Sally Wilmot is a Savannah College of Art and Design educated photographer currently based out of Atlanta. At 25, she has reached an impressive level – as the senior designer for the San Francisco-based multi-media events and marketing company Hartmann Studios.
When not using her multi-disciplined skill set to bring fresh life to graphics and photography for corporate clients like RIM and The Home Depot, she focuses on her personal work which mixes subtle sexuality and strong emotion with a keen eye to composition and lighting.
Whether Sally is working with young Atlanta models in adding fresh depth to their modeling portfolios or shooting established national talent like Will.i.am, Ravi Drums, and Joss Stone to give an unseen perspective to their image, Sally takes a new approach to every project in a constant effort to expand herself artistically.
Wilmot is Currently Working on her first book, which will be released to the public in April of 2011.
How would you describe your style of photography to someone who has never seen your work?
I focus on the beauty of the female form and capturing the energy and character of the models. My goal is to make you to look at my photos and start to make assumptions about the girls, who they are, what kind of accent they have… and eventually wonder what the He** they are doing… and why.
There is always a concept or idea subtly embedded into my photographs. Whether it be a call to action to give up all your inhibitions and act like a kid again, or showcasing the beauty of stress and discouragement.
I try to not allow my photography to become too happy, I find distraught and broken down girls to be very appealing and interesting.
What initially sparked your interest in photography and what keeps it going?
Initially it was because in high school it was photography or…. Well I cant remember now, but some art class that was obviously a lot less appealing… and I became the best in my class, so the next year I switched from full time high school to taking half days at Maine VOC where I focused on commercial art. Since I am a very competitive person I was determined to stay “the best” so I became a little obsessed, and once I had learned all the basics in and out, it had become a part of me… that’s when I realized it was no longer a goal, but a love.
Now I use photography as a tool to make sure I do not become jaded in the world of design and art. My day job is a senior designer at a production company who throws corporate events, don’t get me wrong, we do really incredible work, but my designs are tied down by brand guidelines, rules, and questions of “will this offend anyone” or “are we breaking any rules”
With photography I’m not held back by rules. There are no restrictions. And I’m my own boss.
How do you ensure that your work and brand stand out amongst the masses of photographers that continue to emerge everyday?
My work will speak for itself, I can’t fake that I am better than I am, I can only work harder and peddle push my business card and website… wilmotdesign.com…. ahmm…. up and down the street until the right person gets it.
There are 4 things I focus on:
Concept – it has to be original. Model – They have to get me excited. Lighting – It has to add drama, and make the model even more exciting to me. Post - My rule of thumb is if there is going to be post, it has to enhance the image, with out being obvious.
From who or where do you draw inspiration from and how is it reflected in your work?
I draw from everything around me. Some of my work comes from good framing and being in the right place at the right time, some comes from my imagination that is always running wild… and dragging me by the toe through life. My new work is inspired from old school music and movie posters… I love the fact that there is so much symbolism under the surface, and guaranteed a random object that makes you cock your head to the side raise one eyebrow and question if your smart enough to understand what the designer was thinking.
What is one long term goal you have relative to your photography and how do you plan to attain it?
My long term goal is to be as amazing as nick knight.. sounds silly, but if you are familiar with his work… you probably have gotten the same chills running up your back as I did and completely understand where I am coming from.
and I plan to attain it by continuing to improve my self through every photo shoot… basically powerhousing it through the rest of my life.
What is one major business-related challenge you face being a photographer and how have you or will you combat this issue?
I can’t get chicks to pose naked for me.. for free.
No one is interested in making art any more.. its all about profit.
To solve this one.. I just keep asking and batting my eye lashing.
Name one person that you would love to have an opportunity to shoot and why. Describe this dream shoot.
Picture this. Jayne Lynch in a huge over the top couture dress, heavy dark eye makeup, long hair pulled back into a tight braid laying over her shoulder.
In the air are 3 parrots, creating havoc in the air, feathers everwhere… the colors of the birds would be hinted in her dress.
At her feet lay 6 completely naked women, also with long hair pulled back tightly into one thick braid… laying stiff almost like mannequins, very heavy eyemake up.. basically blackening out the sockets.
The twist.. none of it would matter because all you would see would be her personality.
I would love to take her like this and put her into such an extreme environment that is so far out of her daily life, and still see her character over power everything.. that would be beautiful..
If you could do a dual purpose shoot that showcased your talent and brought awareness to a prevalent social issue, what would your shoot be called and what issue would you highlight? Why?
I would shoot homeless women, and call it Still Beautiful…. I believe every woman is beautiful, and with the added weight of such an extreme lifestyle, and hardship, it creates a level of sadness that at times can be uplifting and inspiring… This is much more beautiful than the blonde at the mall eating ice cream and flirting with the cook at taco bell.
The main goal of this shoot is to bring awareness that the homeless have just as much if not more character of everyone in your daily life and we as a group should recognize that.
A picture is worth a 1,000 words. Describe your below picture in one.
To see more of Sally’s work, visit her site.