27 July 2023

Local photographer nails Canberra life in viral memes

| James Coleman
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Canberra on Instagram

‘The Mortz’ on Instagram features memes about Canberra. Photo: Screenshot.

You might know him by his handle, “themortz”.

Daniel Morton Jones has more than 4000 followers on social media platform Instagram. Some are there for his photography, but the vast majority for the way he pokes fun at Canberra life with memes.

The north-south divide, getting on a bus only to realise it’s stopping past Dickson, how tradies behave on William Hovel Drive at 3 pm, and how to talk to someone who hasn’t copped a fine from the cameras on Northbourne Avenue yet. We’ve all been there, and now Daniel has tied these experiences to various memorable quotes and scenes from movies and TV shows to create viral results.

For instance, one comparing Canberra kids going for a swim in Lake Tuggeranong to Bear Grylls splashing about in a stagnant spring has been viewed more than 63,000 times.

“Filthy and stinky,” Bear Grylls begins, while spitting out traces of brown water from his mouth.

“…but undeniably lovely.”

Sound familiar?

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Needless to say, Daniel was born and bred in Canberra, and spent 15 years south of the invisible divide and now, together with his wife, 15 years north of it.

“So I’ve kind of got an idea of both cultures,” he says.

Admin is his day job, but event and portrait photography is a side hustle to the point one of his shots of the Brindabellas at sunset was chosen by BioPak to be circulated in cafes around the country on its disposable cups.

But he was still after other ways of getting his work out there. Then in February this year, he struck gold.

“It kind of all happened after I shared a joke with my wife as we were heading home along the Tuggeranong Parkway,” Daniel recalls.

“There’s that last set of lights with the Awaken church on the corner, where it feels like you’re in a drag-race situation where you’ve got cars lined up across three lanes. It feels like you have to race the other people next to you, because of the way it’s all set up.

“I thought, ‘Surely I’m not the only one who feels that way’.”

Daniel Morton Jones

Canberra photographer Daniel Morton Jones had one of his works published on coffee cups around the country. Photo: Daniel Morton Jones.

He cut some iconic scenes from The Fast and The Furious together with his wife driving the same stretch of road, and hit the ‘share’ button.

“And yeah, sure enough, within a week, it hit 1000 views and 2000 the next week. It became my first viral video, mostly from Canberrans sharing it with each other because they understood that same spot.”

The ideas continue flowing for content, mostly inspired by “a mix of lived experiences”. Especially falling asleep at night as a child to the white noise of a Commodore ripping tyres.

“Whenever we have rain, there is bound to be someone doing a burn-out somewhere,” he says.

Other inspiration comes from watching discussion points on the Canberra Reddit forum and Canberra Notice Board Group on Facebook.

“I don’t intend to make fun of people, because I feel the pain on both the north and south sides. But Canberra gets quite a bad rap, and my intention is to laugh at that as well, and tap into the underlying culture that only Canberrans understand Canberra.”

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His wife always knows when he’s pulled off a good one.

“If I’m just sitting there, spending 15 minutes just laughing at my own joke, before I post it, that’s when I know it’s good,” Daniel says.

Based on the comments, more than half of his audience is local.

“Canberrans are sharing them, and then sometimes I’ll also get comments from people who used to live here but have since moved away.”

For others, it’s more about “trying to really show off the city I love”.

“It’s been good to just try to remain positive where possible and make people laugh.”

But don’t take our word for it – you can watch all Daniel’s memes here.

Original Article published by James Coleman on Riotact.

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