Brent Waterworth, Skateboard and Film Photography

With his aesthetic nourished by his childhood spent skateboarding, Brent Waterworth has seduced the fashion world with his portraits captured on film. He talks about his love for film photography, his thirst for collaboration, his vision of social media,…

Hi Brent, can you introduce yourself briefly to our readers?

My name is Brent Waterworth and I am an art director/photographer born & raised in the Los Angeles area.

©Brent Waterworth

How did you discover photography?

Growing up skateboarding every day & being in the streets with my friends making skate videos – you’re constantly being visually stimulated with different architecture and landscape, textures, colors, etc. & all of us would contribute taking turns filming each other.

“[…] my work inevitably took on things from my surroundings […]”

I remember really caring and paying attention to the details with the framing and composition, intro and outro transitions and so on…it became equally gratifying filming and seeing my friends get stoked on how their clips came out that I filmed of them as it was having my own tricks filmed and the overall feeling of landing a trick.

Eventually, that translated into still photography and my work inevitably took on things from my surroundings which were mainly street/architectural focused.

©Brent Waterworth

What drove you to portrait photography?

Portraiture is honestly relatively new to me. It was only up until this past year, I would say. I never really felt the need or had the urge to photograph people & work with them in that way.

There was a definite void there where I felt the need to pursue something I haven’t yet tried out and ever since exploring it I feel like I’ve begun to enjoy my work more now and it’s added a fresh element into it all.

“I get inspired by the process of collaboration […]”

What makes you want to photograph one person more than another? What inspires you in people?

On the exterior, it’s about looking interesting and having something unique to photograph but beyond that, it’s about shooting people who are passionate, humble and care about what they are doing.

With people, I get inspired by the process of collaboration; something my work has always suffered from because I was mainly shooting by myself in a more intimate and personal setting through work travels and just cruising around on my skateboard.

©Brent Waterworth

You work a lot with film. What does this bring to your photography practice?

Film just slows everything down – the process of shooting film opposed to digital is the type of experience I prefer. Even with the same mindset, on the same day, and on the same set… shooting in a medium with a seemingly infinite amount of exposures with endless possibilities to additionally create and edit in post, makes me feel like I am working backward in my approach – I hate that I can let myself be so carefree & loose with how I work when shooting in digital.

“[…] the element of surprise and anticipation when getting your photos processed…it’s priceless.”

With film, it forces you to work methodically and purposefully regardless of how fast you like to work. The overall experience from start to finish is something that I enjoy so much and then you add the element of surprise and anticipation when getting your photos processed…it’s priceless.

If you only had to keep one camera, which one would it be?

Probably have to be a Pentax 67 for travel & RZ67 for set/location.

©Brent Waterworth

The only social network I’ve seen you on is Instagram. Do social media influence your photography practice?

It’s got to sound so cliche but I try to be as present as possible, whenever possible and limiting myself to the number of distractions that I can get caught up with allows me to do that & to live in the moment. I made a conscious decision about 7 or 8 years ago to be on one social media app at a time and being that Instagram is the visually stimulating creative powerhouse that it is, that’s probably the reason why I’m on it.

“Your stuff is out there for everyone to see regardless if your intent is to market it or not.”

It definitely has an impact on all of our work whether we’d like to think so or not. Your stuff is out there for everyone to see regardless if your intent is to market it or not. If it’s good or unique then people will gravitate to it & opportunities can come out of it if you want them to. It’s essentially your portfolio if you choose to have it operate that way.

©Brent Waterworth

Are you inspired by other artists? Or do you find inspiration elsewhere?

Most definitely! I’m inspired by my friends & I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by them & other amazing individuals who are extremely talented. 

[inspiration] comes from a feeling stemming from an experience, a memory […]”

Inspiration for me can come from anything – sometimes it can be as straight forward as seeing a photograph online someone took that was really captivating and other times it comes from disconnecting all together and going on little getaway trips with my girlfriend and our dog somewhere remote, simply sharing each others time and company.

I’d say often times though, it comes from a feeling stemming from an experience, a memory than it does just seeing something straight forward & digesting it that way.

©Brent Waterworth

What advice would you give to a photographer entering the profession?

I’m so full of cliches but I would say first and foremost is to have fun. Allow it to be all that you think about and let it keep you up at night. If you are obsessing over it then you love it and are obviously doing what you were meant to do. It’s important to do what makes you feel great about yourself.

“I’m just pursuing what I love and what makes me feel good […]”

Take the less traditional route, experiment & say yes to new things that may make you feel uncomfortable at first – be humble & learn new things. I didn’t go to a photography/art school or even graduate high school for that matter. I’m just pursuing what I love and what makes me feel good and I genuinely feel like that’s the only reason why it’s working.

Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?  

There’s definitely a lot going on but I’ve been working on a photo book with an extremely talented photographer from Spain and it’s been hard finishing it with everything else we both have going on individually but I’m excited to wrap it up & we’re on the back end of that process now.

“I’m also working on a solo book […]”

I’m also working on a solo book that is an on-going project with no immediate time table for when it’ll be finished but I’m aiming for this time next year. Other than that it’s pretty much editorial/freelance work that I’m currently taking on weekends alongside a 9-5 job I have during the work week.

You can see more of Brent’s work on his website, and follow him on Instagram