Interview #34: Jill Willcott


CUS: First of all, the most standard question in the book: how did you get into photography?

Jill Willcott: I don't think there was ever a point in time when I 'got into photography'. I've always been taking photos--ever since I was little--but I guess after I got my DSLR I started to get more serious with it (basically I took photos of Catherine in my grandmother's clothes because we thought it looked "artsy" [laughs]).


CUS: Tell us a little about where you live.

JW: Well, it's cold. It rains a lot. We get too much fog and not not nearly enough sun. It's basically impossible to plan a shoot more than two days in advance because the weather is so unbelievably unpredictable. You can plan a shoot in the morning when it's sunny and warm and by evening it could be in the negatives and snowing. It's by far the hardest thing I've ever had to work around. 


CUS: If you could photograph any person (past or present) who would you choose?

JW: Oh gosh, there are so many people I would love to photograph. I'll give you one boy and one girl from both the past and present because I can't choose! For the past I'd have to say Audrey Hepburn (I know, I know, she's stereotypical or cliche or whatever but she was so damn gorgeous that I don't even care) and Gregory Peck - the both of them together, of course! Present day, I'd have to say Matthew Gray Gubler and Mary Kate Olsen. Or Raina from ANTM. Anyone interesting looking really.


CUS: What kind of camera do you enjoy using the most?

JW: My minolta XG-1. Hands down.


CUS: What is your most treasured possession?

JW: Photos of the real stuff, the memories.


CUS: What sort of themes do you try to explore through your photographs? Is there any one in particular in which you try to convey often?

JW: I like simplicity, juxtaposition, and contrast. Things that out of the ordinary but not in an obvious, overpowering sort of way.


CUS: If you could go anywhere in the world to take photographs where would you go?

JW: Ireland. I've never been there but god damn I want to go so badly. It's probably the only place in the world where I could withstand the fog.


CUS: What are a few of your favorite films?

JW: The Parent Trap will always be my favorite, but I love Seven PoundsBreakfast At Tiffany's, and P.S. I Love You.


CUS: Tell us a little about your family.

JW: I live with my mom and my dad and my pop. My mom is kind of in denial about me leaving, my dad's the most chilled out dude you'll ever meet, and my pop is the cutest little thing on the planet. I also have a half sister and a half brother but they're much older than me so I don't see them as often. We're all pretty averagely close but I don't share much with them about my personal life.


CUS: What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you while taking photos?

JW: Oh lord. I have so many weird memories I could sit here all day and tell them to you. The one that always sticks out the most though is when we went shooting on a neighbor's lawn with Catherine wearing nothing more than leaves superglued to her body. [laughs] That or the time Catherine, Kaitlyn, and I got my car stuck on a car platform at a car dealership in the middle of the night in the middle of the winter because I was trying to finish off my disposable camera and we thought it would be funny to drive up onto the ramp despite the 5 inches of snow on the ground. Needless to say, the night ended with random passerby's thinking we were thieves, a nice man in a red pick-up who tried to help us but failed, two police cars, two more police officers in a paddy wagon who think I'm dumb as all hell, and a silly man in tow truck who saved my car and the three of us from hypothermia. Then again that situation was probably more idiotic than weird, but it was interesting nonetheless!


CUS: Who, or what, is your biggest influence?

JW: I find that my film and my digital are two very different styles, and so I have two very different influences for each. I know most people say this, but Tim Walker has been a huge inspiration. I haven't gone through with a lot of the shoots that have been inspired by him simply because I can't afford the props, but I have lots of ideas still floating around in my head. With film, my biggest influence is definitely Jody Rogac. She's Canadian too which makes her even better!


CUS: What are your other hobbies besides photography?

JW: I guess the only other really 'hobby' I have would be dancing. I've taken hip hop, modern, tap, and the past two years I've been in performing group (basically a mix of jazz and hip hop and we perform in parades, university sports games, normally have the opening/closing dances in the rehearsal, etc)


CUS: What advice would you give to your fellow up-and-coming photographers?

JW: If you haven't done a 365, do it! I kinda slacked off at the end, but it's what got me going which is the most important thing. I can't even tell you how much it helped. Oh and experiment with film! It's so much cooler and if you can learn to work with film, you can work with anything.


CUS: Our last interviewee, Nikoline Rasmussen, wants to know: Do many people you know in person know about your photography? Do you mind them knowing/the thought of them knowing?

JW: Oh, everyone I know in person knows about my photography. It's not something I've ever been ashamed of so I have no reason to keep it a secret. That and I'm one of the very, very few people from a very small town who steer away from mainstream photography and I guess people notice that. I always get a huge kick out of it when someone I don't know comes up to me and asks me if I'm "The Jill from Flickr?" I'm always totally taken aback! But yeah, the answer to your question would be yes, pretty much everyone knows about that little hobby of mine.


CUS: Last but not least, what would you like to ask our next Interviewee?

JW: If you could take photos of any "Flickr model" who would it be?

Jill Willcott, b. 1990 from Newfoundland, Canada


Images provided by Jill Willcott. All rights reserved.