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Brett Jefferson Stott

May we introduce you to Mr. Stott, the founder and director of Shoot Experience, a not-for-profit photography organisation that run the London Festival of Photography.

Brett Jefferson Stott

Brett Jefferson Stott has worked in media for over 15 years both in South Africa and the UK.  A passion in photography led him to start a company producing interactive photography projects with major museums and art galleries in the UK and abroad including the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, the British Library and the United Nations. The London Festival of Photography runs throughout June 2012 in King's Cross, Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia. We met Brett for a chat in his office in London to catch up his plans for the festival, current challenges, the best story-telling in photography, his reason to live in London and which songs makes it worth living.

 

Entente_Cordial_St_Panc#130

 

 
Good morning Brett!  Describe your passion for photography in 5 words:
Life would be boring without...

 

How did you come up with the idea of Shoot Experience?
I had heard of a few scavenger hunt-type events and thought organising one would be fun. I moulded the idea of it around photography with a few friends and we tested an event in East London in 2005. Our second event had 450 people running around Shoreditch taking photos on a Saturday. Tate Modern heard about us and really helped us take what we doing to the next level. Our third event at Tate Modern had 650 people participating in a photo-story where we turned the Turbine Hall into a cinema for the day. Everything followed quite organically from there. The festival is our way of unifying all of what we do under one umbrella.

 

What are you looking forward to the most at the upcoming events and festival?
The opening night as then all the hard work will be done and everything ready. 2012 is a big year for us - we rebranded the festival and have expanded just about everything and with a more interesting programme compared with last year. I am interested to see how well it will be received.

 

And what is the biggest challenge regarding the organisation of those?
Time - there is never enough of it. Some advice though.. Chance favours the prepared.

 

Do you have a highlight of your career so far?
A month long exhibition in the lobby of the United Nation's Secretariat building in NYC alongside the World Press Photo exhibition of the youth project I founded in 2005 called Shoot Nations. The experience included a presentation of the project to Ban Ki Moon (UN Sec. Gen.) on International Youth Day 2010.

 

What was the most impressive picture stuck in your mind since starting the business?
Of our projects I would say it would be the overall Shoot Nations 2009 winning image is one that I resonated with a lot -  its all about the idea of having to measure up to society's expectations...

 

Walter_Joseph-British-L#12F

 

Do you currently have a favorite photographer?
I tend to favour projects rather than be drawn to a photographers complete body of work - if you want to see what my favourite projects are you are going to have to come to the festival in June.

 

Coming from South Africa, what made you stay in London?
I have lived in London for 12 years but am actually spending more and more time in South Africa, I have just came back from a 3 month stint in Cape Town and plan to do that every year. Cape Town is my favourite city on earth.

 

What do you love and what do you hate about London?
London is a harsh mistress. She treats you mean to keep you keen - the city is super-fast paced and there is a sense of infinite possibilities to fulfil any aim or idea. Its multicultural and I love the fact that almost every nation on earth can claim a little pocket as their own. I love that you can be anonymous in London. Living in London you forget how most other people in the world aspire to be a part of what's happening in London. We are very fortunate to have all that it offers right in front of us. I am not a fan of all the rules, roadworks and road layouts (too many one ways and dead ends) - London could learn a thing or two about that from New York.

 
What is your favorite place in London?
I ride a Vespa and get a real rush of emotion whenever I cross the eastern bridges - Blackfriars, London Bridge, and Tower Bridge. As a foreigner its a reminder of where I have come from and where I am...London Fields on a hot summer's day is as good as it gets.

 

German_Gymnasium_Vian_M#131

 

If your life had a soundtrack which one would it be?
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac.

 
What is your favourite Gallery? And which exhibition you won’t miss?
The V&A. Anything to do with historical or camera-less photography really excites me...

 
Any plans for the upcoming weekend?
10 weeks to the festival - work, work, work....

 

What's in the future? Any new projects?
Cape Town needs what we are doing in London - watch this space...

19 / 06 / 2012 // by Gesine Bregler

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