Photographer Interview: Becca Waterloo

Here’s one from one of my many favorites on Instagram, Becca Waterloo (@oolretaw – get it?). Becca is an architect and photographer in Chicago.

I love Becca’s use of light, her explorations around the Windy City (a truly great city), and collaborations with other creatives.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Becca Waterloo, an architect working in the West Loop. I graduated from IIT in 2011 with a bachelor’s of architecture. Being a photographer is a weekend hobby,. I typically take portraits, engagement sessions, city hall weddings and family portraits. I also frequently co-host/attend Instagram meetups, #communityfirst is important to me and I love collaborating with talented Chicago photographers.

How did you get started in photography?

I’ve had a camera as long as I can remember, whether it was the film cameras you load and have developed at Walgreens, manual SLRs, and now digital cameras and smart phones. I have a couple of photography classes on my repertoire from high school and college. It’s just always been a personal interest since I was a little girl. Visual memories are important to me to keep.

What do you like about your photography?

With an architectural background, I love honing in on the details that people don’t really notice. I am obsessed with composition and geometry in photography, negative spaces, natural light, and color. I can’t get enough color. I am complemented for my ‘laser vision’ and noticing the things that people never see, so to have that natural eye is something I am thankful for.

I like your work for its variety – urban scenes, lush greenhouses, bits of where you are and what you’re doing. Where do you get inspiration for your style/ideas?

Thank you! I’ve always been drawn to texture and color (brick walls, graffiti) so thankfully living in an urban metropolis allows me to find a lot of that. I LOVE the West Loop and Pilsen because there’s endless amount of murals, stickers, graffiti, and opportunities, so I frequently bring people there for their portraits. Conservatories are also tied for a favorite place to shoot. You cannot beat the light anywhere else, and the textures, colors, and compositions are so easy to work with.

What kinds of themes do you explore with your work?

I think playing with light is my favorite thing to do. I am really bad with the technical side of photography, so I rely heavily on natural light and the subjects I’m given. I love negative spaces and silhouettes, so you’ll see a lot of places and things that are just shown through the lighting from that day. If a room is too dark, I don’t even bring out my phone/camera. I LOATHE the flash, and I time my shoots when the light is best and most flattering. An Instagram meetup is the farthest I’ll go with  exploring, so my Instagram is the best way to represent how I see life day by day.

Any upcoming projects or shoots you’re working on?

I booked an entire year of sessions with my cousin, Sam, a personal stylist who hires me to take her photos for her social marketing. Having a monthly session with her let’s me toy and use her for ideas that I’ve want to try. They don’t always work, so I enjoy laughing with her when that happens. She doesn’t judge when I want to get artsy, and let’s me practice the technical stuff, because I barely ever use my SLR.

I also co-host Instagram meetups with my friends a couple of times a year, so follow along @oolretaw to learn about the next one!

Find more of Becca’s work on her blog, her Instagram feed, and her website.