How many wedding photographers also have a degree in biomedical sciences? We don't know exactly, but we can report here, at least one: Brittany Esther Staddon. Photography didn’t come to Brittany by chance; she was mentored by her father in her teenage years. Her grandfather was also passionate about documenting his life on camera. Based somewhere in the Canadian mountains, Brittany has travelled to many locations, photographing cultures, and even visiting and photographing Iceland way before it became the hipster photographer’s ultimate destination (did I say that?). Her photography is sensitve, beautiful and amazing. Read more of Brittany’s amazing journey in her ten questions.
1. What is life to you? What it should be?
Life is this grand little venture we are all on and my primary goal is to make the most out of it. Growing up my father always encouraged me to take once in a lifetime opportunities that would arise regardless of they would set me back in the grand scheme of things – and that is something I have referenced repeatedly. It’s about the experiences, the stories, and the people you meet and lose that make it all worthwhile. I don’t want to wait for retirement to travel or fulfill goals – those are things I’ll do now.
2. When did you find your calling in photography?
Photography was introduced to me as a way to reconnect with my father during a blip in my teenage years. My grandfather had passionately documented his life using his Canon rangefinder on thousands of slides (which I am slowly digitizing). My father followed suit by purchasing a Pentax and building a darkroom with enlarger in his parents’ basement. Our relationship was not so much one of father/daughter but more of mentor/mentee. It took us road tripping through the mountains and traveling overseas to Sierra Leone and Iceland (before it was the photographers’ ultimate destination, promise). As for wedding stuffages, I finished my degree in biomedical sciences only to spend two months driving around the US and three weeks in Australia before deciding doctoring or researching was not where I saw myself in a dozen years. Instead I packed up my bags, moved to a mountain town and started doing weddings full time.
3. Do you have a “second profession” or passion?
Photography is entirely what I do but on weekdays I tend to fill my time with hiking, as it would be a shame to live ten minutes from Banff National Park and not want to enjoy the outdoors. There are so many places within an hour of home that I still have not gone to and I hope that in twenty years I can say I am truly a local and will be familiar with the majority of the hikes around here. I have grand plans to take up climbing, whittling and embroidery sometime in the future.
4. What movie did you love recently?
I can say with confidence it was definitely not Pitch Perfect 2. But seriously, A Single Man. I cannot think of many movies that have ended with me feeling completely invested in the roles and the plot. It’s a movie that automatically ricocheted into my top five. It is beautifully filmed, beautifully acted, and a wonderful peace.
5. Is/Are there any project(s) you wish you could do - or might do?
Oh my, this one really hits. When I was twenty I worked with an organization to document their work in the western highland regions of Guatemala empowering and improving the lives of the indigenous people through water and health, forestry and more recently microcredit and women empowerment programs. There was something about documenting culture that fascinated me. With the busy-ness of life it is something I haven’t further pursued but going forward it may be something I may look into.
6. Is there a big difference between your personal work and commissioned work?
I feel like I am slowly closing the divide but I would say that my personal work tends to be darker than my commissioned work. There is a bit of a fear that wedding work shouldn’t be dark and that darker work wouldn’t appeal to customers. The images that I am most excited about are full of shadows and cooler tones. Yet as I gain confidence my commissioned work is darker and there is something satisfying about that.
7. Do you shoot with your left or right eye?
Most definitely right. Although it’s a bit funny since my left eye has perfect vision and my right eye I can’t even read a license plate ten feet in front of me.
8. Are there any unseen experimental images in your attic you’d like to show us now?
Not at this point in time :)
9. Who do you respect - in photography or elsewhere?
Without a doubt my favourite photographer is Emmanuel Smague. I first discovered his work years ago on Flickr and his candid yet simply honest images of every day life captivated me – particularly his black and white work.
10. If you were to start all over again, is there anything you would do differently? Why?
If I were to go back with the knowledge I have at this moment I probably would do things differently – I would shoot more for myself, I would not look at others’ work as much. But at the same time I look but at my first answer and realize this is all a journey and that skittish uncertainty and self-doubt makes me who I am today and formed the inspiration behind my imagery. So quite honestly, probably not. But for anyone just starting out I would definitely recommend finding inspiration in their own work, rather than others.