"When I was 10 years old, I was given a camera as a birthday present. It was then I decided that I wanted to be a photographer," says Michael Moralee. "All these years later I still love and get excited about making photographs. " Michael Moralee finds natural connections between the disciplines of photography and sculpture; stone carving is "just an alternative medium to express my ideas and creativity".
Michael Moralee with sculpture and stone carving tools
Michael Moralee studied Creative Photography at Derby College of Art, then worked as a freelance photographic assistant in London. He became a Part-time Lecturer and Technician at Nene College Northampton, and was Artist in Residence at Lutterworth Community College from 1978-1980. From 2015 to 2017 he was the co-owner of the North Street East Art Gallery. He has been a professional freelance Photographer since 1980.
What does a typical day as an artist look like for you?
There is no typical day. If I am carving, I go into my studio, lovingly known as my 'cell' as it is a converted room at the former Ashwell Prison Oakham. I normally start at 10.00am and then I work for 5 to 6 hours. The joy of my studio is there are no distractions.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Seeing an idea develop, evolve and come to some kind of conclusion.
Michael Moralee, 'Wave Form 2', Ancaster Weatherbed Limestone
What is the most challenging part of your work?
When I am carving, it is the first mark with the chisel and mallet.
With landscape photography it is organising the shoot and praying for the right conditions when you get there.
Michael Moralee, 'Storm Over', photograph
How did you choose your current theme, if you have one?
My work evolves, it starts with an idea and then develops, whether it is photography or sculpture.
Michael Moralee, 'Wave Form' in progress, on the Cornish coastline
My latest sculpture work is based on the sea and waves, I took my tools and some stone to Cornwall and carved on the cliff tops. The stormy sea below dramatically changed my original idea.
In some ways it is very similar to the way I photograph the landscape. When I have decided on the viewpoint I set my camera on a tripod, and wait until the conditions are right, all the time I am experiencing the elements, the sounds smells, temperature, wind and of course light. I then try and create an image that captures those experiences.
I plan to do a series of sculpture and photography based on seascape in this manner.
I have been working on a series of photographs of reflections in water. I am intrigued by the way the light on the water, which is constantly moving, creates patterns both on the surface and the sea bed.
'Stealing Time' is a series of landscape images using long exposures anywhere from 1 second to two or three hours, sometimes even longer. During the exposure light may change and elements within the frame may move, whilst others remain static.
How did you get to where you are now?
When I was 10 years old, I was given a camera as a birthday present. It was then I decided that I wanted to be a photographer. All these years later I still love and get excited about making photographs.
Michael Moralee, 'Glencoe', photograph
15 years ago I went on a stone carving course was hooked.
I find it a natural extension to photography and just an alternative medium to express my ideas and creativity.
What were your best subjects at school? What and where did you study?
Art, Physics, and English. Pinner Grammar School, Middlesex
What challenges have you faced along the way?
Making a living in any artistic medium is difficult, running a commercial photographic business and keeping artistic integrity, is very difficult. I have earned my living by taking photographs for other people but alongside this I have always set myself personal projects and exhibited the results as a means of self expression
Michael Moralee, 'Lindisfarne', photograph
What’s the proudest moment of your artistic career so far?
In fact it was on 29th July 2018, when my first public space sculpture commission was unveiled in the new Peace Garden in Easton on the Hill, Northamptonshire.
Sculpture by Michael Moralee at the Peace Garden, Church of All Saints, Easton on the Hill, Northamptonshire
It was commissioned by the Friends of the Church of All Saints for the peace garden commemorating all the villages who fought in World Wars 1 and 2 and as a place for reflection and an amenity for the village.
Michael Moralee working on sculpture
What advice would give your 22-year-old-self?
Be brave, don’t be shy, you can achieve anything you want to.
EITHER/OR . . . .
Coffee or tea?
Tea, coffee is far too complicated.
Michael Moralee, 'Black Fish, Green Sea', photograph
Michelangelo or Picasso?
Mac or PC?
What is a PC ?
Morning or night?
Morning. The day is still ahead and full of opportunities.
YOUR FAVOURITE . . .
Michael Moralee, 'Owl', Ancaster Hard White LImestone
Rolling Stones. I love the music, their longevity and enthusiasm for life.
Baker Street, Gerry Rafferty. Happy memories
Zorba the Greek. It is a book about the human spirit
Your favourite three Artists
Michael Moralee, 'Barney Owl', Spanish Alabaster
Ansel Adams - simply the greatest landscape photographer.
David Hockney - I like the way he uses technology to produce his work alongside more conventional methods.
Constantin Brancusi - his work ‘The Kiss’ is seemingly so simple, but communicates so much life and energy.
Things to do on a Friday night
Anything I haven’t done the rest of the week.
Your favourite holiday spot
Kissamos, Western Crete
Best piece of advice you’ve been given
If you want to be the best at what you do, work for and learn from someone who is the best.