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“Chasing the light:” How one photographer illuminates Excelsior Springs

Kevin Morgan’s entire being seems to thrum with energy. He leaps from one subject to the next, from archeology to photography to philosophy, with barely a pause between, because to him, so much of it all seems related.

And above all of it is light. Light, he says, is everything.

Morgan’s photography is one long love letter to Excelsior Springs, of which he is a lifelong resident – and student, as well.

“I grew up here, not really seeing anything,” Morgan said. “But then I got to a place where history began to mean something. I see kids on Isley Boulevard, waiting for the bus, and I wonder, do they know that people used to gather there 9,000 years ago? We are really exceptional.” Morgan is driven to learn what he can about the place he calls home, from the rocks the town is built on and of, to the people who tread those same rocks thousands of years ago, and how it relates back to what he sees today.

Kevin Morgan

Kevin Morgan

“I feel like it owns me,” Morgan said of the town. “I belong here.”

“We’re an untold story,” Morgan added. “And what a fascinating thing for a photographer to work with.”

Because if Excelsior Springs is an “untold story,” then Morgan is working hard as its storyteller, whether he knows it or not. From rural landscapes to downtown scenes to stunning portraits of the people who populate both, Morgan’s photography captures it all. However, he stressed that he isn’t a teacher; he’s a student of Excelsior. “These are moments of discovery for me, as well,” he explained. “It’s a matter of discovering where I live, and sharing that with people, so that they are discovering this right along with me.”

And sharing, for Morgan, is instrumental in his art. Because it isn’t really art, until it’s shared, Morgan explained. “That’s how art really works,” Morgan stated. “It’s like music. What good is it, if no one ever hears it? Art is about confirmation, and interaction. Art’s nature is that it is experienced by other people.””

For Morgan, excitement and curiosity motivate him. “I’ve got a lot of curiosity. We live in an amazing place,” he said. Competition is a motivating factor, as well – but it’s his own self that he competes against. “In a one-on-one competition, who better to go up against than myself?” That’s why a photo of one particular place may show up again later, as he tries to outdo his last shot.

“How hard is it for other people to really get you accurately? It may be that the most accurate portrayals that we can ever share of ourselves with other people is in those individual creations that come out of the shared experience.”

But although Excelsior Springs seems to be a focus, it’s what illuminates Excelsior that really excites Morgan.

“Light is everything. The thing I’m really looking for is the light. I’m always chasing that. Because in the correct light, it doesn’t matter what the subject is. In the right light, everything is incredible and beautiful and a miracle.”

Kevin Morgan excels at capturing that light, and illuminating Excelsior Springs in his art.

His work can be found at Molly Roberts Studio, at 109 E. Broadway St., Excelsior Springs.

By Samantha Kilgore •

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One Response to “Chasing the light:” How one photographer illuminates Excelsior Springs

  1. Gary Sanson Reply

    January 7, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Great article. We appreciate what Kevin does for our community and we are so fortunate to have him. Thank you Kevin for capturing it all, it’s our world!
    Gary Sanson

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