Better Together: Wiissa
New York City-based photography duo (and romantic couple) Vanessa Hollander and Wilson Philippe form Wiissa. We first discovered them a few years ago when they won our Crush video contest, and since then, the pair has been busier than ever. Now in college, we caught up with the twosome to find out what they've been up to recently, their favorite places to shoot in the world, and their favorite music (complete with a special playlist, just for us). —Hazel
How did you two first meet?
Vanessa: We first met when I was 14 and he was 15. We both lived off a little island right off of Miami. As soon as we met we started hanging out and then we were together a week later. That's when we made nicknames for each other. I started calling him "Wii" and he started calling me "Ssa." I don't why, but we had already started calling ourselves Wiissa for some reason! Then a year or two later we started taking more pictures together and we decided to call ourselves "Wiissa."
Were you two already passionate about photography before you met or was working together what fueled it?
Wilson: I think beforehand we kind of liked photography but when we met, we grew up with each other and learned from each other. We really got into taking photos when we started doing it together.
Vanessa: Before that, we just took shitty macro pictures and made Photobooth videos and stuff [laughs]. After that, we started taking more photos, and we got our first film cameras together.
How would you say you two influence each other when it comes to making art?
Vanessa: We just literally can't do it without each other.
Vanessa: Photography-wise, Wilson's probably more technical, and I think more about the overall ideas. When we come together, we make what we make!
Wilson: If I were on my own, my work would be really perfect technically, but it would be boring. If Vanessa were on her own, it would be super conceptual. It would be all blurry and stuff [both laugh].
How would you two describe your aesthetic?
Vanessa: What we always strive for is "colorful." We want to get in as many colors as possible. Our photos might be nostalgic, because we're nostalgic for times we haven't lived in. We like to recreate those times through styling.
What has been the most enjoyable project you've done together?
Vanessa: This summer we went on a road trip through France. It was just us two and literally all we did was take photos. It was the best. In France, each city is completely different from the last. We were out on dunes, cliffs, waterfalls. It was something different every day.
Wilson: We also had two months of freedom to do whatever we wanted. I was driving my grandma's car around and looking out for places.
What are you two doing when you're not taking photos?
Vanessa: Yeah, we're both students. He goes to SVA and I go to Barnard. We try to do that as little time as possible [laughs]. We both intern, as well. He's interning with Adam Green and I'm working at a record label called Cult Records. We love going to concerts, too.
Any particular gigs or bands playing shows you're excited to see coming up?
Wilson: I think the Arctic Monkeys are coming soon.
Vanessa: The band Yuck, who I really like, is playing next weekend. We also just got tickets for Governer's Ball, so that's super exciting.
What are you two currently obsessed with?
Vanessa: I'm obsessed with The Libertines and Pete Dougherty. I sort of revived my 8th grade obsession. Music for us is the biggest inspiration for everything. We both love '60s French aesthetics, so we tried to tap into that in France. Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg are always one of our number one obsessions.
If you could photograph any band, who would it be?
Both: The Strokes
What's coming up for you both?
Vanessa: We're looking to get more into commercial stuff. We have some photoshoots for the record label. We're doing something soon with Julia Cumming's band Sunflower Bean.