Monday, July 15, 2024

Australian Indigenous Photographers You Should Know

Meet Marley Morgan

In our continuing coverage of talented Indigenous creatives, in this Q & A, we speak to Marley Morgan, one of a number of exceptional Australian Indigenous photographers you should know. Featured in the September Issue of Vogue Australia, Marley was named as a GAME CHANGER, helping to forge a better version of fashion.

Marley Morgan
Marley Morgan

Tell us about yourself and your proud heritage.
My name is Marley Morgan, and I am a proud Wiradjuri and Gamilaraay photographer. I am currently based on Gumbaynggirr country.

“It is an immense privilege for me to be entrusted to hear and tell stories and songs and witness traditional practices and I can never describe the feelings I get, to be surrounded by grounded people strong in culture. Using photography as a medium to document these moments, I hope to capture those feelings through my images and share those with my audience.”  

-Marley Morgan, Marley Morgan Website: About Marley Morgan

When and how did you get started as a photographer?
Photography is something I have always had a passion for. I started my business around 7 years ago. Moving into fashion was something I had always dreamt of, but I was afraid to pursue it because the industry isn’t very inclusive for Indigenous people. 

But then, I realised that by stepping into the world of fashion photography as an Indigenous person, I could challenge the norms and break down barriers. I wanted to showcase the beauty, strength, and resilience of Indigenous people through my lens. I wanted to challenge the traditional beauty standards and bring more diversity and representation to the fashion industry.

First Nations Fashion Design

So, despite the challenges and doubts, I took the leap and started incorporating fashion into my photography. It was a risk, but one that I knew was necessary to create change and inspire others. I began collaborating with Indigenous designers, models, and stylists to create stunning visual narratives that celebrate our culture, heritage, and identity.

As one of the Australian Indigenous photographers and fashion game-changers, what’s the best and most exciting you’ve been a part of?  Is that also your proudest point in your professional journey?
Some of the most exciting moments in my career have been working with other Indigenous people in the industry and collaborating to create beautiful pieces of work. I feel immensely blessed to have made some lifelong friends through my photography. It’s hard to pick just one moment as my proudest because every project has its own special significance.

Australian Indigenous Photographers - Marley Morgan Photo

What do you aim to communicate through your photography and how do you try to do this?
Through my photography, I aim to showcase the beauty of my people and our culture. My work is a celebration of femininity, country, and black excellence. I want to change the narrative and challenge the way the media perceives Indigenous people.

First Nations Fashion Design

Can you explain how your cultural heritage informs your work?
As a proud Aboriginal woman, storytelling runs deep in my blood. I use photography as a medium to tell our stories and preserve our culture.

Australian Indigenous Photographers - Marley Morgan

I play a vital role in reclaiming Aboriginal narratives, challenging stereotypes, promoting cultural pride, and fostering positive change. My photographs are a testament to the resilience, beauty, and diversity of Aboriginal culture, ensuring that our stories are heard, celebrated, and remembered for generations to come.

Australian Indigenous Photographers - Marley Morgan

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t a photographer, I would probably still be in the fashion or another creative industry. I have a constantly active mind, and working in a creative field helps me slow down and find peace.

First Nations Fashion Design

Do you know if others see you as a mentor for other Australian Indigenous photographers?  Do you see yourself that way? What kinds of added responsibilities do you take on in that role?
I’m not sure if others see me as a mentor yet, but I hope to one day become a mentor and a role model to others. Although my journey is still relatively fresh, I hope that being an Indigenous woman in fashion photography can inspire others and open up more opportunities.

First Nations Fashion Design

Who are the people you look up to or model yourself upon and why? 
I have so many people I look up to in the industry. I am particularly inspired by this generation of Indigenous creatives who are doing incredible work in fashion, such as Kaydee Kyle-Taylor, Lillardia Houston Briggs, Djahmu Claxton-Amini, Luke Curry, Ana Keshan, Clair Helen, and many more. They are paving the way for the next generation of Indigenous people in the fashion space.

Follow Marley on Instagram at @marleymorganphotography

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