We had the good fortune of connecting with Danya Morrison and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danya, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I got my start in the industry assisting some of the top photographers in the world: Yu Tsai, Brian Bowen Smith, Michael Muller, Tom Munro, Gavin Bond, Pamela Littky to name a few. When you work under these incredibly talented humans, you learn quickly that if you do things the right way (not the cheap way) you can create some magical images. So to answer the question: I would say that by not being cheap on equipment and tools you need to get the job done, you set yourself up for success every time.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I took a rural nature slide film course in 2005 in Western Massachusetts. From the moment I got the photos back I knew instantly that I wanted to be a photographer. In 2008, when I was only 18, I moved to LA. I gave myself an aggressive professional goal to become a full-time working photographer. I quickly learned that high end photographers were signed to a small elite group of agencies who only dealt with the top jobs in the industry. These agencies only sign a handful of the best photographers. I started to understand how exclusive the club was for high-end commercial photography. Since then I have assisted and lit for over 50 photographers shooting for brands such as Gucci, Calvin Klein, Apple, Google, Cocacola, Fenty, and all the big magazines to name a few. I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge about photography. This career path is a rollercoaster of experiences & emotions–some days you’re up on the top of the world after a shoot. and the next day you didn’t get the job for any number of reasons. You just have to keep going. If you want something badly enough there is no other option. Living the “freelance” life isn’t easy. Not knowing when your next job/check is coming or with who you will be working with is not easy. After 13 years living in LA, I have really created my own network of clients locally and internationally. This past year I have finally felt like all the hard work has started to pay off. I am finally getting to shoot some really cool projects for different brands,. in part thanks to Vince Ricci who owns Hubble Studios. He has trusted me with his vision and helped me show the world what I am capable of. I want the world to know I’m ready for any and every job. I have knowledge and experience to step up to the plate and execute the task at hand.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Jones Hollywood has been a part of my life since 2008. I delivered food for them when I first moved out to LA. Still one of my favorite bar/restaurants. I really don’t enjoy the places people like to go to tobe “seen.” I would rather a hole in the wall sushi spot in the valley or Gigi’s Bakery on temple for the best Cuban sandwiches in town. Don Cucos for Mexican food and McConnell’s for ice cream. Forman’s Whiskey Tavern has been a new favorite in Toluca Lake. As far as places:point natural reserve is the best Malibu beach spot, if you can find parking. Malibu Creek state park is a stunning hike, the swimming hole at the end is beautiful. I do a lot of shoots up there.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes absolutely! Back in 2012 I started working with Yu Tsai, an amazing photographer, director, businessman and all around human. I learned so much from and and still do to this day. About 4 years ago, I started working with Brian Bowen Smith,another incredible human. After working with him for sometime my knowledge of lighting really just clicked like the lightbulb went on. Now someone can show me any image and I can replicate the lighting exactly. My older brother Elan Morrison has been by my side since the beginning and always has my back no matter what, so a big shout out to him.
All photos by Danya Morrison