Get to know Bree Holt: a promise to create timeless art that matters


Photo via Instagram.

Born and raised in Atlanta, 23-year-old visual artist Bree Holt recently moved to Los Angeles and signed with Adolescent. Even though her brand, Exquisite Eye, primarily works with photography, her other projects also include two short films, Sisterhood and Crashing, which feature non-white female subjects. Working with models of color, Bree weaves her personal stories into her work to create timeless art that matters. As her brand takes part in the media’s increasing consciousness towards representation, Bree’s work is consistently self-aware. As such, Exquisite Eye is not only progressive but understanding of the world in which we live. Over the years, she has partnered with musicians such as Bahja Rodriguez, Alexis Ayaana, Nessly, and DonMonique, and worked on advertising campaigns with big companies like Converse and Gap. The photographer describes her approach towards photography as a “personal mood board”; in capturing a moment, she pauses the clock and keeps whatever she was seeing as an immortal object of art.

After the loss of her mother at a young age, Bree felt obligated to make art that would encapsulate living moments and allow people to see how precious time is. But her craft isn’t just inspired by her personal story—within her art also lies visual stories of different female narratives, as Bree has made a conscious decision to shoot women of different appearances.

The following is our conversation with the artist.

Lithium: What do you do in your free time?
Bree: I like to shop, cook, hang with friends, and go to museums.

Lithium: What does taking pictures mean to you?
Bree: It means capturing a moment in time that we can’t get back and making the most of it. 

Lithium: Do you think your art contributes to your growth as a person? How so?
Bree: I am always challenging myself to be better. [My work] is mostly inspired by real life events.

Lithium: You only attended Savannah State University for a year. How did you come to the decision to drop out of college to be a photographer full-time?
Bree: I always wanted to create, and in college I felt like I could not give my all to my craft. I had very [few] resources, and eventually I wanted a challenge. What better way than jumping out into the real world and giving it a shot?

Lithium: Did your family and friends support your decision?
Bree: The first phone call to my dad, he was not so happy about it. He wanted me to stay in school and graduate, and he made it clear [that] if I dropped out… I better return to Atlanta and apply myself every day. That’s exactly what I did.

Lithium: Who always had your back and pushed you forward in pursuing this dream?
Bree: God, my family, and [my] friends.

Lithium: I can just feel that your work is highly personal. If you don’t mind me asking, how has the loss of your mother affected your art?
Bree: I think the loss of my mother inspires my approach in the photographs that I take because I understand how important each moment is, and I feel like it is my job to create timeless art that matters years later.

Lithium: Clearly, you’re a visual person. But are you also interested in literature or writing?
Bree: Yes, I love writing! I actually write poetry in my spare time, but my writing [is] so sincere and special to me. I released my first [performed written piece] titled “After Hours” on YouTube about a year ago.

Lithium: Do you have a favorite poet or writer?
Bree: My favorite poet at the moment is Billy Chapata. His [work is] so amazing—[it takes] me to another place.

Lithium: Do you enjoy shooting digital or film more? Why so?
Bree: Because I am a Libra, I am indecisive, so to choose between the two is so hard. Digital and film both have pros and cons, but I must say that I love the thrill of shooting film and not really knowing the outcome until I get the photos developed.

Lithium: Is shooting musicians different from shooting models?
Bree: The process is pretty much the same; the musicians just usually want their personality to shine through and [for the images] to match the aesthetic of their sound and style. It’s really fun for me to tap into their world and [combine] it with my shooting style.

Lithium: You work a lot with women—is that a conscious effort?
Bree: Yes! I love women, and when I got started with photography I usually hated the approach that men took when shooting women. So, my mission was to capture women in a very pure and beautiful light.

Lithium: Your pictures have an intimate feel to them—they almost seem like they’re from a different world, a different dimension. I especially love the photos in your portfolio, because I feel so close to the subject. They’re almost nostalgic because of the color scheme and the grain. How do you establish such a close relationship with the subjects you’re photographing?
Bree: I like to have conversation with my subjects before photographing them so that they can feel comfortable before we begin shooting! And throughout the process, I like to direct my models, which always gives us the best finished product.

Lithium: Where do you see yourself and Exquisite Eye in five years?
Bree: In five years, I see Exquisite Eye on [magazine covers], on billboards, and in shop windows. The sky's the limit, and every day I am working towards being a better artist and getting my work seen by more people around the world.

Lithium: Why did you choose the name Exquisite Eye?
Bree: I started off with Bree Photography and realized how basic that was and wanted a name that stood out and represented me. I wrote down so many potential names on paper, and Exquisite Eye popped out—I never looked back.



Interview conducted by Anna Vo

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