January 4, 2023
Words by: Nathan Reece
Bristol-based visual artist, photographer and director Lucy Werrett specialises in music promos and documentaries. She also works across fashion, branding, and documentary photography, having worked with Resident Advisor, Crack Magazine, Saffron Records, Tectonic Records and The ICA – we had a chat!
Hey Lucy! Thanks for getting involved with us to do an artist feature, it’s been great to have you in the studio recently working on some bits – can you tell us a little more about some of those shoots and what else is going on for you right now?
Hey, my pleasure! Thanks for having me.
Yeah sure, so I worked on an Art Of DJing feature for Resident Advisor which involved 3 demo videos of different DJing techniques and some DJing-related photos. I captured some more stylised portraits at Factory Studios to have some cleaner assets for the feature which also benefits my portfolio. Then the other shoot was a merch campaign for Dar Disku Records. This involved a short engaging 45-second video using a 360 cam and DV footage to keep it interesting, along with some clean portraits of the models in the hoody.
I’m currently developing my next documentary which explores the vivid hardcore world. I’ve been sent loads of DV tapes of the scene in Berlin spanning over the years to dig into. I’m also working slowly but surely on my first photo book ‘Fast and Fusion’ which follows a freestyle dance troupe in the suburban South West.
As well as that I’m aiming to shoot a lot more fashion photography this year and really hone in on that. And I’m developing two films, one a short personal film about an Irish dancer and the other is a women’s football film. So yeah not too much to do….
The space you used sees quite a lot of different photography and video uses outside of music, but it felt really fitting to have you in with some independent musicians and record labels – to what extent do musicians need visual artists to help tell their story, and vice versa? Also, how have you found yourself operating within music, and how does it inform your work?
I think it’s crazy how much artists rely on platforms like Instagram or Tiktok now to increase their fan base and create more exposure for their music. Sometimes I see how important an ‘image’, persona or popularity can be as much as the actual talent/music itself which is quite conflicting really. But having polished and engaging material can really elevate an idea, artistry, or an artist’s existing image or story, making it more dimensional and enticing for press/audiences.
Working within music is really fun – especially music promos – because they can feel really limitless. The concepts can be weird and wonderful and energetic. My first ever documentary See What I Hear was electronic music and audio-visual focused so I’ve always been drawn to the synergy between the two. I find that all my work is inspired by music/sound in some sense and it’s never an afterthought. Even if I’m writing treatments at the early stages, I have to have the right kind of music playing in the background to help inspire me in some sense.
I was having a look at the About section on your website, and the phrase ‘soft yet meaningful’ stuck out to me as a way of describing your style – to me it makes sense, but wonder if you could elaborate.
I think it means that my work is warm-hearted and compassionate but serious and important at the same time.
I’m interested to know what sort of mindset you put yourself in when it’s time to create – say you’ve been given a new track or brief to work with, do you have any processes or things that aid you within the idea generation stage?
I’ll watch a lot of references to get inspired, I’ll search Instagram, Shots.net, NOWNESS, Promo News, the list is endless. Then I’ll really analyse the song/track. Does it have lyrics? What do they mean? Are there specific themes? How does it make me feel when I listen to it? How would it make an audience feel? What is the tone? What is the rhythm? I ask myself a lot of these questions to decipher what kind of video is best suited. I’ll also do a lot of artist research to understand their style/story.
How do you plan for a shoot?
The budget determines how much planning is needed. In terms of the creative my treatment will be fleshed and finished and from that. I’ll create shot lists or storyboards and have an open dialogue with my Director of Photography about kit and lighting styles for each setup. They might create lighting plans.
I’ll also have open dialogues with stylists, talent, a producer or anyone else that needs information/instruction to insure the best shoot possible. Either myself or a hired producer will do call sheets and shooting schedules as well as risk assessments.
We loved your Spotify list – what sort of mood does the selection create?
Haha thanks, I think it’s breakfast show vibes, so the music I would listen to and work to on a daily basis, sort of light, ethereal, melancholic and maybe slightly romantic in places.
Top 5 Artists from your Spotify Wrapped for 2022?
Erika De Casier
Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn
I find that all my work is inspired by music/sound in some sense and it’s never an afterthought