you say? 

M: Intention.

C: Inviting, serene, temerarious, alluring… sorry I’m bad with numbers.

Why have you decided to become involved with Nouvelle Vague?

C: From the first viewing of this page, I was hooked. I would read each piece, finding myself connecting to the individuals sharing their amazing stories. Now I get to be involved in that.

M: Because this team is amazing, positive and shares incredible stories or photographs from around the world. We are so lucky to be a part of the first issue!

Morgan’s Instagram
Christian’s Instagram

This interview is part of our series “The Digital Return” – a series of articles that present each contributor of our soon to be released digital magazine. 

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