Whistles women: Retts Wood

London based photographer Retts Wood specialises in portraiture, shooting actors, musicians and designers for publications including British Vogue, Dazed & Confused and Apartamento magazine. She captures her subjects with a naturalistic and light filled touch, shooting them in everyday surroundings – a stairwell, a garden or by a window. The photographers own everyday surroundings are slightly more off beat. Living in one of London’s canal boats, she is in the unique position of owning a home with the freedom to travel, exploring the wild nature of the city’s water networks whenever it takes her fancy. We sat down with her to discuss her work, her every day routine and what it’s like to live on a boat in one of the world’s biggest metropolitan cities.

How do you get around London when not on the boat?

I get around London by bike, and have done since I was at school. There's nothing nicer than cycling home at midnight on a warm night, when the back streets are quiet and the city feels utterly different.

Describe a typical day for you

My typical day starts early with Vietnamese coffee with my boyfriend. Sometimes a jog around Regents Park, but usually I've accidentally on purpose run out of time. After that, it depends on the day - if I'm shooting I'll be off, lugging my equipment to the days location. If I'm editing I work from home. If I'm free in the evening and the sun is shining I cycle up to the heath and swim in the pond. My ideal day would finish with dinner with friends or a supper at home with my boyfriend. No day feels complete without food and wine shared.

What’s the best thing about boat life?

The freedom that comes with it - I'm not crippled by rent or mortgage, which leaves me free to travel. When the sun shine’s I can float off into the countryside for a while, taking my home with me.

Who would be your dream portrait subject to photograph?

My dream subject would be Patti Smith - I've always admired her work but I'm also fascinated by her as a woman and as a modern, uncompromising beauty. And I've always wanted to photograph Charlie Watts. And Levon Helm, but sadly I missed my chance there…People in general interest me though, particularly people with lives very different to my own - a series of portraits from Villages around the world would be my dream job.

Do you have a favourite spot or canal route in London that you like to boat to?

I tend to head to Victoria park on my boat, as most of my friends live on the east side. It’s a lovely place to moor up for the evening, and a surprisingly idyllic place to wake up in the morning. I love the wild untamed parts of the canal in far West London too.

When you’re not shooting, how do you spend your down time?

When you're freelance, downtime is hard to come by - there's always one more thing that needs doing. If I can be, I'm with my friends and family - they're what makes life good. Failing that, there's always amazing art to look at in London, if I feel the need to be inspired. If not, I'm happiest on my little boat bed with a whiskey and a good book.

What inspired you to live on a boat in London?

A friend of mine moved on to a boat a few years ago. I came over to see it and fell in love! It just seemed like the perfect life for me - small and sweet and affordable, in the most expensive of cities. And I love the canal's perfect balance of wild nature and heavy industry.

How do you rationalize your belongings (and wardrobe) into such a small space?

I've left some books at my parent’s house, and have had to limit my book purchases. All my music is digital now, which is sad but makes life easier. Clothes weren't a problem - I'm pretty dusty, and not a big shopper. I'm happy with enough clothes to keep me warm and a few bits I love.

What’s the best thing about boat life?

The freedom that comes with it - I'm not crippled by rent or mortgage, which leaves me free to travel. When the sun shine’s I can float off into the countryside for a while, taking my home with me.

Find out more about Retts here: rettswood.com