We had the good fortune of connecting with “Miss” Britney Rae and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi “Miss” Britney, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
I’ve always been adamant about success being subjective. For some, achieving a level of fame or wealth is the desired outcome. I feel successful in the ways I’ve connected to others through art and networking. I feel humbled by the inspiration I’ve given and in turn received on a creative, and personal level. I’m able to reach people in ways I otherwise would never have had the opportunity to! I believe that art is meant to be transcendent; to evoke thought and feeling. When you see a photograph, you don’t just see pixels or grain. You look between the use of color or tone, and beyond the subject and composition. My personal style is often intentionally exaggerated to elicit in the viewer an emotional feeling or the occasional provocative thought. I don’t feel successful if I create for the sake of it. It’s there to make an impression. There is a level of great trepidation and liberation to my creative process. This call to create is both a humbling opportunity, and responsibility.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I used to exclusively share experimental/conceptual portraits on an art networking platform when I was going through my first abusive relationship at 18 years old. I didn’t know my own intention yet, other than I felt compelled – an outlet to escape to every day from traumatic experiences. I developed PTSD around this time, so my memory is less than perfect, but I do remember struggling to find meaning and purpose until my early twenties. I had no support system then, and I was placed into positions that put my safety at risk often in the name of defending my art. I didn’t know yet of its significance, but it was enough shake some perspective in me; look inward into why I felt so passionate about creating portraits. Through time and many, many years of hard work and dedication, I eventually found strength in my struggles, and strived/strive to create something beautiful from them to this day. I’ve predominantly been a one-woman business for roughly 10 years. I’m very much into the notion of doing everything myself. While a team of creatives or access to top of the line equipment is an amazing thing to have and experience, they are not a requirement. Before I had “proper” photography equipment, I used a point and shoot camera, a single household lamp, a white wall, and a stack of DVDs as my “tripod”. I had never heard of Lightroom. It’s not about the equipment. It’s about the vision.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m actually an introvert, and spend most of my time on a ranch in central California these days to recharge. I’m definitely a wanderer, so if I’m not venturing out into nature, hopping alone on a bus, train, or plane to anywhere doesn’t shake me anymore. I’m constantly ready for a road trip or on the move to be somewhere I’ve never been to before or not often enough. There is too much beauty in this world not to explore and experience!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Without the unconditional love and support of my mother, and my dearest friends, my life would be very grim. These incredible people helped shaped me into the resilient woman that I am today.
Other: For my non self-portrait photography work, you can find me on Instagram @phantasmagoricalartsphoto and on Facebook, “Phantasmagorical Arts Photography”.
BnW alternative glamour shot by Ashley L. French. Expressive, blue-haired portrait, as well as a “behind the scenes” modelling portrait of me, by Laura Elaine. “Behind the scenes” image of me photographing a landscape, by my mother. All other images by Miss Britney Rae of Phantasmagorical Arts Photography.