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Interview with Miles Morgan | GBPW Episode 63

5 min read

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Miles Morgan.

The people that I admire most in this world are the people that are able to be quietly confident, and they don’t need to express how wonderful they are to the world. They’re just content with their greatness.

Miles Morgan

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes, Pocket Casts, Spotify, Castbox, and Google Podcasts.

photo by Miles Morgan.

Miles Morgan is a pilot, father, and incredibly talented landscape photographer. His portfolio features stunning images of landscapes taken in his country (USA) and beyond. His unique but humble approach to this genre makes him stand greatly out as a photographer.

We talk about:

  • How Miles’ life as a pilot has affected his photography
  • The power of humility in photography and beyond
  • How he takes outstanding landscape photos

& much more!

Miles is undoubtedly one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever met online. His images have depth and a certain magical quality that’s not easy to capture in landscape photography. I’m confident that our interview will show you a different side of photography. Make sure to visit his website to get a major boost of inspiration!

Here is a preview of our conversation with Miles Morgan.

Q: Do you have any advice for photographers who want to stay humble but also remain confident in their work?

Miles Morgan: When I was a little boy, I grew up with not much to do. We didn’t have a whole lot of money, but I was very fortunate. I had wealthy grandparents who were very generous. Occasionally, I would get to do things that kids in my farm town would not get to do.

One time, I came back from a trip to Montserrat, which is down in the Caribbean. Where I grew up, you didn’t take a plane. Nobody would ever take a trip to New York that was two hours way. They just stayed in their foreign town.

I went to Montserrat with a friend that my grandparents graciously bought the ticket for. I was probably 10 years old. When I came home and talked about my trip at school, I noticed that the kids shunned me a little bit. My mum said, “Nobody likes a bragger.” That has stuck with me for the rest of my life. That singular comment is one of the first memories that I have, and my mom passed away not too terribly long after that. It’s one of the things that I treasured from her.

It’s hard as a photographer. If this is your business, you need to market yourself to get out there. Look at people like Peter Lik, who can market like a genius. He makes a ton of money because he’s very good at it. You have to be able to do that. I’d really struggle if I were trying to make this my career for that reason. It’s hard for me to talk about myself in a positive way without joking. I think it’s also important as a human to be confident in yourself and to be confident with who you are. I know that for a lot of people, that’s something that you spend time your whole life just trying to accomplish. In my business, you really need to be confident in your abilities as an airline pilot.

It’s possible to be happy with yourself and your work but still recognize that there’s room to grow. There are people out there who are amazing at what they do, too. You don’t have to be the best. Not being too overconfident allows me to try to improve. If I thought I was amazing, what’s the incentive? Try to get better. If you think you’re great perfect just the way you are, you lose some of that interest in improving. That’s a big part of my photographic journey and journey as being a human. I’m not sure if I’m any good at it, but I do try.

Q: You have your job as an airline pilot, which is your priority, and photography. How do you balance that?

Miles Morgan: Literally the hardest thing in my life, other than having a two-year-old. The balance of work, family, and photography – if you’re not doing this full-time – is absolutely the most challenging thing. If you’re passionate about all of them, to try to find the time to do everything (and do everything well) is a real balancing act. It’s hard to do.

If I’m totally honest, it probably cost me my last marriage. I go out, fly a four-day trip, come home, and I’m just so excited about doing photography that I say, “See you later, I’m going to go out for three days and shoot.” I go shoot for three days, come back, and have to go flying on a four-day trip. My ex, bless her heart, was too nice to say, “Hey, don’t do that.” I’m sure she got lonely and bored. It’s a really hard thing to do.

For me, it’s about realizing that you can’t be all things and you have to figure out what’s the priority in your life. In my case, my family has to come first, especially now that I have a little girl. My job comes next because people’s lives are in my hands. I have to make sure that I’m devoting a lot of time and attention to that.

Photography has had to take a backseat for the last few years. I don’t get as many opportunities to go shooting as I like, but I do try to carve out that time so I can scratch that itch, so to speak.

Q: What’s the biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome so far?

Miles Morgan: Time. If you’re going to try to stay relevant in the photography game, whether it just be for yourself or your business, you’ve got to practice. You have to invest time and energy. If you don’t have it, it’s hard to do. Like anything, that takes practice.

You’ve worked very hard to create the images that you’ve created in the business that you’ve created. To not have the time to do that as much as I’d like is is a tremendous obstacle for me to creating good pictures. I go out now and I’m rusty. I forget how to operate the camera. I forget more things that I knew in Photoshop than I know. If I haven’t processed anything for several months, I start over, relearn Photoshop, and figure out how I want to try to make an image come to life.

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Taya Iv is a portrait photographer, 500px ambassador, and host of Great Big Photography World podcast.
Taya Iv is a portrait photographer, 500px ambassador, and host of Great Big Photography World podcast.
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