July 2, 2015

The link between man and the hypnotic cycles of the ocean is a profound one. This link may have been even stronger if, like MORGAN MAASSEN you had grown-up on the Pacific Coast, the son of a fisherman, and an ardent surfer. As a teenager, he started to capture this connection with his father’s cameras and has never stopped the visual pursuit of that next big wave.

ANDREW BASILE: Who are you and what do you do?

MORGAN MAASSEN: My name is Morgan Maassen. I’m twenty-four years old and from Santa Barbara, California. I’m passionate about using filmmaking and photography to see the world. I grew up surfing because of the environments. It wasn’t until I was able to combine filmmaking with the sport that I realized the exhilaration of capturing its ethereal beauty.

AB: How do you achieve your images’ “immediacy,” of riding a wave or ascending from the depths?

MM: I photograph the ocean from the perspective of someone who uses it every day, whether surfing, swimming, diving, spearfishing or boating – I’m always in or on it. I’m in awe of it. I don’t set out with an idea. The common thread in my work is that it’s taken from within the ocean, not on the sidelines.

AB: In many cases one passion begets another. Will you list yours?

MM: Art, music, cinema, design, fashion, traveling, surfing, the outdoors. They influence each other daily. Art is the blanket passion, as wherever I go or whatever I’m doing, I’m inspired by the simplest colors, lines and visuals.
I grew up enjoying the outdoors. I love traveling through cities and the fast pace it entails, but there is nothing greater than the solitude of nature. I’ve visited a lot of cities and countries and lived in many different situations, and it’s done nothing but nurture my love for the outdoors.

AB: Does your art ignite other interests for you?

MM: Absolutely. Economics and business are unlikely curiosities that are quickly growing into passions. I take great interest in how the world works and the societies I visit, which whet my appetite for understanding their root operations, like politics. While photography and filmmaking are my absolute passions, they are also a business which I have so much fun operating and growing.

AB: Do you prefer one medium over the other?

MM: The two live symbiotically in my heart but afford me different tangents: Photography freezes time with so much creative latitude; filmmaking tells stories with sound. I am always listening intently.

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