Jill Burrow On the Importance of Preparation

Jill Burrow On the Importance of Preparation

PROJECT: RUBY KEAN, 2020
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: JILL BURROW

What I’ve learned throughout most of my projects is: prepare, prepare, prepare... and then go with the flow during shooting. I think I learn this lesson a bit more every time I go into a shoot. When photographing this project with Ruby Kean I went in as prepared as I could, or so I thought! I made every food piece, gathered all props, I even brought extra supplies in case anything went amiss. Sure enough, a few things went a bit differently than I expected and I had to make a decision in the moment to be resourceful and create something eye-catching.Prepare for Even When Something Goes Awry

I’ve learned with each photoshoot that when you think through every possible twist or turn and prepare for when something goes awry, you can create something that is even better than what you expected. It is a challenging process to go through because it can really rattle your self-confidence when things go wrong but I have grown so much as an artist through this process. And some of my favorite photos and art pieces have come out of thinking on my feet and going with the flow.

Films are such well-thought-out objects, almost every shot and detail prepared months in advance—there is a lot to observe and learn from them. I have always pulled from films that I admire for their immersive qualities. Each time I create, I am not only inspired by things that have touched me, but I also try to openly integrate pieces of them into my work. Au travers du rayon, for example, takes its title from the film Le rayon vert by Eric Rohmer (in my story, a character also refers to Rohmer’s film directly). The films that Elie, the main character, chooses for his quest—Orlando by Sally Potter, Vif-Argent by Stéphane Batut and Heureux comme Lazzaro by Alice Rohrwacher—all meditate on the relationship to time and space in their own universe. These films both make an appearance in Au travers du rayon and inform the work directly.

Prepare, prepare, prepare… and then go with the flow.


Jill Burrow is an American photographer, set designer, and mother of two based in the Midwest. Her work ranges from still life to fashion. Jill seeks to intrigue observers by teetering the line between reality and surrealism. In her imagery she combines the ordinary with the uncommon, while using beauty as an anchor to tell a story.
ONE LESSON LEARNED IS A FEATURE IN WHICH CREATIVES SHARE THEIR PROJECT AND THE MAIN LESSON THEY’VE DISCOVERED WHILE CREATING IT. 
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