Stories from the Ocean Exhibition

This weekend, as part of the Manly Arts Festival, me and 5 other photographers are holding a photography exhibition at Queenscliff Surf Club!

On top of a visual feast of ocean and surfing images, there will also be a free meditation class, Yoga warm-up stretches for Surfers, a. talk about health and nutrition by Liz Dene of The Wellness Girls and live music. 

At 4pm on Saturday is our official opening, with music then s short talk by Vanessa from Manly Spirits. 


The time table goes like this 

Saturday 21st September

  • 7am Opening - check the photos out all weekend
  • 8am Himalayan Breathwork and asana by the sattva life
  • 2pm Tips for shooting in the water 
  • 4pm  Music by @_otto_wavemusic  and Didgeridoo Journeys
  • 4:30pm Vanessa from @manlyspirits 
  • 6pm Music by @luxtrevis

Sunday  22 September

  • 7am Opening
  • 9-9:45 am  yoga with naomi 
  • 2-2:45pm yoga with naomi 

The Photographers

Mark Morgan

Seamus Byrne - @seamusbphoto

An emerging surf and lifestyle photographer based in the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Seamus’ works focus on the relaxed surf culture and the beautiful waters that surround Sydney’s beaches. Through this, he captures emotive moments in and between waves. 

Ross Long - @rosslongphotography

Ross is a landscape, adventure and lifestyle photographer originally from Cornwall, England but became a Manly local in 2017.
Ross spends 70% of his year travelling across Australia and New Zealand for work, which allows him to explore the depths of these two magical countries.
Ross moved from being a land based photographer to an ocean based photographer with the aim of capturing the landscape/seascape from above and under the water. He spent the majority of his youth in the cold Cornish waters and wanted to combine his love of the ocean with his love of photography.

Catherine Foulstone - @catfoulstone

is a northern beaches based photographer. Her work explores escapism, offered at the hands of the ocean. Wide open expanses and fluidity in motion directly juxtapose the hustle of urban life - a welcome reprise that so many of us can appreciate.

John Wolfson -  @johnwolfson

has become an essential form of expression. Feeling absorbed in the subject matter that surrounds. Having grown up on the northern beaches, the ocean provides much fulfilment as both surfer and photographer. His works often flow from reality into abstraction.

Daniel  Gschwind  - @daniel.g_photography

Daniel spent the majority of his adult life working as a Physiotherapist, trying to help people with their physical impairments. While working with people on a daily basis he realised that every human approaches, feels and interprets various aspects of life differently. Photography for him is a medium to express and transfer emotions in order to cope with his work-life balance. Daniel first began teaching himself photography in 2012, mainly from watching youtube videos and reading blogs in the internet. His photographic knowledge is self taught and has never received any formal photographic education.

Sunday Yoga with Naomi Lim

15-20 mins yoga routine (applying the principle of synchronising breath with movements), which can be practised on a daily basis to feel stronger, flexible and focused (i.e increase flexibility in the hips and hamstrings, open up the chest and lengthen out the spine)

Two sessions on Sunday 



Let’s talk health by Liz Dene

sports nutrition- improving performance * peak energy * increasing energy and wellbeing * nutrition and wellness * Live well, age well-improving performance with nutrition * improving sports performance using yoga and Pilates.

2pm on Saturday

The Sattva Life

The Sattva Life provides simple and highly effective training to calm the mind & body, creating space for the good life

The Musicians 

Joana Ruival

Joana Ruival explores different facets of music and live performance. An identity chameleon that brings us music powered by vibration: acoustic, electronic & sound healing.

Producing music in cooperation with several musicians,  each individual is temporarily displaced and then returns to its original equilibrium, creating something new in their journey. 

Lucas Trevisan | Lux Trevis - Spreading love and light around Mother Earth  @luxtrevis -

Marc ‘kundalini’ Cottee

Didgeridoo & Medicine Drum sound healing baths / performances / lessons. Nature connection experiences & bushcraft. Acknowledgement of Country.


