More Than a Pretty Picture

Lillis Werder lets her photographs speak for themselves. Whether an image of an ancient castle in the Irish countryside or a gritty street performer in New Orleans’ French Quarter, each of her pictures is taken with a purpose and a message.

As an artist, Werder strives to elicit unexpected emotional responses from her viewers, in hopes of prompting curious speculation and contemplation. With every snap of her shutter, she emphasizes certain realities and intricacies that would otherwise be overlooked or taken for granted. A twinkle in someone’s eye; a flag caught in a sudden breeze; a shaft of sunlight on rolling waves… Each represents a moment in time that almost went unnoticed, if not for her keen awareness of everyday spaces.

“Our world today is so information-rich but seems so time-poor in culture,” Werder says wistfully. “Photography is my way of suspending time and living in the moment.”

This wasn’t always Werder’s calling, however. A Kansas native, she was drawn to the DC area to attend Georgetown University, where she remained post-graduation. After many successful years spent working in the stock brokerage, foreign exchange, and IT fields, Werder boldly left her job with IBM to focus on a more creative ambition: that of becoming a professional photographer.

Not even Werder could imagine the places it would take her. Along the way, she has compiled portfolios of pictures taken in Florence, Malta, Provence, Paris, New York City, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Lisbon, to name a few. In her own words, she will happily “travel the extra thousand miles for a photo.” And so she has.

Werder doesn’t confine herself in how she presents the images either, employing a wide range of techniques. She uses the boldness of full color, the starkness of black and white, and the softness of sepia to convey the feelings she envisions. She strategically blurs corners, boosts contrast, and applies antique filters. For Werder, the digital darkroom holds as many possibilities as the world outside.

“Creating art is a way for me to experience life more fully and with more intensity,” says Werder. “Photography makes me feel connected and vital, inviting me to investigate places and to explore the potential for discovery around every corner.”

With her own successful business, Lillis Photography, and some real estate and event photography ventures on the side, Werder seems to have found the perfect balance between work and hobby. Her photographs can be seen on display at several galleries in the DC area, including the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA, as well as on websites such as National Geographic and RedBook Magazine.

Werder currently resides in Manassas, VA, with her family, where she is an active member of the Prince William County community and a welcome addition to the County’s Chamber of Commerce. It’s easy to see why; Werder’s openness and adaptability to the world around her – and the ways in which she captures it on film – make her one of the DMV’s most intriguing and inspiring artists.

Visit Lillis’ website to see more of her art.

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