Women Who Create / Ridder Levitt
This fortnight I have the pleasure of sharing with you the creative stylings of photographer, film maker and art director Ridder Levitt. I hope you enjoy the read its a super inspiring look at creative business through the lens.
Tell us a little about your background...
I’m Ridder, a photographer, film maker and art director working on both commercial and artistic projects. I’m based in Brighton and I’ve always lived in the area, but that doesn’t sound very dramatic. so, when I was a child I told everyone I was born in a toilet in a park. I have been refining my storytelling ever since and it forms a large part of my approach to making work.
Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focussed and happy?
I do, yes! Listening to music in the studio is a big joy for me. I always make a playlist of songs I’ve been listening to while I’m working on a project, and I often share these with my clients afterwards. I also make a lot of props and sets for my shoots and I think constantly learning new methods with materials and taking time to make physical objects is a real pleasure that keeps me excited about working.
What three things can't you live without?
Family and friends are a given right? And I have air and water…I’d choose music, dancing and garlic.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
My imagination! I don’t really suffer from lack of inspiration, rather too many ideas. I do like things to be funny and colourful if possible.
What is the meaning of 'creativity' to you?
This is hard. I don’t like it when people think you’re either creative or not. Everyone is creative, it’s just about thinking of new ways of approaching things, or making things or sharing ideas. Some of my most creative moments have been in some of the most mundane situations or when I’ve been restricted somehow. I actually love the challenge of being creative when you have limitations, it’s magical.
If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone... who would it be & why?
Janelle Monae, she is so playful and such a trailblazer. I’d love to create a set for her stage show, make a music video or do an editorial photo shoot with her.
Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?
It’s all about the Bullet Journal and Parker fountain pen!
What is the best thing about running your business?
I love the fact that I can push my ideas to the furthest point. Of course I have to reign myself in sometimes for commercial projects, but I have full control over the type of work I make and the way I operate. I can spend as much time on a project as I want to without worrying about hitting targets.
And what is or has been the most challenging?
Trying to be everything all the time is pretty exhausting, I’m sure a lot of your network feel the same. I love researching, making props, and pictures and being with clients, but the other stuff is a challenge; the admin, social media, none of that comes naturally, but at least I’m doing it for a business I believe in.
What is your proudest creative moment in the journey so far?
I’m hyper critical so I’m always on to the next thing. I don’t always take time to feel proud.
However, when I was working on my 2016 short film ‘Four in a Box’ I was polyfilling the set with a beautiful palette knife and a delightful polyfilla (red devil - it’s a dream!) and I lost myself in ‘flow’ or ‘the zone’. It’s a wonderful feeling to be immersed in something and recognise that you felt joy. It’s an elusive feeling and one I’m sure many of us are always chasing, but moments like that are why I keep making and imagining and perusing the aisles of DIY shops.
What does your support system look like?
I am so lucky to have supportive friends and family. I’m also fortunate to have been selected for the Natwest Accelerator programme which has been incredible so far. I have a coach who challenges me and a network of so many other entrepreneurs. I’m also a member of the Brighton Chamber of Commerce and attend a lot of women in business groups. It’s all about who you know…
What one piece of advice would you share with fellow women who create to help them on their business/creative journey
It’s all part of the process and it’s natural to ebb and flow. My film ‘Four in a Box’ explores the idea of creative process, making the film highlighted the importance of accepting all of that. Doubt and hard work are just as essential as inspiration or a belief in your service or product. Also, read ‘Joyful’ by Ingrid Fetell Lee - it does what it says on the tin!