Utah-based photographer Jay Morr can often be found with his lens slipping back and forth between separate universes. The first is familiar. It’s places with trout, drift boats, requisite dudes looking dude-ish, and the awesome esthetics of the West’s best waters.
But Morr’s alternate reality, I hate to say it, looks even better. Musicians. Models. And did I mention, models? Between flyfishing and portraiture work, Mr. Morr and his shutterfinger are working full-throttle these days.
The result is a collision of inspired images that are hard to ignore. Here’s the scoop.
The Drake: Tell us about yourself, Mr. Jay Morr.
Jay Morr: Growing up, my folks put a huge emphasis on the arts and gave me every opportunity to learn and excel at it. I decided to get involved in my high-school photography program. My Father was quick to offer up his Minolta camera body for the cause.
After graduation I quickly realized that renting lab time and purchasing quality film was really expensive. I was more into buying flyfishing gear with the little money I made. When digital first hit the scene I ended up buying my first point-and-shoot. It was a 3.2 megapixel and I started taking bug shots and photos of my fly patterns. Digital changed the game and the rest is history.
The Drake: You say on your site: “I believe that imagery is therapeutic to the soul, can inspire the uninspired, and can save the lost. I know it to be true, because it has on all accounts done this for me.”
How has photography shaped you as a person?
JM: That quote pretty much sums it up for me. Photography has given me an immediate outlet to express how I feel and has become an extension of who I am as a person, an artist, and someone who loves to huck [flies]. Hopefully it inspires others to do the same. Sharing my imagery has given me great opportunities to meet people from all over, and I appreciate the relationships I’ve made beyond the shutter click.
The Drake: Actors, models, musicians… flyfishers. Which one of these doesn’t belong?
JM: That’s pretty damn funny. There are a lot of photographers that only shoot a certain style or genre. People often assume that if a guy holding a camera can take a kick ass photo of a fish then they must be able to photograph a wedding, a pin-up, or can shoot product. I’m inspired by being able to photograph any subject and at a high level. It takes a lot of dedication, patience, and time.
It was flyfishing work that helped me land my first wedding gig. At the time I was thinking of the money and the new fishing gear I could buy. Shit got real when I was photographing a moment that could only be captured once and the client was paying a good sum of cash to make sure I nailed it.
The Drake: What’s the key, in your opinion, to staying fresh and standing out from the standard?
JM: I’ve always felt that true professionals set themselves apart by offering something unique. The proof is in the imagery. The way I stay fresh is by focusing on my own work and not getting caught up in what someone else is doing. I bully myself, look to improve my own game, and bounce my ideas off a great group of people I trust and respect. Being progressive is demanding and it requires relentless dedication. I can look back at my portfolio and see that progression. What I photographed last year was the best I could produce last year; it may be a ‘throwaway’ today.
The Drake: Where do you concentrate your fishing/shooting efforts… and what kind of esthetic floats your boat?
JM: I love any time on the water. Living in Utah, I’m surrounded by great options. I’m 3 hours from the Green, about 20 minutes away from several blue ribbon fisheries, and heading north I can be in Idaho or Montana in just a few hours. I feel very fortunate. Ideally I love heading out-of-state each year because I get more time to photograph certain things that are on my radar.
The Drake: What clients are you shooting with today, and what are your photo inspirations on—and off—the water?
JM: I share studio space with a couple other photographers. I spend most of my weeknights and weekends photographing full time. I’ve never been motivated by print. The amount of time it takes to send images to editors a certain way in order to meet submission guidelines is not something I have time to do. And I think there’s a misconception that print pays and also that by being in print a photographer is ‘killin’ it.’ Although it may not be as cool as landing on the cover of The Drake, the bulk of my work and client list consists of shooting portraits, models, weddings, product, and events.
The Drake: Last thoughts?
JM: Hmmmm… Rasta vibes. Nikon. Support stream access. Huck meat. Hot models. And turn the dial to “P”.
See more at, jaymorrphotography.com