Born and raised in the Midwest, Brianna Mills‘ love for art and all things visual became apparent at an early age. After receiving her Marketing degree from Howard University, she made the leap to Oakland, CA where she discovered her love for travel and photography. Starting out as simple photography sessions for friends, her brand evolved as she began capturing her domestic and international travels through photography and blog posts.
Brianna’s curiosity emboldened her to move outside her comfort zone, and immerse herself responsibly in other cultures, capturing and translating that beauty for all to view. Her experiences inform her work and allow her to more honestly capture the world and people around her. She has a wide portfolio of work, which includes travel, portrait, architecture, and product photography.
How would you describe your style of photography?
Color is a crucial part of my photography, and I make sure to honor that by making sure not to over-exaggerate the color, but still calling attention to the unique characteristics and essence of my subjects by capturing bold and bright images.
Can you share the backstories behind these two photos?
I captured this photo while hiking the Path of the Gods trail near Positano, Italy. I had originally canceled my plans to do the hike since I didn’t pack the appropriate hiking shoes before my trip. But I was moved to still attempt the hike after some of my plans for the day were canceled. So I embarked on the hike with only my sandals, half a bottle of water, and an apple to keep me going. I tend to lack a sense of direction, so I followed other hikers until I felt it was the right route to the destination.
Then I reached the “top” of the trail, sat down and captured this beauty for over an hour. There were tears involved, since it of course was even more breathtaking in person. I have it hanging in my living room now so I’m always reminded of that moment.
After years of living and traveling around northern California, I finally made the trip up to Lake Tahoe. My sister and I hiked into the Desolation Forest up to Maggie’s Peaks, which gives you a magnificent view of Lake Tahoe from above.
When we were hiking down, I encountered this view of Eagle Lake. Nature always has a way of teaching me lessons: the surrounding mountains, to me, represented the complications and obstacles we encounter in life. As you trace the jagged rocks and branches downward the mountains, your eyes are automatically drawn to the lake. This was the most crystal-clear, motionless, blue lake I think I’ve ever seen.
For me, the lake represented perfection, which is what I strive for in my work, though I know it can never truly be reached. So no matter what obstacles you may encounter, know that it will ultimately end with the good.
What are your dreams as a photographer?
There’s a lot of unseen beauty in the world, and my photography seeks to portray and share that beauty with others. I hope for this to take many forms. I’d love to be published in a travel magazine or website, with hopes of eventually starting my own travel & photography magazine. Having my work on display at an art gallery or museum. I also hope to break down the mental barriers some people have around travel.
My traveling fuels my photography, and vice versa, and I want everyone to be able to experience that joy, even if it means traveling there through one of my photos.
The “Snapshot” series are mini interviews with fellow black travel photographers to inspire others and myself. As I’ve navigated the world of travel photography over the last few years, I’ve found very few fellow photographers of color who are also doing this professionally with a heavy focus on travel documentary. So this inspirational resource of professional travel photographers of color is a way for people to always find us. Please get in touch if you’d like to be featured or know of others to feature.