Brett is one of those rare individuals that goes all in when it comes to making his art. It’s nothing for him to spend more time in his jeep getting to a shoot than actually shooting and that’s the way it is every single weekend. The face behind Tidy Photography primarily shoots fashion and abandonment, often combining the two. I’ve had the pleasure of joining Brett for many adventures and he’s one of my favorite people to travel with. Make sure you take the time to check out his work on Facebook, Instagram, and follow him on Twitter. If you happen to be in the Chicagoland swing by the Morpho Gallery and see some of his work at their photography exhibit running April 4th – May 4th.
1. How did you get interested in Photography?
Like many photographers I liked to shoot most of my life, whether it was my parents’ really old film cameras in the 70’s and 80’s or when I finally got my own. It was never anything serious, just your average kid capturing life. I eventually gave it up in my college years only to pick it back up about 10 years ago. I focused on capturing the things that interested me; textures, lines, and colors. I found this to be very prevalent in old buildings, ones that had been long forsaken. My love for photographing these locations turned into a full blown obsession and still to this day encompasses a large portion of my body of work. I use that to create both art and as inspiration and locations for my fashion work. About 4 years ago I turned my cameras on to people for the first time. I was afraid for a long time to shoot people, seriously afraid. Through gentle nudging and encouraging from some great people I eventually dove into portraiture. I’m not a natural light shooter at all and learning how to control and make my own light has been a huge catalyst in getting from where I was to where I am.
2. How would you describe your style?
Beyond dabbling in landscape and nature, my photographic work has 2 sides to it. What slowly started and has become the majority of my work is portraiture, within that, editorial fashion. I think I have a darker or alternative edge compared to your typical editorial fashion portraiture. The other main part of my work involves photographing abandoned buildings for the sake of creating art. I love the beauty of the decay’s ever-changing textures and colors. I like to focus on scenes of a minimalist nature. I have a technical approach and like all of my straight lines to be straight, not all abandonment photography has to be dark and creepy.
3. Who or what inspires you creatively?
I draw most inspiration from other forms of art, whether it’s cinema, music, or classic art. My favorite art movement ever is 19th century impressionism. This style captures the essence of the subject rather than it’s details and there is an emphasis on accurate depiction of light. Light itself inspires me as well, I love watching a battle between light and dark as it plays across a room. The locations that I shoot in really inspire me as well, inspire to preserve as well as to create art.
4. If you could photograph anyone living or dead, anywhere in the world, who and where would you pick? Why?
I was never good at following rules, so I’m going to pick 2 people, Jack White and Alison Mosshart. Where would be the number one place on my bucket list, Pripyat, Ukraine. Why them? I’ve been a huge fan of both of theirs for a long time, through pretty much every incarnation they’ve been through separately and when they combined force, it just blew me away. Pripyat holds a draw from multiple standpoints, most notably it is a whole ‘modern’ city that has been abandoned for nearly 30 years, but also because it was a huge part of the cold war era, one that having grown up during the height of, really pulls on me.
5. What do you wish you knew when you go started?
Everything, so that I didn’t have to spend so many long years trying and failing and failing more. So many things I would have done differently, so many shots I would have taken or not taken, so many changes in perspective. However, I’m very glad I knew as little as I did when I started. I didn’t know what I wasn’t supposed to do and I did it. I’m glad I failed as much as I did when I started, if not for those trials and failures I would not be the artist that I am today. My only regret is all the places that I shot in the very beginning that are no longer with us, that I never got around to shooting again. All of this has allowed me to be non-traditional in many regards.