February 2017 Member of the Month
Woods WheatcroftFebruary 2, 2017
All images © Woods Wheatcroft
Woods Wheatcroft is an Idaho based lifestyle photographer specializing in humor, concepts, and imagery for the outdoor industry. He was born and raised in San Diego and majored in Social Science and Visual Studies at UC Berkeley.
PHOTO+ Group: What made you first decide you were going to be a photographer?
Woods Wheatcroft: I have had a camera in my hand since I was about 12 years old. Roughly 35 years.
My grandfather passed away the year I was born. He was a photographer and filmmaker for the US Navy. He was also a track coach and that allowed him to document all of the Olympic Games from 1932 in Los Angeles until Mexico City in 1968. I think there must have been some sort of transmission in his passing and my birth.
Road trips and travel as a teenager led to my first SLR at age 16 and I was hooked. I knew I wanted to pursue photography very early on. I entered contests as a teenager and early publications helped me stay engaged.
PHOTO+ Group: What do you primarily photograph?
WW: I am a lifestyle shooter that shoots the life I am living not someone else’s version of lifestyle. I travel and road trip as well as shoot in my backyard in North Idaho. My brand is infused with fun, as is my life. I lean more toward an artistic eye than a polished technical one. Humorous more than serious. I seek the in-between moments and spontaneity is an ally. Genuine moments. I have shot in the outdoor industry for more than 20 years but my travels and a choice to always keep an eye open to the new and a finger on the shutter has me feeding a wide array of genres including: Americana, portraiture, concepts, and humor.
PHOTO+ Group: What is your favorite lens to shoot with?
WW: If I had to take one it would be the Canon 50mm 1.2 L, but the 135mm 2.0 L would try to jump in the bag too!
PHOTO+ Group: Do you still shoot with film?
WW: I do still shoot film. Mostly instant. I am hooked on the Instax approach but own a quiver of old Polaroids. I also shoot black and white for portrait projects. I just finished a portrait project for a family that was all film. Unfortunately, two of my favorite film cameras, a Hasselblad XPan and Mamiya 7II, were stolen on a trip in Italy and I haven’t be able to replace them yet.
PHOTO+ Group: Who are your greatest influences in the art world?
WW: I am so happy you asked for influences in art world and not just photography as many different mediums feed me:
The vision of Richard Misrach
The journals of Peter Beard
The uniqueness of the Talking Heads
The whimsical keen eye of Martin Parr
The color moods of Mark Rothko
The forward thinking pulse of Miles Davis in the fusion era.
PHOTO+ Group: Do you do anything before a shoot to prepare yourself?
WW: Tequila! It helps sometimes! But more importantly for me to create personal work, I need to feel free and know that I have the time to immerse myself into process, even if it’s an hour.
Knowing my kids are accounted for and there are no hanging chads or dangling modifiers or any crucial to do’s to be done is very important in my preparation. I need my schedule to be clear so I can play and dive into moment. For commercial work, coffee and meditation in the morning before the shoot is vital. It helps me ground into the energy required for the day and the calm helps me manage my frame of mind.