" I like to capture images in ordinary everyday places and make them look extraodinary. Like wonderful things may be all around if you are able to see." Brian A Woodwick
Dear Brian, how did you get into photography ?
I have been shooting since I was 4. I started with a Kodak Brownie. We had a little contact printer instead of an enlarger. I didn't get an enlarger until 7th grade. It was a Durst. I now use a Beseler, which is a considerable improvement.
4 years old ?!... It's what I call a vocation. And did you learn in a special art school ?
No- though I could probably use instruction. I was in the darkroom in high school for all 4 years. It was called Graphic Arts and freshmen (9th grade of 12, so it was a 4 year high school.) were not allowed in the class. Somehow I talked my way into that class and at one point had 3 out of 5 classes in Graphic Arts. I shot for the local paper, school paper, yearbook, college paper, etc.
I went to the Evergreen State College in Olympia Wash. I had intended to take their photography classes but was not able to get into those classes. I worked in the darkroom as a student aid and probably learned more just talking with the intructors than if I had actually taken their class.
Who are your greatest inspirators ?
Jean Loup Sieff, Helmut Newton, Elliott Erwitt, Alfred Eisenstadt, WeeGee, Maxfield Parrish, etc.
Viewing your portfolios, it seems you never stop to shoot. How long could you be far from your camera ?
I have only had a few instances where I did not pick up a camera for awhile. Going through life's tribulations, challenges and rough patch's. Sometimes I do have to step back a bit to reevaluate. Sometimes you loose your way or get in a rut.
I always ask myself, am I just shooting the same thing over and over, or is this just my style or am I visually lazy.
I think it is balance of finding your style, not fighting what your sorta good with and also pushing your envelope.
The biggest complaint I receive is requests to stop shooting the damn angels and wings. I understand that. Fine art is pretty much against that sort of thing. It can be cheesy and overdone. I like to think my images of that ilk are better than most.
It makes part of your inspiration. About locations, do you feel particularly inspired by a type ? Outdoors maybe ?I like abandoned instustial type locations.
I like to capture images in ordinary everyday places and make them look extraodinary. Like wonderful things may be all around if you are able to see.
You seem to have a large preference for BW and natural light ?
I primarily shoot b/w film. I greatly prefer outdoor natural light. I do not have a real studio.
My studio is my living room, so I do not have much room to work in.
I have just recently gotten a digital camera. This has opened a whole new learning curve for me. I had to buy a new camera, of course- a Nikon D2X, a new notebook computer to run the images, and for the first time I had to get photoshop. All my experience on computers has been on PC. Everyone says you must get a Mac to do images with. So just learning to copy and manipulate the Macbook has been a real pain in the ass. I do not know the first thing about ps so that is a pain in the ass.
The great thing about the digital though is all the type of shoots that were a real time consuming issue for band shots, portfolio and commercial type images. Now it is instant and no wet darkroom time. That is now reserved just for the art images. But I have much to learn.
"Eliza lace head"
Some words about your models ?
I generaly prefer the non-traditional looks. I like the goth look, tatoo's, personality and unique that comes through etc. It is great to find a model that gets it and is willing to work with me on images. I have worked with some for many years. We may not even speak for over a year at a time, but rock the images when we do get together.
Aviva the ballerina I have worked with for almost 10 years since she was 13. She is now an actress in Hollywood and is doing well. She was in this summers big comedy hit "SuperBad". She played McLovin's target. I plan on shooting her the rest of her life.
Eliza or Magdelene is another delightful creature that allows me on occasion to capture images of her beautiful talent. She is an independant game designer or something like that, and sings in Abney Park.
How long dit it take to find your so particular style ? Without sophistication, I mean. Could you define it ?
I have always liked the old masters and have recently had several people describe my work as retro. I like that. I pretty much am not breaking new ground. I would guess that the infrared is the only difference between me and those I have admired. I used to try and capture the uniquely obvious.
Your pictures sounds really natural, improvised. What is exactly your process of creation ?
I try and have ordered chaos. I read how one of the big name photogs distains photographers that do not have their shoots all lined up with each detail already programed. I am not like that at all. I do want to have some structure as a base to work off of though.
"Leah alleyway nude 4-25"
And what is your favorite theme ?
Extraordinary images in an ordinary world.
Is there an ordinary world ?... Anyway, I love your way to do ! And how do you feel at the end of a shooting ?
Both drained and energized. Worried about what I missed.
Have you a special project, some challenges you're dreaming about in a next future ?
I must have a book !
You're right ! I'm sure it is coming... Have you scheduled your next exhibition ?
I sorta stepped away from that to work on a ghost town book that has completly stalled. I have a hard time limiting myself to a easy to define themes. This has produced much limitation for me. I am my own worst enemy.
"Mercury door to wonderland"
As so many artists... Have you published a book ? Is there a new one to come ?
I had been participating in a self produced workshop with my college buddy since 1991. He is a commercial photographer based in Santa Fe New Mexico. When he went through a divource, he was no longer able to work with models (new wife's concerns). We switched to ghost towns of the old west. We produced a demo book to shop around this summer.
While I am proud of the quality of the images, I was not happy with the actual layout or presentation of the book. That is not dead yet, just not on the hot burner.
I would like to do something at some point with the angels and witches, or the infrared images and something with all the bands I have shot.
A message to send ?
I am always asked what I am saying with a particular image. I never answer that as I would think it is distintly personal and a different answer for each image.
My goal would be for my image to speak to you and touch something within you.
It should spark some type of remembered experience that will be so much different for each of us.
You reach your goal Brian ! Many thanks for your kind participation.