Images elevate athletic movement in this British photographer's visual pursuit

Movement leads to an exploration of ourselves and our surroundings, but also of visual creativity. The lens of this British photographer is an experimental laboratory where his work often intersects with sports. Moran’s gallery is a flow of sensations and hues elevated by movement, and vice versa; a lengthy, ongoing journey between echoes of legendary photographers and contemporary, sometimes even anticipatory, style choices.

“I’ve always felt photography around me. It’s something I’ve always been interested in and developed over time, especially in my college days when I could travel, surround myself with people with similar tastes, and discover many different print techniques. Magnum photographers were the first I was inspired by, as well as contemporary American classics, such as Alec Soth. As for sports, I played rugby when I was young, then moved to London and took up cycling. During the pandemic, I began running a lot in the Devon countryside with my brother. Over the years, I’ve been an assistant for several fashion photographers, so during those runs, I got the idea to connect artistic-fashion photography to running and other sports I love, like cycling. As a kid, I spent hours watching the Tour de France on TV…”

Exploration is about details and curiosity, Matt explains. In a great sporting event, significant details always go unnoticed. In a great athlete, there is always an aesthetic and narrative key that no one has found. His images tell this tale through fragments of a futuristic running culture, an uncharacteristic side to cycling, and a limitless celebration of movement.

“Working for other photographers has given me the confidence to approach different styles. I like to blur, use flash and distinctive elements, angles and colors. My photos are an accumulation of everything that inspires me, and I think it’s somewhat liberating not to be tied to an immovable aesthetic. Every project and event determines my aesthetic direction. Oftentimes, I don’t even have a brief; I simply react to what’s in front of me. I think everything around performance is intriguing: the lights, the starting gun, the tech, and the little details that only a few notice… Getting under the skin of each athlete, performance and scenario is exciting.”

The Glasgow World Cycling Championships, Rory Leonard’s tests, the London Marathon, Hoka, and wander, and Dosnoventa: Moran’s creative flow touches on sports on so many different levels; it is nurtured and empowered by it, and allows him to waltz between reportage and artistic-fashion invention, in part thanks to his meticulous postproduction effort.

“I’ve always been exposed to the fashion world, and I find its influence on sports imagery positive, especially from a photographic point of view. A lot of my personal work has led to collaborations with brands – I feel the time is right for brands to open up to different photographic perspectives. Everything seems connected somehow, and I try to have the same approach for all projects. A short while ago, I shot the Great North Run in Newcastle, where I live with my girlfriend. That project led to a commissioned work on the Night of the 10k PB, a fanzine, and finally a shoot in Japan for and wander… I love to experience and share my work as a scrapbook, where postproduction plays a key role. So much of my work comes after shooting, and I really enjoy laboring over color gradations, the treatment of each shot, and the print process.”

“I would love to photograph the Olympics in Paris,” Moran concludes. He tells us about his present and future, split between long runs in the north of England, where he covers 50 miles (80 kilometers) each week, and shoots around the globe, “And I’d love to follow an athlete for a long-term project, like during the lead-up to a major event. I’m intrigued by the idea of working with a young talent and watching them become a star. UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc) and running culture in Kenya are two other things that fascinate me. I also want to run the London Marathon in under 2 hours 40…. We’ll see what happens!”