Elliot Tratt is a fine art, portrait, and event photographer who cherishes meaningful ideas and fascinating concepts. Despite his very young age, he has worked for several bands and has successfully captured the many dramatic sides of event photography. His desire to learn, improve, and endlessly persist is inspiring to photographers and other artists alike. I hope this interview opens your eyes, pushes you to try out new photography genres, and motivates you to keep going.
What inspired you to start taking photographs?
I grew up in the household of a photographer, so I must’ve picked up a camera first when I was very young. I always remember spending time with my granddad and him not having a camera on him. So I guess I live with a similar philosophy, always have a camera with me. He first gave me a DSLR on the Christmas of 2014, and from there I have discovered and learned myself to make the best images I can.
Your gallery is filled with inspiring conceptual images. How do you come up with ideas for your shoots?
Ideas for my conceptual shots can come from anywhere, from reading a line in a book to a line in a song, to really mundane things like the weather around me. When I am walking home from school, I find inspiration in the smallest and biggest things. I take inspiration from other images and combine ideas and manipulate them to try and tell the best story I can.
What has been your most challenging creative obstacle so far, and how did you overcome it?
My most challenging creative obstacle is inspiring myself regularly with an idea that tops my last idea. I want to develop and I want to grow, so I feel bad when I produce an image and the following image is sub-par. So, I fight mentally to make every single shot I take a bit better than the last.
You shoot in many stunning locations. What’s your favorite shooting place and why?
My favorite location is a beach where I shot the band Pattern Pusher. It’s a beach and cliff on the north coast of Cornwall called Strangles. It produces so many perfect different shots and angles. It has large cliffs, a nice beach, a rock arch, and a sea mist which is truly mystical.
You’ve photographed many great musicians. Which band, famous or not, would you love to take photos of one day?
I feel I have already shot the band that I always wanted to shoot most. In fact, I will be doing a promo shoot with them soon. The band is Tiny Folds. They truly captivated me with their music right away and I just had to take photos of them, so when they invited me to shoot their EP release show last year, I went out of my way to make sure I could! This year I have some big acts lined up to shoot, but I feel none of them will have quite the same rush as photographing Tiny Folds.
Is there a photography genre you’d like to experiment with more?
I have always dabbled with the conceptual portraits, but I have never felt I have truly become involved in the genre. I wish to be able to create such arts like that of David Talley and Kyle Thompson.
What lighting advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Almost all of my light that I have ever used is natural, with nothing to modify it. I just play with the light that I am given. I love shooting portraits at sunset because the glorious light just before sunset and the light just after it create some of the most incredible back drops.
Who are your favorite artists at the moment and why?
When it comes to photographers, people like you, Alexandra Bloch, Emily Moy, David Talley, Kyle Thompson, Adam Elmakias. They all produce the most incredible art in images.
Musically, a band called Pattern Pusher, whom I am good friends with, consistently produce art in their songs. With their new EP coming out soon, I can’t wait to see what art they produce and how they set it out on stage (hopefully with my help). They are planning to make their live shows as artistic as their music, which I’m very excited for.
Your images are very cleverly edited. What’s the best editing advice you’d give someone?
Keep practicing. Practice, practice practice…. and watch Youtube tutorials, they teach A LOT! If you keep editing and pushing yourself each time and keep doing things that are a little out of your comfort zone, you get better. You just have to keep going at it, even if it does get a little hard or it doesn’t look right.
What, in your opinion, is the most important thing a beginner photographer should know?
Similar to what I previously said, practice is the key thing. Sometimes images will not come out as you imagine and sometimes they will just look bad. But you need to keep going, even through the hard and bad images, because eventually, you will make gold. It will make you proud and keep pushing you to make gold time and time again, and that will always keep you going. Strive to produce the best you can and you can’t go wrong!