Photographer Spotlight Wedig & Laxton
Tim Wedig and Andrea Laxton have been collaborating together since they met in art school – finding a very strong connection with their photography and each other. The two both went on to graduate from The Art Institute of Atlanta and each finishing with Best In Show portfolios. Together they have won many awards from Applied Arts, Graphis, CMYK, SinarBron US., and multiple Addys. Now married with an amazing son, the two enjoy putting their creative passion into photographing everything from governors to cookies. We sat down to learn more about their collaboration and creative vision.
Let’s break the ice with a question that I’m sure you receive frequently. As a husband and wife creative team, I’m sure that life is such an adventure. How does the creative process work?
Andrea: Usually one of us has an idea for a shoot, then we talk about it with the other and brainstorm to build up on that thought. After the initial planning, we will research what will be the best set or wardrobe/prop for the shot. How far can we take the concept and still get the message across and what is going to convey the idea in the best way while still being visually interesting. Tim and I have very similar interests, so when it comes to planning a shoot it doesn’t really make a difference who comes up with the idea, by the time the shoot is over the result is such a seamless blend of both of us.
What got you into photography initially? And how did you make the jump to a medium format setup?
Tim: I was always interested in art in general, but it wasn’t until my dad gave me his old Nikkormat that I developed an interest in creating artwork with a camera. I loved taking pictures so much that I started skipping school to drive around backroads of Georgia and Tennessee shooting landscapes or anything else that caught my eye (at one point missing pretty much an entire semester of my Junior year in high school). At that point, my parents were very understanding of my passion so began filtering me into art school.
Andrea: It all started with a hot pink 110 camera that I received for Christmas when I was 7. I was obsessed with setting up little dioramas with my dolls and toys. I was captivated by movies, and experimenting with photography was such an accessible way for me to translate my thoughts. I loved finding beauty in the most basic things around me. I jumped around between writing and drawing, at one point even studying biology to go into medicine, but always came back to photography.
We both learned photography with medium and large format film, so when it came down to switching to digital we wanted to maintain the look and feel of what we had been working with so medium format was a natural transition.
Why Capture Integration? What made you choose us?
Tim: We found that Capture Integration had so much knowledge about any gear that we rented and even gear that hasn’t been released yet, so we felt very comfortable working with the team. The support is amazing! Anytime we’ve had an issue they are a quick phone call away and will even come to us to sort out an problems, which is crucial when we are on a shoot trying to get to the next shot. They always follow up with us after returning equipment to ensure that everything worked properly or to see if we have any feedback. Working with them makes us feel like we are working with an entire tech team!
Your subjects encompass “everything from governors to cookies”. Which subjects do you find to be the most challenging?
Wedig & Laxton: We always love the challenge of shooting something we’ve never worked with before, whether its a unique location, a celebrity that only has 15 minutes for a shot, or how to make a guy look like he’s breaking through a window, in camera. We always prefer to shoot as much in camera as possible so sometimes rigging things they way they need to be is a bit of a challenge. Problem solving is always one of the most interesting parts of the process for us.
Your work often involves multiple levels of collaboration. What are your top inspirations? Are there recurring themes or concepts that you are drawn to?
Andrea: Tim and I are very interested in story telling and anything conceptual. Paintings, books, movies and music really inspire us but what stands out the most to us are locations that we find when we travel. Even if it doesn’t end up being the actually setting for the idea, exploring new places and being submersed in different landscapes and cultures fuels our imaginations.
Prior to purchasing your Phase One IQ280, you rented multiple backs from Capture Integration. In the end, what made you choose the IQ280?
Wedig & Laxton: We found that the IQ280 for us, gave the closest comparison to the 4×5 transparency film that we love. We always strive to give our clients, and our personal work, the highest quality possible. The functionality of the back complimented our workflow better than previous backs we had used. Dave Gallagher was extremely helpful in exploring all of our options and deciding which set up would be best for our workflow.
You shot the Griffin Survivor campaign, which appears to be a great blend of your strengths and creativity. The BTS video does a great job of showing the work that went into this campaign, but would you mind sharing a little bit more about the process on this shoot?
Wedig & Laxton: The Griffin campaign definitely reflected both of our strengths, products and people. For this campaign we needed to shoot a product and a portrait paired together to tell a story. We loved how conceptual this shoot was with the idea of the phone case surviving these exaggerated scenarios. To tell the story, we needed to shoot both in the studio and on location – but in a way that when displayed together both images felt like they belonged together. Collaborating with our prop stylist to create as much in camera as possible and then working with our retouchers to then take the images further was a huge part of the process.
What’s currently in your bag? What are you shooting with, what are the go-to essentials on your sets, or even for when you’re editing or lighting?
Wedig & Laxton: For our camera bag, we are still using the Phase One IQ280 with the DF+ Body and our new favorite lens, the 55mm LS as well as the 80mm LS. A majority of our standard set up are the Broncolor Scoro packs and occasionally Profoto 7A packs. For editing we tether with Capture One. When we travel and shoot personal work we prefer shooting with film cameras like the SX-70, Pentax 67 and the Widelux 1500 120.
You hold an impressive portfolio of awards, including multiple Addy awards. What’s your next goal to check off the list?
Wedig & Laxton: We would love to be included in the 200 best advertising photographer edition of Lürzer’s Archive (in the next issue preferably 🙂 We’ve also recently been working with writing and directing short films and would absolutely love to explore that more. Can photographers get EGOTs? 🙂
What would you want to see next in the photo industry? Any big changes to your gear or photography that you want to see in the next year?
Wedig & Laxton: We could definitely see adding the new XF body to our arsenal! As for the industry, we would really like a 33ft thunderbolt tether cable or a more comprehensive wireless transmitting system between camera and computer to eliminate cords all together. Not the most exciting, but it would be enormously helpful when shooting.
Check out more of Wedig & Laxton’s work below: