BriAnne Wills, Photographer & Founder of Girls and Their Cats
You never know who you are going to meet when you're on instagram's discovery feed, aimlessly scrolling based on interest. Although we are very much dog people, co-founder Chary has a cat name Bagel. And how could you not 'like' and 'share' those ridiculous cat videos? That is how we discovered, BriAnne. When we spoke, we then learned that she is also this amazing photographer and how "Girls and Their Cats" was a fortunate accident. Read more about how and why she got started below:
BriAnne, who are YOU in three words?
Animal loving photographer
You said Girls and Their Cats was purely accidental - can you tell us how that happened and what inspired you to launch this blog? Was there an act of rebellion about the stereotypical “Cat Lady” in the creation process, too?
I wanted to start a photography project when I moved to New York as a way to meet people and work on my art. Originally, I thought it would be a series of nudes, but when I was photographing the first nude model, her cat popped into frame and basically stole the show. After seeing the images of Emily and her cat George it occurred to me that cat ladies had a bad rap, but here was this super cool, beautiful woman and her equally beautiful cat. I had a lightbulb moment and I decided to change direction with the project—in an act of rebellion against the stereotype-- and focus on highlighting interesting cat ladies in the industry (fashion/art) and work to change the way people see us.
You also photograph in the fashion and beauty realm - can you share to date, what has been your favorite project so far and why?
Most of the photo work I am commissioned to do now is because of GATC. A lot of my clients are cat ladies or the series will be seen by a photo producer who then brings me on to shoot something like Cats and Cat Eyes for Teen Vogue, which has definitely been my favorite project so far because…um…cats!
What’s the best advice you have received as a creative and what is your best advice for someone who intends to live a creative life?
Well, the creative industry is largely all about who you know. I didn’t want to believe that at first, but it turns out to be very true. That’s why it’s so important to network and connect, connect, connect. (hi, ladies!) This project has proved that. Had I not started it, I’m sure I would still be struggling to get my work out there.
So, I have two pieces of advice for creatives just starting out. First, take advantage of social media. It’s amazing how much work it does for us. Put your work out there as much as possible and don’t worry about what other people will think. Just do you and eventually someone will appreciate it the way you intend it to be appreciated. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded individuals. Which is my second piece of advice. Be social. Go to events. Hand out cards. Try to know as many people as you can.
When do you think you’ll be truly “satisfied” with your work.
Oh, that will never happen. That’s what drives us creatives, right? Constantly striving for something more, something better.
What's next for you and Girls and Their Cats?
I’d love to turn the series into a beautiful coffee table book. Maybe take it on the road, meet cat ladies in different cities. Different countries!
Interviewed by Chary