Initially, I got the request from CEO Jan Erik Rivelsrud to create artwork for every room of his two new hotels. This would be 5 images related to Eagles, and 5 images related to «the Sea». When I met with Jan Erik afterwards, I felt that there was a lot of creative space to create something extraordinary, so I went home and put together a file of 35 pages, writing down every aspect of Jan Erik’s ideas, and drawing how I thought how I could contribute to this. This included motives for the floor carpet, elevator shaft, every room, lobby, restaurant, conference rooms, high speed video installation, motives for all the bed sheets, etc. The day after, I got the message back; «We want EVERYTHING you described.» From that point on, I have been working for over a year to create imagery relevant to my client’s usage, and to specify where the images should be displayed in those two hotels.
I have always been very strict on what kind of clients I accept, regarding the imagery they request. This is the only reason why I am so lucky to get hired by clients who know my philosophy, and adapt their needs regarding to what my product is all about. This is why Rica Hotels just gave me two themes to work with, and trusted me to do whatever I thought might fit to the purpose of the usage for their two brand new hotels.
Often, I get comments from fellow photographers telling me that I am so lucky to be able to do whatever I like. But do not misunderstand; this is a RESULT of me being stubborn, and creating a very small but specific product that I can call my own. In the beginning, this will be hard to fight for, but in the end, you will be respected for staying true to your passion and your desire of creating the best possible artwork. If you are pressured to go outside your comfort Zone, you’re doing something wrong.
In the end, it is YOU as a creative artist that sets the boundaries, you should be able to tell your clients that their vision is out of your reach; don’t be afraid to tell them that another photographer is better, and cheaper, to achieve their average goal. This is what I do all the time, and I get nothing but positive reactions to this. But at the same time, I tell them that if they want something as good as what I deliver; they need to be patient, and maybe stretch their budget a little bit.
Off course, I feel privileged to be able to work like this, but it is just a result of working towards a goal you want to achieve as an artist, and it enables you to work with what you like, and DO the best.
I like to maintain a personal relationship to my clients. As they might know it is not about the profit, but all about the result. I am as interested in the result being as good as possible as they are. This may result in that it may take a little bit longer to achieve that result, but it is respected, because my client knows it is for the best of everyone; both me, them and their clients perception of the product. For me it’s all about people being mesmerized by the images that represent the hotel, and I love to take a walk through the hotels and see people everywhere discussing the images without being aware of my presence; it’s just positive feedback, and remind me of the fact that I’m doing a good job.
As you might know, my work is all about reality, I do not use photoshop to create my imagery. Instead of using post production, I tend to manipulate the situation into something I can control into the tiniest detail. I do not manipulate an eagle into some kind of scenery, but I manipulate the animal so does it does exactly what I want.
The only image you can say is manipulated in the series for Ornen is the one of the eagle that soars above the city of Bergen. The image of Bergen itself is carefully calculated as you can read on my website, but the image of the eagle is a separate image shot in Holland.
The fact that I do tell you whether an image is manipulated or not is something that should keep you assured that when I DO NOT tell you about any manipulation; IT IS SIMPLY NOT MANIPULATED.
As of today, I still have a very close relationship to the hotel crew, and I’m still working on some projects to give their hotel the best possible radiance. My main goal, regardless of the goal of my client, is always to add a certain value to the product of my client by adding my specific product.
In other words; I don’t get a good feeling of receiving a huge payment to my bank account. I get the best feeling in the world by receiving promising and respectful words from my clients and their customers because of the product I enabled them to observe in a hotel that is already beautiful in itself.
A creative collaboration is never about getting what YOU want. It is all about creating something together with several creative souls to serve a purpose that is within your clients vision. But you as a photographer should never lose your passion out of sight. Because when you do, it turns into something that your client won’t appreciate as much as you’d like them to either.
The gear I use, even if it is some of the most expensive gear in the world, is not relevant to me other than being there exactly at the moment I need it to be there.
I always say that you can buy as expensive or cheap gear as you want, it will always be the creative soul behind it that will make the difference. As an example: If I’d buy a Stradivarius violin, I’d still just be playing bad music. It’s just that when you own the best equipment in the world, you don’t have any excuse anymore to why the results turn out just «good enough», but instead I feel that I only have myself to blame when an image turns out just «good enough».
Off course, because of my «High-Speed» signature, I am relying on strobes that are able to freeze the moment, and broncolor is the only brand that can deliver the quality that I desire. A t0.1 flash duration of under 1/7500 of a second is the least I can accept to create imagery of moments that go by way too fast for the human eye to register, and as we all know, the investment of a set of broncolor is just a testimonial of their passion towards enabling artists like me and you to pursue our «personal legends». It is simply a necessary evil to achieve the goals you have always dreamt of.
The most important thing of all: never loose your passion out of sight. It is that passion that should drive you towards images that will amaze the world.
About Thomas Morel
Born in 1988 – Born and raised in Den Bosch, Holland – Moved to Norway in 2004 – Lives in Feios, Norway – Office and studio in Bergen, Norway – Professional photographer since 2009 – Clients all over the world – In a relationship with Frida Berdal
Life is motion. We breathe, we grow, we run, and we explode with energy and emotion. Thomas Morel images capture the kinetic and frenetic energy that define life.
While still young, Thomas’s images reflect a level of technical mastery and vision that usually comes with years of experience.
Thomas Morel is a Dutchmen who now lives in the beautiful fjord-landscapes of Norway. When he moved to Norway in 2004, it were exactly those fjords which inspired him to start taking pictures. As a former gymnast, his eye fell quickly on freezing the moment that goes by too rapidly for the human eye to see.
As an 18 year old boy, Thomas started his company, and invested everything he could in a Hasselblad camera and a Broncolor strobe system. From this point on, all the technical equipment was in place, and Thomas could start exploring the world of frozen time.