Young photographer sees things through a different lens
Photographer Britton Orrange braced himself, anticipating impact of the paintball blasting toward him. Also aimed his way was a phantom digital high-speed camera, which he stood in front of—rather than behind—waiting to capture the paint as it burst onto his skin. The camera, firing at a rapid 2,500 frames per second, was an essential component of his ballistics photo shoot. Britton still has a couple of faded scars from that day, but he also has a couple of unbelievable photos. He’s a a modern-day renaissance man with a Cannon 5D Mark 2; his interests are complex, inspired, and follow many different directions. But wherever he goes, he says, “I’ve always got the urge to bring the camera.”
A native to Georgetown, Britton got his start in a high school photojournalism class he took almost seven years ago. He admits, “The only reason I was in the class was because a girl that I liked was taking it, and that was my way of spending some time with her.” He wasn’t all that interested in learning photography. Britton credits his teacher, Barbara Boatwright, for being particularly instrumental in encouraging his natural talent and revealing aspects of his photos that he had unknowingly captured. The class profoundly influenced how Britton perceived the creative industry and allowed him to consider career options that had never before been on his radar.
In years following, Britton found himself increasingly pulled toward photography. Ultimately, he landed at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Scientific Commercial Photography. Britton had access to cameras and gear that captured anywhere from 4,000-10,000 frames per second, as opposed to the forty frames from a typical camera. He says, “I worked with a lot of explosions and ballistics, freezing bullets in space, things like that. You can actually see [something] come apart, and you can see where the seams around it start to break.” At Brooks, Britton also gained an extensive knowledge of the technical aspects of his craft, as well as the opportunity to pursue different avenues within the creative world.
Britton is an intuitive photographer; he instinctively knows what he wants from a shot. Thanks to his technical training, he knows how to make it happen. He describes his style as constantly changing, something that he’s still trying to define. Britton says, “I shoot one way and I feel weird if I shoot that way again; it feels like I’m not trying as hard. I want to figure out how to shoot a bunch of different ways, and maybe it’s the post processing that makes it my style.”
Britton’s portfolio is, essentially, a mix of his personal and commercial work, of people and products. It exhibits a broad range of locations and photo shoots—an interesting collection of fast-paced photos of bullets exploding through objects, black and white fine art stills from Death Valley’s sand dunes, as well as a number of exquisite photos from high fashion shoots.
Fashion photography was one of the last classes Britton took at Brooks; he was surprised how much the topic intrigued him, especially as he had never seriously considered it before. Britton explains, “I think it pulls me in because [fashion is] something that we all constantly deal with.” He is truly interested in every aspect of a fashion photo shoot—lighting, composition, scheduling, directing, marketing, technical editing. Britton enjoys creating his own scene. He says, “The thing I like the most about my line of work is how open it is to creative freedom; you really get to have control in situations.”
Today, Britton is back in central Texas working as a first assistant to a global technology brand in Round Rock. His day job provides him the opportunity to work with a team of professionals in the technical photography field while using large format cameras. Britton spends the majority of his free time pursuing freelance opportunities in the area; many of his recent endeavors include high fashion photos taken with underwater housing equipment, action shoots captured during professional paintball tournaments, and the occasional wedding for a close friend. A lot of his work is centered around the burgeoning fashion scene surrounding Austin. Britton is passionate about being one more person that helps transform this area from an occasional visiting site to a permanent location in the industry.
For Britton, photography offers an outlet to explore a diverse number of subjects and fields and allows him to share his creative vision with others. He’s challenged by “the chance to try to create something new and to try not to fall into that old saying that ‘there’s not really anything original anymore, there are no original ideas.” He says, “I think there’s still some out there; we just have to keep searching.”
By Meredith Morrow
Photos by Rudy Ximenez