Framing by @mafgallery

Some beverages supplied by :

@manlyspirits .  -

@nomadbreweries .  -

Details of Manly Ars Festival

risky business

I love the Ocean so much.  But its almost killed me twice.

Being in the ocean , or even being near the Ocean feels good for my soul. Even though I live 5 minutes walk away from the beach, I find it very difficult to book a holiday or even a weekend away that is not near the ocean. If it cant be near the ocean , then surely it's not going to be going to be relaxing and fun. 
So it's strange to think that the 2 of closest times Ive come to dying have all been in the Ocean. 

Both times have been in pursuit of images. 

Pain in the neck

The first time was a freak accident.  Waves were small, and I was standing waist deep  in water at Queenscliff beach .  I was trying to capture a surfer on a wave, and as he carved off the wave in front of me, the fins of his surf board managed to catch my neck.  An artery was severed, but I was lucky that the wetsuit I had on was tight around my neck and somehow kept the bleeding to a minimum, when i got to the local manly hosital, the first doctor who saw me  , asked me to tilt my neck to the side, as I did this, a massive spray of blood covered him and the rest of the room . Its like it was waiting for the right moment .   I'll never forget his words  "Nurse - we need an ambulance now!  " Not great words to hear a doctor say about you whist you are already in a hospital .    I was rushed from Manly Hospital to Royal Northshore in an ambulance - and not once did the doctor who first saw me let go of the wound on my neck.   I required emergency surgery to repair the artery that had been cut.  It was a very scary experience.

The second time was not a freak accident, it was due to pure stupidity on my part.  

Big swim and the Disco

One of my favourite things to do is to swim and shoot in waves that put me out of my comfort zone. There is nothing quite like bopping around in the ocean, with a bunch of surfers and boogers experiencing the thrill of massive waves bearing down on you.  Its unpredictable , and its frightening at times.  There is such an awesome vibe amongst the surfers, it hard to explain to people who havent been there. Every big wave thats caught - the surfers all whoop and holler when someone gets a good ride, especially a any barrels.But if you are careful , and know what you are doing, it can be excillirating.   Of course its not as dangerous or scary as actually trying to surf these waves,  if I had to try and catch some of the waves I see surfers going for I would be out of business for life. 
My usual hunting ground is around the northern beaches, id love to have the time to travel further , but family life and commitments does not allow for this freedom.  Its been a dream of mine to make it out to Shark Island during a large swell, and one day all the stars aligned and I got the opportunity to get to get down to Cronulla .The waves were huge, it was atleast 14ft., me and my friend nick were super excited. 

It was only when I was on the beach did I realise I had left my fin savers at home. Its had been a long time since a wave had taken my fins , so I though I was safe. 

We started the swim out to the point, and once we were about 100m out, a massive set of waves came bearing down on us. 

As the first wave broke, I took a slow , but too slow dive below , and the wave smashed down straight onto my fins and ripped them from my feet.  As someone who swims in the ocean with fins 99% of the time , it’s a horrible feeling . It’s almost like your legs are gone and you you have no power when you kick. Given you are also holding a heavy camera , it literally feels like you are swimming with one arm.

As I came up for air,  i was greeted by the next wave in the set , and it had its way with me.  I was tumbled and turned .  By now I had lost sight of Nick and I was being rapidly washed down the beach.   This is not a good thing, because its very unlikely you will be washed on to the beach, you are more likely to be taken into an outgoing rip, and taken out to sea. Without fins, 14ft waves, a lot of moving water  and carrying a heavy camera, you are not in control of your destination. 

Life savers

It seemed like set after set was breaking on my head, and I was tossed about like a leaf.  I kept drinking water, and I was fighting to try and keep my head above water. In white water, its so hard to keep your head up because there is so much foam.   I know it was critical to not panic,  and my I just pictured myself in a night club dancing on the dance floor. I could picture the music, and I pictures the coloured lights and the thumping music.   I picked up this tip from watching Big wave surfer Ross Clark-Jones.  I swear it saved my life because it look my mind off panicking.   Thoughts of my children and family kept popping into my head but I kept pushing them out with doomp doomp music .

