In The Wild With Williejane & Sofia Branco Kraft
Hi Willie! Hi Sofia! Let's start by giving us some background! Tell us about growing up in New Mexico, how you two became best friends and how you started your photography career / styling career?
Sofia - Well, I don’t really remember my life without Williejane. We met when I was 4 and she was 3 and we have weaved in and out of each other's lives ever since. There is something about growing up in New Mexico that really bonds people. We have experienced most of our lives together, all of the ups and downs.
Styling really stemmed from play. My mom has always had amazing style and I’ve admired it ever since I was young. Even now every time I go home I always raid her closet. Food is my true love though. I feel so inspired by ingredients and flavors as well as ideas around connection and vulnerability. It feels natural for me to connect food with most things whether it be fashion or an art installation. The work I do is definitely an exploration of my relationships to food and community.
Growing up in Santa Fe was the best, most of the people I grew up with are creative in some aspect. Although, at the time it felt like there was never anything to do, there was lots of dancing, star gazing, late nights, driving around and getting grounded.
Sofia has been in my life for as long as I can remember, she used to style me in her mom's heels at age four. Our friendship has always been creative from lip syncing Aaron Carter, to making tofu and potato chip concoctions... When I was 12 my cousin gifted me my first film camera (a Nikon FM) and Sofia immediately became my first muse. Throughout highschool I took darkroom classes/mentorships, and would always have Sofia dress up in her American Apparel and pose for the camera.
We both moved to Portland ten years ago and maintained our creative friendship. In 2017 I graduated from OCAC with a BFA in Photography and that’s pretty much when my career as a photographer started. Most of my work has been with Sofia!
What's it like working together?
Sofia- We have both been creatives since we were young and we would work on projects here and there together growing up in New Mexico and in Portland. But in the past few years we have really blossomed as collaborative partners. I will speak for myself, I feel so incredibly lucky to work with my best friend! We know each other so well and it feels so natural to work together. I always leave our projects feeling even more inspired and excited for the next. We actually are about to announce us being business partners under the name, Papoila.
Williejane is the person who really taught and still teaches me to be playful and silly. I think because of this, she’s always made me feel comfortable to express myself creatively and having that as our groundwork makes our projects together so seamless.
Working together is the best, that's why we are going into business together! Sofia is like the other half to my brain, she just gets it. She inspires me so much and everytime we work together it's the most fulfilling!
Williejane - tell us about your photography and video style without giving away too many of your magical secrets! What kind of cameras do you like to shoot with?
I just love sticking to analog. It’s what I learned on. I love the grittiness and unexpedancy of film and vhs. Creating a story through photographs has always been what I’m drawn to.
My main camera is a Pentax 67, she’s my baby. I also like to bring along a point and shoot, and my OG Nikon FM, both take 35mm. And of course my vhs handy cam!
Sofia- What has been your favorite food or fashion shoot you have styled? What was the inspiration behind it?
I am coming out with a cookbook in the next couple months called, Saudades, and last year Williejane photographed it. It was a great experience to produce, recipe develop and style a whole project. The inspiration comes from a mixture of growing up in New Mexico and being Portuguese and bringing people together around a table to connect around food. Also I used my favorite China of my moms that is vintage Dior with cheetahs on it and has been interwoven in many projects Williejane and I do together. Our work always feel like a homecoming and a continuation, so much growth.
We are so excited for the Wild Cactus x Papoila shoot to drop to all of you! Williejane can you tell us about the inspiration behind it? Sofia - tell us why you styled the pieces the way you did.
When pulling clothing from Wild Cactus, I was inspired by the colors, patterns and movement of the pieces. To see a variety of colors and patterns was a breath of fresh air because lately I have been seeing neutrals everywhere. Don’t get me wrong I love a good neutral outfit, but lately I have been feeling like, BRING ON THE COLOR AND PATTERNS!
What Sofia said, BRING ON THE COLOR AND PATTERNS. I’ve been so happy the sun is coming out and flowers are popping, so I was inspired by spring. Nelly and Nessa are two models I have worked with before and they continue to inspire me, so I felt like it would be a fire combo.
What pieces did you pick out from the shop? What are your favorite Wild Cactus finds?
I am always looking for jeans that fit my body type and that are comfortable and I found that THRILLS brand fit like a glove. We also just loved the idea of matching and think that Girlfriend Collective is so comfortable so we chose a white Girlfriend Collective Sports bra to go with the denim.
I chose a fit Sofia styled Nessa in, a collared button down by Charlie Holiday and a pleated tennis skort. I’ve been so into the preppy schoolgirl / Princess Diana vibe.
I always find the best accessories from Wild Cactus, I can’t stop wearing my butterfly hair clips.
Fave shops / spots in Portland?
Williejane - For clothing shops I have always loved Wild Cactus, even before meeting Leann. I’m a cereal online shopper, and Wild Cactus actually has clothing I would order online.
Fave spots are Citizens Photo, GrindWitTryz, and if we like to ball out Bamboo Sushi togo eaten in my courtyard.
Sofia - when I think about Portland I am always thinking about the food. A forever favorite is Luce.
Check out the Wild Cactus x Papolia video below
Thank you Williejane & Sofia! <3