Meet Jessica Wittman, a.k.a The Witt – a college nickname that stuck and became the namesake of her flourishing photography business. The Witt Photography is now head quartered at cSPACE King Edward in a studio shared with fellow photographers Diane + Mike. When Jess isn’t taking photos, she’s deeply involved in the arts and music community in Calgary, supporting and organizing local initiative and events that aim to catalyze positive and inspiring creative change in YYC. You may know her pink-wig wearing alter ego Lolli-Pop who comes out at FrogFest music festival, an event Jess sits on the Board of Directors for.
Jess has always had an ardent interest in photography, burning through disposable cameras at an alarming rate in her younger years. The love of taking photos and the drive to capture certain views started early, but she didn’t get her hands on a proper camera until college where she studied photojournalism at SAIT.
When asked what kind of photography she specializes in, Jess admits she’s constantly refining and finessing her ‘specialty’ but finds the most joy in photographing music, people and capturing candid moments. “What I love about photography is the fluid way I can go from a wedding or event one day to product or interior photography the next,” says Jessica.
If we’re asked to weigh in, we’d describe Jess as having a very real gift for capturing and interpreting candid, natural and relatable moments. She has a knack for getting people to act natural, open up and let their personalities shine in front of the camera but we can’t pigeonhole her to portraits. Her intuitive and interpretive approach seems to enable her to capture everything from show-stopping stage candids, to surreal landscapes and beautifully composed streetscapes. Truly versatile and truly talented are just a few of the words that come to mind when describing Jess.
We caught up with Jess, for a Q&A on advice on getting started and doing good work for up and coming photogs and where she find inspiration online and in YYC.
How did you get started in photography?
I started young, burning through so many disposable cameras because I loved taking photos and always wanted to capture a certain view. My passion was seeded early and I finally got my hands on a manual control camera in my first year at SAIT. By year 2, I was accepted to the Photojournalism specialization and the rest is a zig-zag history. I just finished a year in Banff as a photography practicum. I’m always trying to improve and teach myself new techniques too.
Do you have any advice do you have for up and coming photographers?
Back up your photos, make sure you have proper insurance on your gear, and start with a solid image organization system. Also, have fun and embrace ‘mistakes’
What’s the best advice you ever got starting out?
As part of my photojournalism diploma, I spend a month in London studying with a mentor. My mentor told me to allow flexibility when planning and working during a photo session. It’s easy to get fixated on a single idea, that maybe isn’t working, and there could be an even better idea available if you’re open to it. A lot of things can go ‘wrong’ and if you’re too attached to how it should go, you will end up frustrated and that’s definitely a creativity killer.
What’s your take on iphone photography? Love it? Hate it?
I love the accessibility it provides and the endless apps! But I don’t so much love seeing people walk around with a phone in front of their face instead of living in the moment and creating memories that way.
What are your 3 favourite Instagram accounts to follow?
@nois7 this person has 1million follows for a reason!
@f5point6_original – a talented photographer and generous individual, also my first mentor
@theuncmns – seriously, can I buy everything in this store!?
What do you read/look at/follow for Inspiration?
This changes daily/weekly/monthly… I like to look at blogs and magazines, usually photography or art related such as: this is colossal, juxtapoz, bored panda, aperture… My partner and a lot of my friends create music and/or art, and I definitely find a lot of inspiration from them too!
Most photogenic YYC location?
This is tough to answer…. I would have to say anywhere I’m with friends and family!
Favourite YYC event?
Jess is currently rebranding and updating her website thewitt.ca, which any creative knows always seems to take a back seat to client work! But you can keep up with Jess on her Facebook page, The Witt Photo