The grace I find in California is what I grew up with on my hiking trips, boating adventures, early morning surfs and late evening bonfires, a beauty I will love and cherish forever. I was seven when I first stepped foot on a surfboard, from that moment I was absolutely addicted.
When I was eighteen, my father leant me the family camera and I started snapping photos to accompany the short films I was making. I started combining my passion of surfing with my newfound love of photography, by simply taking my camera with me every time I’d go surfing. As a self-taught photographer is has been the most important to apply my own voice and personality throughout my work. How I see the world, what interests me and what I want to share with the world in both narrative and aesthetic terms.
Curiosity is what drives me. I explore with and through my camera. While I’m out there in the water, bodysurfing with a heavy aluminium camera that you both have to protect and to use to capture the waves, I still feel accomplished even if I am not surfing. But trust me – I always make time for myself to catch a few waves.
Every trip I take, rain or shine, means the world to me.
Some experiences peak at swimming with whales, sleeping under the stars, or surfing perfect waves, while others result in testing the limits of my personal limits. I’ve nearly drowned in Australia, dodged Stone fish in Reunion island, and been circled by sharks in the Bahamas. I live for these experiences, for I grow and mature with every moment of joy and struggle thrown at me. They light the fire inside of me to keep going, to keep pursuing not the act of taking a perfect photograph, but the euphoria that comes with earning it.
Words and photography. Morgan Maassen
This story inspired by a previously published initiative. Watch the short film here.