Bria Woods Q&A
Bria Woods talks photography with TheBlkGaze.
The Black gaze is home. It’s not foreign, it doesn’t trigger my need to survive and determine whether I’m safe, much like the White gaze does.
The Black gaze is not trying to ask if I’m good enough or if I fit a certain mould. The Black gaze appreciates me for who I am.
How does this relate to your photography practice?
I am attracted to people as they are not as I want them to be. I don’t heavily direct my subjects; instead I ask them what story they want to tell forging a collaborative atmosphere. When I am creating documentary work there’s an unspoken sense of understanding that exists in Black spaces.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
You are seen. I see you and I want to help my audience really see you too. My first photography always told me to ‘take the audience where they can’t go’. Sometimes that means I’m taking you to a place, a time, or an emotional state.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
Endia Beal, Joseph Patrick, Darren John, Francis Augusto, and Natasha Caruana all have permanent residence in my inspiration rotation. The result of their influence can be found in my work by observing playfulness, honesty, difficult subjects, an appreciation of human beauty, and undying passion for storytelling.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
As a photojournalist I admire Carrie Mae Weems’ work and her patience to wait for the story to enter her frame. As a portrait or creative photographer I admire the playful intrigue of Lorna Simpson’s work.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
The highs of being a Black woman photographer is hopefully being able to inspire other young Black children to see that this is possible for them too. To them I say your Blackness is a passport not a limitation.
The lows are often being the only Black photographer in the room, especially in the photojournalism industry. If I’m not mistaken, I am the only Black photojournalist working in my city, and I live in the seventh largest city in the nation.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
Currently I am working on two new personal projects, one centered on documenting the contributions of women in San Antonio, Texas and another series of landscapes and still lifes in the rural southern Texas.
I would love to explore more 3D mediums such as working with sculptures, 3D printers, and also AR.
About Bria Woods
Bria Woods is a portrait photographer and photojournalist based in South Texas, USA. A people person to her core, Bria approaches her photography practice in a collaborative manner to tease out an essence of familiarity that can then be shared with the viewer.
Bria holds a MA in Multimedia Broadcast Journalism from the University of Westminster, London. Bria’s work has been exhibited and published by a growing list of publications including the BBC.
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The Q&A is an ongoing discussion open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres.