Headlands Center for the Arts

Brittany M. Powell

california | visual
Graduate Fellowship Program 2015—2016, San Francisco State

Artist Statement

My practice is interdisciplinary, in that the subjects being photographed are either participating or allowing me to document their intimate lives, and in that I use photography, video and sound as a way to express my ideas. There is a huge element of social practice—I rely on community interaction as a foundation for the creation of loosely-based narratives that mirror both my own experience and a larger collective cultural experience as well. My present project is a long-term research, photographic and multimedia exploration centered around the subject of debt (www.thedebtproject.net) and its affect on our identity. Debt is publicly enforced and highly stigmatized, but is almost always privately experienced. It is an abstract form without material weight or structure, yet with heavy physicality and burden in a person’s everyday life.

While at the Headlands

My goal with the Debt Project is to photograph and interview 99 subjects around the US to tell their stories of how debt affects them in both their personal and social identities. To date, I have photographed and interviewed 50 subjects. I expect the research and production of this project to take at least another year.

During my time at the Headlands, I will utilize the community and the space to reflect, process and begin to work on creating a book proposal out of this work, complete research to fuel the completion of the final one-half of the portraits remaining, edit the sound and media components of the project, as well as begin to explore ideas for new work to embark on.

Selected Video


Dēbitum, 2014

Selected Works

Personal Website

http://www.brittanympowell.com, http://www.thedebtproject.net