Brett was born in Washington D.C., and was raised and schooled in Texas. He moved to Los Angeles, California where he worked as a camera assistant and camera operator for various films, television shows and documentaries, most notably Errol Morris’ Oscar winning The Fog of War. Van Ort moved to London in 2008 and received his M.A. in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication shortly thereafter.
Brett has always been interested in land, the outdoors and how we as humans use the environment to our benefit and detriment. Many of his personal projects focus on the landscape, interaction with our environment, and what is concealed by nature.
His first monograph Minescape, was released as a printed book by Daylight Books in 2013. TED books and Daylight Digital converted Minescape into a digital, ebook version, days after the printed versions release.
Brett moved back to Los Angeles in 2012 to continue projects about toxic soil in America and the destruction of the Southern California high desert by the housing crisis.