I could see a group of people watching me, and I knew they were helpless.   But it was comforting to know I had someone out there who knew were I was. 

I kept wondering when the right time would be to let go my camera and focus on saving my life.  I managed to get pushed to the rocks and ocean pool  , when my feet touched ground it was a huge relieve , but I knew the battle was not over yet.   I had to be careful to not get smashed against the rocks because there was still huge amounts of water washing over the rocks and the rapidly washing out again . All it would take was a big wave, and my head on a rock for it to be all over.  I desperately fought against the water, and it was really hard work to be kept from being washed out again. I inched closer and closer to the edge of the sea wall, where I knew I would be able to get some protection from the waves, as well as get some grip .  

From the corner of my eye I saw 2 life guards running along the walk way along the sea front, it was a huge relief, although if I had been washed out Im not sure they could have done much.  The water was wild, and I think even a rescue boat would have struggled to keep control. 

I eventually made it to safety,  my friend Nick and the life guards got to where I was and checked if I was ok.   I lay on the ground with my eyes closed. I was exahusted. I was relieved.  

I remember getting up and trying to walk up some stairs. My legs were like jelly I could barely walk . I wonder how much longer I could have fought for my life .  This experience gave me a big wake up call. 

Never rush . And always make sure you have the right equipment . It’s never a bad time for disco .

Exhibit - Sea People

I have a new exhibition and some exciting things happening in the first 2 weeks of July. 

My exhibition. 

So much about the ocean is unknown, undiscovered and mysterious. So much of what is taught to us encourages fear. We learn about rips and currents, big waves and sharks, we hear of drownings and deaths and are told to obey flags and rules. But anyone lucky enough to live near it, anyone who is able to swim, dive or surf in it, knows just how magical, liberating and life-enhancing the ocean can be.  My images are inspired by this dichotomy of fear and love that overwhelms our relationship with the ocean.

This series of images intends to capture that feeling of sublime freedom that exists underwater, a place where we can be simultaneously vulnerable and unrestrained. There is a raw beauty in being stripped back to our natural state, this underwater world giving us permission to release the shackles and constraints of our everyday human experience and become weightless, brave, floating and free. When we confront what scares us, we remove its power and in that way our greatest fears can become our greatest freedom.

I chose women as the subject of these images because, for me, there is something beautiful in the fluidity and grace of the female form that embodies the emotional and spiritual essence of freedom. An elegance of movement that seems entirely at home in the dappled light, patterns, and reflections beneath the surface of the ocean.


For this exhibition I  am collaborating with some amazing  people who’s subjects merge perfectly with my imagery. 

The Ocean, Health and Wellbeing. 

Firstly I have Johannes Egberts who will be doing 2 talks and one workshop on the Wim Hof method . 

Thursday  4th July  - 1 hour Introduction to Wim How with Johannes Egberts 

Thursday 11th July  - 1 hour Introduction to Wim How with Johannes Egberts 

Saturday 13th July  - Full work shop

You can read a recent article about Johannes and the Win Hof method here.

Daily I will be having a hour yoga and meditation class.  (11:30am - 12:30pm) with Emma Whitaker. 

Emma is a yoga & mindfulness teacher who believes in our infinite potential to evolve & create the life we desire.  Authentic yoga is much more than physical exercise, it’ s a science, a spiritual technology that works with the body, energy & mind, to enhance our human possibility.

We will be connecting with breath to stabilise body, energy & mind, aligning with the raw beauty of our wholeness, stripping away all that doesn’t serve us. Focusing on slow mindful movement,  practicing riding the waves of our experience,  to flow through life with more ease & grace. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”- Jon Kabat- Zinn.  

All levels are welcome, come to restore, revitalise & reconnect.

Additionally I will have some warm pies available from Ryan.

Thank you to Northern Beaches council for giving me access to this beautiful space.


All images owned by Mark Morgan
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