Born and raised in the northern wastes of Illinois, northwest of Chicago, photographer Brit Woollard is a force to be reckoned with.
A Magna Cum Laude graduate from Berklee College of Music (class of 2009), she’s been a cellist for over fifteen years, a singer, guitarist, bassist and an accordion player, she is a Jill of all trades.
After working with Brit on two different projects I fell in love with her photography, and felt that her style would be perfect for Zouch readers. I caught up with her and we exchanged a few words…
Why have you chosen photography as your form of expression?
I actually am classically trained as an artist (drawing, painting, etc), but started experimenting with photography during a mixed media project my senior year of high school (2005). I was creating a few pieces a la Robert Rauschenberg – albeit darker, moodier, and with a touch of sexuality. I felt that if I included portraits of myself in my work, I could form a more intimate connection with the piece. I was awarded District and State recognition for my first works created. Realistically, the gallery scene is rough, and the materials I needed to keep up with fine art were hard to find and expensive – though I decided to keep working with photography as it challenged and fascinated me. My self portraits started out as… well, shitty photographs taken with a shitty camera, usually with a ‘MySpace’ feel [I am embarrassed to say]. However, I knew that my work had potential so I kept pushing myself. While studying at Berklee, I picked up a job as one of their main photographers for portraits, events, seminars, stock photos… you name it. I worked alongside Phil Farnsworth often, and I gotta say he really did help me a lot through the beginning stages of my photographic artistic growth. Students began noticing my work, and I began to market it more since I thoroughly enjoyed working with musicians. Not to mention, photography became my Plan B after the music industry collapse AND the economic downfall. The female population at Berklee is very small, but somehow most of the ladies sought me out to take their picture. This is where beauty and fashion started to creep into my work. I started experimenting with fashion a lot more from 2008 – 2009, and feel that I solidified my style and subject matter in late 2009. I still use music as a form of expression, but I also express myself thru my lens and tablet.
Your work is unique in its own right, how would you describe your photographic style?
I would describe my photographic style as fine art fashion with a dark twist. There are definitely elements of fashion and beauty, but presented in more of a fine art composition rather than advertising or editorial. I’ve also been sucked into this aggressive yet passionate love affair with the avant garde – so that has definitely been one of my favourite genres to work with. My use of colour and ‘time’ is unique to my style; and I’d say that my most expressive images exude a feeling of romanticism, peeping sexuality, fleeting moments, and dream-like essences.
When working in a creative field such a photography, ingenuity is a must. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
I draw a lot of my inspiration from music – whether it be classical, jazz, folk, rock, blues, soul – whatever genre. Music moves me, and I feel it. I also incorporate inspiration from lucid dreams, unforgettable moments, supernatural experiences, and even night terrors into the vivid imagery I create.
What does photography mean to you?
To me, photography is definitely a form of expression. It is definitely my statement to the world. It is a way to live. But it’s also a way of getting a reaction from another human. If I can push the envelope more, I will definitely go for it. To me, my job as a photographer and creative retoucher is to evoke something from the viewer – whether it’s good or bad. As long as it gets you talking, thinking, or feeling – I’m game. If I can spark a memory or personal emotion from one of my photos; wonderful. If I can upset you with one of my photos; even better. If I can sell you something; great – but you better believe there is an underlying message between the lines.
You’ve worked with numerous artists, models and personalities all across the continent, what’s next for you?
More magazines. International business trips. Climbing the ladder one slippery rung at a time.
What differentiates you from others in your field?
What / Who are some of your inspirations?
( In alpha order . . . )
1920‘s, Art, Alexander McQueen, Anime, Annie Leibovitz, Avant Garde Fashion, Beauty, Bjork, Cindy Sherman, Colour, Cosmetics, Cultures Different From My Own, Daguerreotypes, David LaChapelle, Death and Rebirth, Dita Von Teese, Dreams, Eyebrows, Fashion, Film, Gender Bending, Ghosts, Hayao Miyazaki, Jacqueline Mary du Pre, Japan, Karl Lagerfeld, Lady Gaga, Lara Jade, Leather, Love, Marlene Dietrich, Mert & Marcus, Military Jackets, Mirrors, Music, My Childhood, Naked Women, Noi.se Magazine, Noir, Paris, People Who Are Damn Good At What They Do, Radiohead, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Avedon, Sexuality, Skeletons, Stanley Donwood, Storms, Taboo, Tattoos, Thom Yorke, Time and Space, The Unknown, Tyler Etters, Vogue, Yo-Yo Ma . . .
Where will Brit Woollard Photography be five years from now?
New York. Paris. Monaco. Rome. Milan. London. Tokyo. The possibilities are endless!
To view more of Brit’s work make your way to britwoollard.com