5 Minutes with…Brett Jefferson Stott, London Festival of Photography30/05/12
The London Festival of Photography, celebrating street, documentary and conceptual photography, is launching this week across London at 18 major venues including the Tate Modern, Museum of London and V&A. We grabbed the chance to catch up with the man behind the concept, Mr. Brett Jefferson Stott, and see what inspires him!
Photography fanatic and successful entrepreneur, Brett is a published photographer and musician with vast experience in web and design to add to his bow. He drew on all of these talents to set up Shoot Experience in 2005, a popular experiential photography organisation gets participants to fuse art, culture, and fun within local environments. Shoot Experience also arranges treasure hunts, workshops, storytelling events and competitions, all celebrating photography.
So TJ asks, what motivates the man behind the vision?
Can you describe your passion for photography in one sentence?
It’s the most accessible of all the art forms and has the power to change lives.
What do you think Photography and creative imagery brings to our society?
Photography is used to record and create and has infiltrated almost every aspect of life in the western world. Without photography we wouldn’t have been able to make the advancements we have made in medicine and astronomy, for example. As a society, we are all becoming more visual; personally, I couldn’t image an article without at least one image to provide relevant context. Photography is empowering everyday people to be creative through affordable cameras and aspirational notions of identity and self-promotion. Most of the most moving pieces of journalism I come across are heavily image-led.
Where’s your favorites place to take your camera in London?
The Square Mile on a Saturday or Sunday morning, though now that I run a photography organisation full time I’d be lying if I said I took photos other than on holiday.
Do you believe in the expression ‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it.’?
There is a lot to be said for the subject, but just as much for the photographer. If we are talking about professional or skilled photography then absolutely, on the most basic level photographers influence the environment they are capturing, and craft a consistent tonal aesthetic appropriate to each project.
Who or what in the creative world most inspires you?
Edward Burtnsky, Arnhel de Serra and Evgenia Arbugaeva are three photographers that have my full attention at the moment.
You’re originally from South Africa, why have you chosen London and are you staying?
No society is perfect and both Cape Town and London have so much to offer. I am aiming to 50/50 in both cities within the next five years.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
In order from the age of 4: A fireman, tennis player, rock star and entrepreneur .
What’s the first thing you do in the morning to get you started for the day ahead?
What’s the one thing you could not live without?
What’s the toughest challenge you’ve had to overcome in business so far?
Survival; as a not-for-profit we are continually having to reinvent ourselves to stay alive.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Chance favours the prepared
Highlight of career so far?
Presenting our youth project to Ban Ki Moon (UN Secretary General) at the United Nations in NYC in 2010, followed closely by this year’s festival.
What are you most excited about at the London Festival of Photography?
The Great British Public exhibition at Dog Eared Gallery and The Gaddafi Archives (Libya Before the Arab Spring) at Slade Research Centre.
The 2012 London Festival of Photography theme explores the changing boundaries between the public and the private, as both physical and metaphorical concepts, and the social consequences of these shifts. Considering the role of photography as a tool for documentation, expression and collaboration, the festival will present work responding to the theme in its broadest interpretation.
The festival is produced by Shoot Experience, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to open people’s eyes to their surroundings through photography, and is committed to reinvesting all profits back into photography. For information on the exhibitions and 30 events surrounding the festival or to purchase tickets, visit www.lfph.org