Featured Babe: Abbie Rose Wilson
When it comes to raw talent, Abbie Rose Wilson embodies all of it. Residing in Vancouver B.C. and at 24 years old, Abbie is blazing her own trail in emotive photography, discussions on mental health, and holistic birthing. We spoke with Abbie to find out what fuels her fire, where she's been, where she's going, and what we can expect from her.
You've done some traveling this year- we've watched you go from Canada to Barcelona, Mexico and the Azores, to the UK and the US! How do you get so much worldwide travel and what has been the best/most challenging part?
To be honest, I decided I wanted to travel for half the year and just did it! I sold my car to upgrade my camera, then lived off online work I did while traveling. I made plans with photographer friends, and attended workshops. The best part was meeting everyone, the laughter, and the food. The most challenging was all my motion sickness on the roads and in flight. I don't want to get on another plane for a while ;)
Which workshops have you attended this year and can you talk a little bit about those? Which workshops are you looking forward to?
I attended The Woods Workshop in Costa Rica first. The highlight of that was the bonding that took place during events that happened and of course, the beautiful country. I spent so much time in the ocean and learned so much from watching my friends shoot. The second one I attended was the Lookslikefilm meetup in Barcelona and then BODAF the same week. I took pages of notes at the meetup and left feeling so inspired. BODAF was quite large and there were definitely some great talks, but I felt pretty overwhelmed with how many people there were. There were some amazing photographers there that aren't on the English teaching circuit - which is always good! I think I prefer smaller workshops for sure though. The last one I went to was Camp Archipelago in the Azores, Portugal, as staff and on behalf of Tribe Archipelago. It was so much fun and everyone left me feeling so inspired. It was such a beautiful island and time. I shot one of my favourite shoots there on these super cool cliffs on the ocean. I'm looking forward to next year's Camp Archipelago and thinking up ideas for a mini-workshop here in Vancouver.
What do you struggle with most as a photographer and business owner?
Motivation and/or knowing how to implement my dreams and big ideas. I go through waves of having so many ideas and personal shoots and then when it comes to actually carrying it out I feel overwhelmed. I live with mental health struggles as well which can make business owning feel pretty impossible some days.
How would you describe your style?
Emotional and real. Colourful mood. My style has taken a few detours over the years but it's always come back to emotion. I want to truly see my subjects and show you their love and rawness.
What's the craziest thing that's happened to you on a session or wedding?
I second shot a wedding in Mexico this year that had over 500 guests, FIREWORKS, and enough floral arrangements to fill a palace. I expected the Queen to walk through the curtain at any second. Also, I shoot a lot of births, so watching a baby being born is pretty wild too.
What projects are you currently working on?
I have a project that's only been in the thinking and "finding people" stage. It's called "soft galaxies" and through it I want to use the elements, nature, texture, and beauty to talk about how mental illness affects each of us as individuals. Now that I'm back home I'm going to be spending days with my family and documenting day-to-day life so I can remember how we felt and lived. And I have some maternity family video/still shoots that I'll be working on with a few families, even though I really don't love shooting typical maternity - I think this will be more up my alley and where I want to be with my photography. I've also been working with the local hospital foundation on photography for a campaign for a groundbreaking youth mental health centre.
What made you get into birthing and becoming a doula?
I had thought of being a nurse or midwife one day. When I lost my first baby, I was studying medical anthropology and decided to do my final project on birth. Less than a year later I found the most incredible holistic doula program in Victoria, BC and signed up. It changed me inside out. Birth is so raw. There's no posing, no timelines, only real moments and fighting and strength and emotions.
Where do you see yourself headed with your photography, and what's your drive to get you there?
I'm working towards putting more of my soul into my photography: shooting the way I want and not the way I think I'm supposed to. If that makes sense. I am also actively pursuing diversity in my work. I want to spend the rest of 2017 and onward photographing people for who they really are and showing the world bits of my heart through the art I make. Driving me is a deep love for people, the desire to make this art sustainable and to show my children the importance of knowing yourself, who you are, and how that works into art and running a business. In the future I'd love to spend half the year traveling and shooting, and the rest either volunteering or just being home. One of the women I shot this year (pictured in the vertical black and white portrait) sent me a message saying how she can't wait to show her grandchildren that photo of her. Stuff like that drives me to continue.