I don’t quite remember when and how I started following @brittneypanda on Instagram, but every time I scroll through my feed, her posts make me pause and take another look. Her photos are always filled with intensity; intertwined with pain, innocence, beauty, darkness and sensuality.
We caught up with this free spirited girl who was raised in central New Jersey and currently bounces back and forth between there and NYC. She is a bit of a gypsy who doesn’t sleep in the same place two nights in a row. She can’t sit still, and gets bored far too easily. Here is what Brittney Panda shared with us:
LF: When did you start taking photographs and when did you join Instagram?
BP: I joined Instagram around the time of its launch. I began taking pictures shortly after. Instagram was what prompted me to pick up a camera. I fell in love with the app and wanted to contribute to it.
LF: Where does the inspiration come from for you these days?
BP: I literally find inspiration everywhere. A few weeks ago I woke up and yawned and stretched in a way that contorted my body into the most absurd position. A few days later I used that as a pose for one of my photos. I’m really into looking for new places to take pictures. I’m constantly on the lookout for abandoned buildings. My best friend and I take road trips across the country for the sole purpose of finding places to take pictures. I don’t like planning things out. I find a place and based on how I’m feeling I just know what I want to do. Inspiration hits me when I least expect it. I woke up last weekend and saw sunlight shining on the floor with dust particles in the air that looked like glitter. I woke my friend up and told him to “take off your shirt, lay on the floor, and look dead”. It was ridiculous, but I knew I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t capture that moment.
LF: Who do you collaborate with? Do you prefer taking photos of yourself or other people?
BP: It’s always fun working with someone new. Since I’ve started photography, I’ve met so many different people that I’ve learned so much from. I’ve worked with both photographers and models, so it’s been fun to be able to take on both of those roles. Taking photos of other people is easier in the sense that it takes less time, but also harder because then I lose some control. That’s why I mostly take self portraits, because I love being able to have full control over every aspect of the photo. It belongs to only me and no one else. It might sound weird, but it’s my favorite thing to do in the world. I love being alone in the middle of nowhere with nothing but my camera and my tripod. I can’t think of anything more therapeutic.
LF: Tell us about your creative process. Do you usually have a predetermined concept for the shoot, or go with the flow just see where it takes you?
BP: I don’t always have a predetermined concept, but sometimes there’s a piece or an idea that I know I want to incorporate. Usually it’s the location and I’ll just work around that. Sometimes I’ll get a new article of clothing for a picture and then I’ll just plan everything around that. But then of course there are always those times when nothing is planned at all and everything just falls into place.
LF: What about animals in your photos, are they real?
BP: They’re real alright. But they aren’t always alive. A girl I work with told me that someone in her family owned a taxidermy studio and if I ever wanted to stop by and shoot with the animals I’d be more than welcome. Of course anything weird and different like that sparks my interest, so I jumped all over that opportunity. But they aren’t always dead. Last summer my friends and I drove to Alabama and shot with a wolf.
LF: What are your favorite Instagram feeds?
BP: Oh man, that’s hard. I love so many! I’m obsessed with everyone I follow. Okay. Well, @kittylix is my partner in exploration. She’s with me on tons of my adventures. @laurenhastings13 is one of my favorite models. I’m absolutely in love with everything she posts. I also really like her friend @awildatheart‘s style. @lindsayperry is fun to follow because she has the raddest lifestyle ever. Not to mention she’s insanely talented at so many different things and she’s so much fun. I also love @thiswildidea. His life inspires me like crazy and he has a magical dog that can do anything. @smokingdaisies is my second account. It’s where you can see a little bit of my everyday life.
LF: What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in five years?
BP: I just got on board to model for a clothing company’s viral campaign! I’m so stoked to start working on that. But as for the next five years, I have no idea where I’ll be. Life is such an adventure, and I can’t wait to see how things turn out. Just as long as it doesn’t get boring, that’s all I care about.
LF: What gets you off, literally or figuratively?
BP: Adventure, vintage clothes, golden hour, ripped shorts, abandoned buildings, nyc, boys in sweaters, high tops, roadtrips, and faux fur.
LF: What’s on your playlist now?
BP: Lana Del Rey, Local Natives, Father John Misty, The Zombies, Alexz Johnson, and Delta Spirit.
LF: Favorite designers and brands?
BP: Mostly vintage. My favorite is this little store in the West Village called Geminola. But I recently discovered a designer named Christian Benner. His stuff is insane.
LF: Do you believe in love?
BP: Of course! I can’t think of anything that gives me a greater rush.
LF: How fast do you live?
BP: A little too fast if that’s possible.