Name: Brian Harrington
Company Name: Legrand Wolf
Style: Fine Art
Yes, you read it right. I am talking about the same Brian Harrington, photographer and owner of BHP Imaging. During the last six years his company has established itself as an approachable, professional wedding studio, capturing the spirit of many organic, western weddings. But Brian, the adventurous creature that he is, has recently started exploring another side of his creative self. Enter Legrand Wolf, a combination of his middle name and his wife’s last name, as the perfect name for his new fine art photography company.
After he started BHP Imaging, as he was figuring out his way into the wedding business, the Wyoming Technology Business Center (AKA The UW Business Incubator) offered him a spot as one of the entrepreneurs they coach and guide through becoming successful Laramie artists. Brian didn’t know if his vision of success would match theirs, but he did know that The Incubator could help his company move forward. They wanted him to produce fine art photographs, and as part of the deal they would help him learn all of those “side skills” that you need when you are running a successful business on your own: bookkeeping, taxes, marketing... Brian’s end of the deal was to develop a fine art business, and with that objective in mind he has been exploring and refining his fine art photography vision as his wedding company grows.
In the beginning it was an arduous journey. Brian was trying to photograph abstract art that would fit his BHP brand and fall within the boundaries of his established vision. But it wasn’t until he started to add his work to a fine-art-selling website, which prompted to think of categories and labels for the work, that he realized that Legrand Wolf wad to become a thing of its own. BHP Imaging is about people and moments. His fine art brand, on the other hand, is about inanimate objects, lines, colors, and textures. He gave himself permission to step outside the box, and then the magic happened.
Legrand Wolf features older images that Brian shot during some of his trips and as a part of his everyday life, some of which nobody has seen, and also newer, more colorful work that is defining the direction he is going in. Inspired by classic abstract expressionists like Mark Rothko and Richard Diebenkorn, he wants to follow his intuition and create images that he would like to have hanging on the walls of his own house. For now his fine art work is available on his website, which features five galleries: China, Western Landscape (my favorite!), Abstract, Water, and Snow. Curating and uploading the images helped him clear the mental road block that didn’t allow him to see himself as a fine art photographer, and encouraged him to shoot from that place. He envisions his work being slowly discovered by people in other parts of the country, reaching the walls of art lovers who share it with their friends and, as a long term goal, art collectors who will help bring in big sales. In the short term he is looking into printing the images in a large format that will allow the viewer to interact with the work from within, and he is considering finding a gallery space where to show it and sell it locally.
To appease all those freshly engaged couples out there who had their eye on BHP to shoot their wedding, let me assure you that Brian is not planning on abandoning the wedding business any time soon. He is a people’s person and enjoys connecting with clients and making them feel heard. Colorful doors and water ripples don’t do that. He gets a different kind of enjoyment in walking around scouting for buildings and lines to photograph, especially now that the shine and newness of people “allowing [him] to photograph their wedding” has worn out. I asked him what he would choose between photographing fine art or weddings, if money wasn’t an issue. He said: “Probably fine art. That way I’d get some more days off and I could have a life again”. And he smiled. He shot 15 weddings in 2016, and did a huge load of commercial work, which means he took just six days off in the entire year. I know what you are thinking: why start another company if he is already so busy with BHP? Because that’s who Brian is. He couldn’t have a desk job and work for somebody else, under somebody else’s rules. He has never done it and he is not interested in it. He has started a second business every year for the last five years, with various degrees of success, and he has learned something from every one of them. This year he is actually going for a new business that won’t require a lot of extra time and attention, since he can shoot while out fishing or exploring the world during his much needed time off, but that will encourage him to confront his own idea of the kind of images he can produce.
Brian and The UW Business Incubator have occasionally differed on what success means as an artist, but they both share a common appreciation for our city, our great community, and the entrepreneurial spirit of Laramie. As he grows as an artist and explores this new path, he knows there is something out there, in the mountains around Laramie, that once he photographs it will feel like his best work. He doesn’t know what it is yet, but he can feel it is there. And he is set out to find it, like he has found a treasure within every one of his yearly adventures.