Interviews Photography

Brittanny Taylor on Discovering a Career in Photography by Accident

Brittanny Taylor posing with her camera taking a self-portrait.
Brittanny Taylor

Brittanny Taylor is a photographer based in Providence, R.I. and works in New York, New England and beyond. Her photography focuses on branding, lifestyle, boudoir and fashion. We met at a fashion show back in 2012, and I have admired her work ever since. Now it’s your turn to go behind the lens with Brittanny.

Artisan Joy: How did you become a photographer?

Brittanny Taylor: It was an accident, actually. I never planned on being a photographer. I went to college for film studies, and I wanted to be a sports documentary editor. After college, I worked for Sony retail stores and had to learn how to use their brand new DSLR camera so that I could sell them. That’s how I learned how to take photos. After that, I worked for a local camera business and ended up getting laid off. I owned a camera, so I started taking photos of models, and the rest is history.

Photograph by Brittanny Taylor.

AJ: When did you realize that you could turn your craft into a side business or full-time occupation?

BT: I started in 2009 right when the 2008 financial crisis ended, but it still was hard to find a job. I realized then that I should try to make photography my thing.

AJ: Where do you find inspiration, and how do you apply it to your work?

BT: Like most photographers, I find inspiration from Instagram—mostly from influencers or business owners. I like to see how I can apply what I’ve seen and make it my own style. As much as I would love to replicate other people’s work, I can only shoot like me.

AJ: What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

BT: I’ve had no formal training in photography, but looking back, it was clear I was meant to be a photographer. My mother has photos of three-year-old me holding a cassette tape to my face because I thought it was a camera. I always had a point-and-shoot camera in my 20s, and my friends always asked me to take photos of them. I had plenty of ideas of what I wanted to have as a career, yet photography was never one of them.

One of Brittanny Taylor's boudoir photo's.
Boudoir photograph by Brittanny Taylor.

AJ: As creatives, we can be continuously creating and refining our art. How do you handle perfectionism?

BT: I’m an Enneagram Type 1, which is literally The Perfectionist. And it’s not in the job interview sense of “my biggest weakness is I’m a perfectionist.” It can be quite debilitating, and there are times I feel like nothing I create is good enough, so I don’t even bother. I think the best thing a creative can do is create something that no one will ever see. It takes the pressure off when you’re not all consumed with how many Instagram likes you’ll get.

AJ: What advice would you give to someone interested in putting their art or photography out into the world but feels vulnerable about it?

BT: I would say create a website and hold off on sharing it on social media. Social sites cause unnecessary pressure to produce content just for the likes. If someone wants to see your work, or if you need to share it, send your website. And honestly, it’s way more professional, in my opinion, to see a body of work in a portfolio than on an Instagram feed.

Lifestyle Photograph by Brittanny Taylor.
Photograph by Brittanny Taylor

AJ: Has someone ever criticized your photography? How did you handle it?

BT: I’m sure plenty of people have criticized my photography. It doesn’t really affect me because I’m proud of the work and my clients are happy. Random comments from people not involved do not matter to me.

AJ: Creatives are often very in tune with what’s happening in the world. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming. If this happens to you, how do you cope?

BT: I’m in a constant state of overwhelm, and I’m not proud of it. Especially as a Black woman, it is imperative that I take the time to refuel myself. I try to remember to turn it all off and do something mindless like watching funny YouTube videos or playing Animal Crossing.

AJ: Are you passionate about a cause, and why?

BT: I am currently the communications co-chair for RI NOW. The organization’s mission is to create equality and equity in political, social, and economic arenas. I am also co-leader for TuesdaysTogether Rhode Island, which is focused on creating community over competition with creative small business owners.

Editor’s Note: According to the TuesdaysTogether Facebook page, it is the in-person meeting component of the global creative community, Rising Tide. If you’re interested in joining, you can find your nearest group here.

AJ: What brings you joy?

BT: Quiet time on the couch with my family, which consists of my boyfriend and two chihuahuas. That always brings me back down to earth.

Lifestyle Photograph by Brittanny Taylor.
Photograph by Brittanny Taylor.

Thanks, Brittanny! You can learn more about the photographer at brittannytaylor.com or follow her on Instagram.

This interview has been edited slightly for clarity.

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