Wilson Webb

Wilson Webb has a portrait photographer’s dream job. As an On-Set Photographer, he’s present on movie sets and takes pictures of the cast in action. Webb captures some of the best actors and actresses clad in incredible costumes and makeup, on thrilling sets lit by lighting masters. Those photos are the ones you see in glossy magazines, press releases, posters and other promotional materials for films and television shows.

On the set of Marriage Story. Shot by Wilson Webb.

Whether it’s getting shots of Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx on the set of Baby Driver, working with the Coen brothers on True Grit, or most recently, going viral on social media for shooting portraits of the cast of Little Women using antique cameras and antiquated film developing processes, Webb has created an array of portraits that add to the stories the films try to tell.

The cast of Little Women. Images courtesy of Wilson Webb.

I asked Wilson to tell me the story of how he got into photography using the same 8 or 9 questions I ask every photographer who crosses my path.

Q: What was your first camera?
A: Nikon F or an Fe, shortly after a really bad 110 camera.

Q: How did you get your first camera?
A: I kinda “borrowed” it from my Father

Q: Do you remember the first photos you made?
A: Not so much, sorry. They are probably not worth recalling!

Q: How long did it take you to get hooked on photography?
A: Seconds, maybe quicker. It’s always just felt like a natural thing to do.

Image courtesy of Wilson Webb.

Q: Whose work influenced your interest in photography?
A: There are so many influences. Weegee, Lange, Bresson, Bourke-White, Daguerre, Hurrell, Erwitt, and so many others!

Q: Where do you find influence today?
A: Everywhere that I look and everything that I see and hear. I don’t seek a lot of current artists out, although I probably should. I tend to find inspiration in paintings and sculptures…many in museums and art galleries, and in the old forgotten photo albums and photos in antique stores. 

Director Ben Stiller on the set of Escape at Dannemora. Image courtesy of Wilson Webb.

Q: What’s one piece of good advice someone gave you as a new photographer?
A: Unfortunately, or not, I don’t think that I got much advice when starting out.

Q: Why do you enjoy making photographs now?
A: I enjoy many different aspects of making photographs. I enjoy documenting what moves around me, I enjoy the challenge of making something interesting out of nothing, I enjoy the random beauty that sometimes can only be seen after the image is taken, I enjoy sharing photos with others who also enjoy it, I enjoy the way that photography can slow down the mind, both can happen while either taking the photo or when looking at it.

On the set of True Grit with Roger Deakins. Image courtesy of Wilson Webb.

Check out Wilson Webb’s work on his website, and on Instagram.

He’s also penned an excellent FAQ for aspiring On-Set Photographers. Check it out here.