Two weeks ago ThePerfectPlay had the opportunity to visit an event titled “Smiles” at Thank You Gallery in Norfolk, Virginia. Thank You Gallery has served as a creative outlet for all different types of artistry since their opening earlier this year hosting names such as Avi Gold from Sneeze Magazine, DJ Bee during their “Record Store Day” and now Bryan Woodland presenting his photo exhibit “SMILES”. We had a chance to catch up with Bryan and talk to him some about his journey in photography, inspiration and much more. Check out our Q&A with Bryan below accompanied by his very own photos.
TPP: Where are you from ?
BW: I’m from Chesapeake, VA. Right in between the borders of VA Beach and Norfolk. I spent about eight years in Richmond and have been living in LA the past four years.
TPP: How old are you ?
TPP: What age did you begin your journey as a photographer ?
BW: I learned how to make a pinhole camera and develop the film paper in high school, but I never really pursued photography. We had to take a black and white photography class at VCU so I learned how to develop and enlarge photos which was dope, but once again didn’t really keep up with it. A friend of mine gave me an old polaroid camera from the 80’s which was brand new. It was right before they discontinued the polaroid film. I was shooting on that a lot for a while. I liked shooting skate photos, I wish I could find those.
TPP: What do you enjoy most about photography ?
BW: I like to just carry my camera around. No destination, not really intending to shoot anything. I think the thing I enjoy most is knowing that I have an image on a roll of film that I am excited about, and then going through the process of finishing the roll and taking it to get developed. The spot I go to takes about a week, so picking up the roll or rolls is my favorite part.
TPP: What feedback do you receive from viewers of your photos typically ?
BW: Honestly, this is the first time a larger group of people have probably seen my photos. I never intended to show them, other than the blog I post on out of Barcelona (questheavy.tumblr.com) so I’m not really sure who’s seen them!
TPP: What inspires your photography ?
BW: I think as a creative, it’s just another extension. It allows you to continue to work no matter where you go. I like the aspect of collecting images. People, places, things, and putting them into a series.
TPP: What can expect in the future from your photography ?
BW: I will continue to shoot, and hopefully put together the book or zine that I was actually thinking about doing for the show. It will have some photos that I have that didn’t make it into the show because of space constraints and hopefully new photos that have yet to be shot.
TPP: What was the inspiration behind your exhibit “SMILES” at Thank You Gallery ?
BW: Doddie and Eric from Thank You both had mentioned having a show at the gallery. When Doddie hit me up and we really nailed down when I would be having the show, he asked if I would want to show the photos I had been posting on the blog. He really liked them so I was stoked and it was something new I had never really thought about doing.
TPP: What was the thought process behind the live roses spelling out “SMILES” at the exhibit ?
BW: I have illustrated a lot of type made of out of different objects. The logo of the gallery is a rose so I really wanted to do the typography for the show flyer made of roses. After the flyer was done, I was thinking that if I could recreate the logo for the show out of live roses it would be a really sick installation. I reached out to Rong who has been working out of the Never Not studio in Richmond. He makes a lot of sculptures out of this metal cloth I think it’s called. It’s like the big brother to chicken wire. He was able to execute my vision for the skeleton of the type and it was on from there. 600+ live roses later it was hanging and complete.
TPP: What is your favorite photo of all time ?
BW: Favorite photo, hm, I grew up looking at skate mags heavily. Skate photos are always awesome. Atiba probably shoots the best skate photos. I can’t really say that I have a favorite photo though, too many good ones out there. Some people I like off the top of my head are Atiba, Dash Snow, Nicole Pagan, Ryan Mcginley, Terry Richardson.
TPP: Who is one person you wish to work with that you haven’t yet ?
BW: I don’t think I really have an approach that lends itself to actually working with someone but I’m not opposed to it of course. I do keep adding people to my list of portraits Id like to get, so I just kind of put it out into the universe like, “it would be sick to run into Bill Murray one day, I’d like to shoot some photos of Bill Murray” and then see what happens from there.
follow Bryan on instagram: @bwoodsss