Scheduled to teach:
Astor Morgan (www.astormorgan.com) is an award-winning people, commercial and fine art photographer based in Los Angeles. His appreciation of the visual arts was born while growing up between the two colorful cultures of southern Louisiana and Sicily, Italy. Astor has been involved in the photo industry for 20 years working on photo productions at all levels. He has been sought out and interviewed by numerous organizations and magazines including the Copyright Alliance, Shutterbug magazine, and BBC Voice of America’s “In Discussion” with David Gibbons (http://www.davidgibbons.org/id50.html).
Astor Morgan Portfolio
Julia Dean Interviews Astor Morgan
LACP Founder and Executive Director Julia Dean asks Astor Morgan ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography …
Julia Dean: What kind of photographer are you?
Astor Morgan: I am a people photographer working in Advertising and Entertainment. My images have been used by Johnson & Johnson, Children’s Motrin, Tylenol, Listerine, Acuvue, Wounded Warrior, Direct TV, and AT&T. I have had the pleasure of working with people like Denis O’Hare, Shay Mitchell, Gabrielle Union, Fifth Harmony, Morgan Freeman and the late Dennis Hopper.
JD: How long have you been shooting?
AM: Since I was about 12 years old using my family’s 110 camera, about 30 years.
JD: Where did you get your training?
AM: I did attend art classes at Otis Parsons, but the bulk of my knowledge of photography and the photo industry came from assisting and shooting. You can learn a great deal assisting photographers, not just about lighting and gear but how to treat people, your crew, your talent and your clients.
JD: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
AM: When I was a teenager.
JD: Did you ever come close to giving up?
AM: Giving up on what, being a photographer? A photographer is not just what I do for a living but it’s also who I am. I love making and viewing images. I cannot give up on that. I have considered pursuing other types of photography or other careers in the photo industry but, I can’t give up on being a photographer. Photography is too much of WHAT I am, I could never give up on wanting to create images, to meet people, to learn about people through photographing them and speaking with them.
JD: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
AM: Time with family. Having chased my dream and working so hard getting to where I am now, the biggest sacrifice is time with family. I am grateful for my time with family but now, my family understands when the phone rings I have to get to work.
JD: What have you gained by being a photographer?
AM: I am grateful that I am making a living as a photographer but I am also grateful about the people I get to work with, the priceless experiences I have been a part of.
JD: What classes do you teach at LACP?
AM: I will teach anything Brandon or Julia ask but I usually teach beginning and advanced lighting classes. Although my classes usually deal with lighting, I am pretty open in my classes, I will discuss anything and everything dealing with photography and my experiences in the industry. My favorite is when students bring in tear sheets of their favorite images and we re-create the lighting with the gear available at LACP.
JD: What do you love most about teaching?
AM: I love giving back, I love learning from the questions the students ask. I love when a former student or assistant reaches out to me months or years later asking for advice on a job or an estimate. I love sharing my knowledge and experiences. I love being tested by the students. Most students at LACP are not new to LACP, they come in with an eagerness to learn, a certain amount of professionalism and with questions ready.
JD: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
AM: Study and learn what you can about business and marketing from school, peers or as an apprentice when assisting photographers. Take as many workshops and classes from instructors whose work or career you admire. Ask a lot of questions, learn from anyone willing to share. Realize that a photographer is a small business, you are not only creating images, you are estimating, invoicing, paying crew, paying taxes, and keeping clients happy.