Woodson Black: A Discussion on the Portrayal of Natural Lineage Between Sight & Sound
Interview With: Angela Butkus
Your photography has a certain undertone of freedom in each photo. Are your shoots mostly instinctual, or do you heavily plan your photo shoots?
I guess every photograph begins with a feeling I have - like something I can’t shake. Sometimes that will lead me to a place where I think I can capture it or sometimes it will just take me on a hike into the woods. I’ll usually bring my camera, either way, and sometimes a friend too. I do plan certain elements of a photograph, like the location, but most of the time I only know what will become of it once I’m there.
When you consider content and form, do you see one playing a stronger role than the other?
I would say it’s a balance, like most things. But I think I focus mainly on content and let the rest come naturally or later in post. I think my approach to photography is very instinctual. If it feels right, it is right.
Your online portfolio includes a specific song for each photograph. How would you describe the relationship between the image you captured and the song you choose to accompany the photograph?
I’d like to think the songs guide the viewer closer to the feeling I initially set out to capture. Though sometimes the songs create a second degree of curation that may give the photograph a new meaning. So, I guess at times, I do hope to cast the photos in a new light with the songs I choose. Other times I’ll use the song I was listening to when I took the photograph.
In November, you released Haux’s The Bluest Sage. Could you tell us a bit about the culmination of the album?
The idea of The Bluest Sage came to me over the summer. After getting back from a cross-country road trip in August, a sort of creative withdrawal musically speaking, I started writing. I think about a month later I’d finished most of the songs.
I spent one morning in October recording the backing vocals with the talented Emily Brouwer (the other half of Haux) and then started mixing. A couple weeks later with the help and expertise of my friend Mike Wagz we added percussion and the EP came full circle.
Looking back, I think at its core The Bluest Sage resembles an arrival and a departure from home… Somehow a place where everything looks and feels the same, but every time you turn around you’re lost again.
How do you intertwine the meaning of your lyrics with your sound?
It’s a natural process, I suppose. I wouldn’t say I think logically when I’m writing. It’s very much a — start singing and don’t stop until there’s something to come back to — kind of thing. It usually just begins with a melody or a progression then a phrase, a verse, etc. It builds and I don’t think it ever happens the same way twice.
What do you want your audience – be it for your photography or music-- to take away from your art?
n some ways I hope that the images, the words, or the sounds come back to them at some point and maybe they smile or nod because it makes sense at that moment.
Who inspires you the most in your art and keeps your passion strong?
It’d be hard not to mention the little Instagram community I’ve found. They remind me constantly that I can always improve and explore more. But, funny enough, I think a lot of my inspiration, or rather impulse, comes from myself. I think I’ll be forever striving for the sights that take up the real estate of my mind.
What is one question no one has ever asked you of which you wish they did, and what would your answer be?
What do you do after you’ve climbed a mountain?
Scream until I can no longer hear my own voice. Sounds crazy, but it’s strangely calming.