TSOTA meets award winning photographer Claire Morris

By September 8, 2014

Art & Photography. Leeds.

[Photograph © Claire Morris Photography]


Until Spring 2013, photographer Claire Morris was based right here in Leeds. After dabbling in Art and Music Photography in her university days, Claire now specialises in Weddings, Portraits and Events and in 2013 she did something that most people only dream of – relocated to Paris. Claire has a number 1 Amazon best-selling book under her belt, a recent commission to document The Queen’s visit to Paris in June this year, and became a finalist in the ‘Wedding Photographer of the Year 2014’ Award.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Claire to chat about her truly inspiring career so far and to discuss her best-selling book My Paris Story, released May 2014…


TSOTA: Hi Claire! Starting at the beginning – what was it that sparked your love of photography and encouraged you to pursue it as a career?
CM: I was always top of the classes for Art. I would draw portraits of the famous as gifts – Art was my passion. When I went to college at 17, I chose to study subjects such as Media and English because I was told I would never get a job with Art!

2 months in, I went in to the offices crying to the Year Head. I was so unhappy that I transferred onto an Art course. I never really knew what I wanted to be in life – I only knew I was happy when creating art. And that was all I was concerned in. Being happy.

At university I chose to study Fine Art. During the first year we had various modules covering all types of artistic practices – one of which was a photography module. Back then there was no digital, so I was to experience the magic of film and dark room. Seeing your images slowly appear on paper through chemicals was magical – it evoked a fascination in imagery that never left me.

TSOTA: Are we right in saying it was Music Photography that first grabbed your attention?
CM: Over the years I’ve tried my hand to many photographic specialisms but yes I started out with music photography. This is where my photography career began. I was obsessed with music and longed to be a part of the music scene. A friend and I began covering concerts together for websites and magazines.

Music photography was amazing back then – I was shooting on film. I remember dropping my films into Yorkshire Post in Leeds and hoping to god that something would be on it, that I hadn’t loaded the film wrong or accidently exposed it! It was all a risk and hoping – shooting a concert on a no more than a 36 exposure film.
The real magic came seeing my images published in Magazines. And the rest I guess is history!

TSOTA: So after realising that photography was the career for you, what was it that made you take the plunge and move to one of the most beautiful cities in the world?
CM: I had a dream to one day live in Paris, but I never thought it would actually happen – you know the story…we get comfortable with the familiar, we fear the unknown, we are chained to the stuff we own and the monthly payments that come with it all. Big changes seem impossible.


Image 1
Photograph © Claire Morris Photography


But one day the rug was swept up from beneath my feet, my world became unfamiliar and I literally had nothing to lose. Only then, did I take the opportunity to live in Paris. Life has thrown its fair share of difficulties and struggles at me, but each time life shakes me up I know something incredible is about to ha ppen.

In an instant I made a decision, sold everything I owned and within 2 weeks I had moved out of Yorkshire, headed for Paris.

There were times when I wondered what the hell I was doing, sure. But I saw it as the opportunity I’d been waiting for, and if I didn’t go, I’d regret it forever.

Since the move, doors have opened and opportunities have literally fell into my lap.

Paris is incredible.

[click on thumbnails to enlarge]

Wedding Photography © Claire Morris Photography


TSOTA: Jealous would be an understatement! Can you tell us about your work on The Queen’s recent visit to Paris?
CM: Back in June 2014, I was commissioned to document Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Paris at The British Embassy over two days – they were the most surreal two days of my life.

The most special moment was photographing The Investiture. I was in the most beautiful Parisian room with no more than 20 people, including The Queen, Yeomen and guests. The summer light spilled in to the room lighting up The Queen like an angel. She had such an ethereal presence. Even now, 2 months on, I can’t believe I was there… really.
That was a truly a ‘I need to nip myself’ moment. I keep questioning myself – how on earth did I get here?!!!!


Image 2-2
Photograph © Claire Morris Photography


TSOTA: You have a number 1 best-selling book with Amazon, My Paris Story. You are now officially an author! What inspired you to work with a number of different writers to create this project?
CM: My Paris Story was created by Dawn Bournand – Founder of ‘The Paris Women of Success’ group. I joined this group when I first moved to Paris as a way to meet friends and network. Dawn listened to our various life stories and came up with the idea to put them into a book to inspire others.

The book combines the stories of 22 authors from around the globe who have made their dreams come true. It is a result of harnessing the extraordinary creative energy of an exuberant, passionate and motivated group of women who actually did pick up everything and take the leap to follow their hearts’ desires in the city of light.


Image 3-2
Photograph © Claire Morris Photography


In May 2014, My Paris Story was launched worldwide. It became a number 1 Amazon best seller within 24 hours in the self-help/ improvement category.
I was no longer a girl who had a dream…I was living the dream; part of something big, exciting and united with 21 wonderful inspiring women launching our book in PARIS!!!!

Who’d have thought? I never imagined I’d actually move to Paris. I never thought I’d write a book for that matter either. Labelled dyslexic at school and constantly arguing with my computer screen because it doesn’t even recognise the words I’m trying to type – let alone offer me alternatives, who’d have thought I’d be able to call myself an author.

TSOTA: What would you say is the toughest aspect of being a Photographer?
CM: I’ve worked crazy hard and taken a lot of risks to get where I am. I made mistakes but that’s the only way to learn. I never studied business and you never realise being a creative, such as a photographer, that you would have to run a business too… that’s been the hardest bit.

I’ve pushed myself hard creatively to enable myself to stand out. I never wanted to do anything else and had to do everything possible to make it work. I never gave up. Photography, my business and Art get me up in the morning – it’s what my heart beats for.

TSOTA: 2014 has been an incredible year for you and we’re only half way through! What is next on the horizon?
CM: Having been so inspired by the book project, My Paris Story, giving me experience and the courage to believe in myself, I’m now currently working on a book of my own. I’ve been working on it for around a year. I don’t want to say too much at this early stage but it will encompass some of my past years’ work based in Paris.

TSOTA: Thanks Claire, we can’t wait!

Benjamin Paul


Visit Claire’s website for more stunning photographs: www.clairemorrisphotography.com

To buy Claire’s collaborative book My Paris Story, visit www.myparisstory-thebook.com

Follow Claire @clairemorrisuk or on facebook.com/ClaireMorrisPhotographer

Filed under: Art & Photography