Meet the Editors: Anna Brody
As a team, all of the editors of Aint-Bad can agree on one simple fact, we like photography. I mean, we really like it. This shouldn’t come as a surprise or anything, as most of our time is spent looking at, writing about, and thinking about photography. We’re excited to introduce ourselves as editors, as photography purveyors, as human beings. Meet Anna Brody, proud Aries and (passionate) human being who also makes (brilliant) images. She has such a good bio, I basically just copy and pasted it.
Anna Brody (b. Washington, D.C. in 1991) is a photographer and empath currently studying at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. She began making images through film and darkroom process in 2005 and now brings her compassionate perspective and seemingly bottomless reservoir of chameleonic emotions to her work in medium and large format color film. Her work focuses primarily on longing, loneliness, contentment, cyclical mood shifts, and escapism, all as represented by or found within the social and built landscape. She also likes to take pictures of other people whose feelings she can see out loud. Her work has been shown in exhibitions throughout the U.S., and her ongoing series Edging, GA was most recently awarded as a winner in the 2017 PDN Photo Annual. Anna instagrams a lot, has strong and hasty reactions to things a lot, gets enthusiastic and/or sentimental about things a lot, and goes jogging approximately once every two months or so.
Where ya from?
Grew up in Washington, D.C.
How long have you been a part of the Aint-Bad team?
Favorite Aint-Bad publication?
Whichever the newest one is! Magazine or monograph, whatever is freshest is always gonna be the one I’m most enthusiastic about. If I had to pick one that’s already out there, I’d say Issue no. 9 From Here On. Haven’t seen anything beat that yet for the sheer variety of cover-to-cover dopeness.
What’s your favorite song right now?
Biggest fear? Favorite smell?
biggest fear – being alone forever
favorite smell – the fur on my cat’s head after a sun nap
Where do you see yourself in 25 years?
Living in a matriarchal society with democratic socialist systems, clean energy, clean oceans, cute robots, lots of bees, no cancer, and kinder prisons. *sigh*
What constitutes a GOOD photograph or body of work? What are you drawn to when putting together Aint-Bad features?
For the images, I don’t actually know how better to describe it than the punctum. It’s a mysterious thing, but when it’s there you can’t ignore it. I also always like to see lots of writing – I hate when submissions forms limit artists to a 100-word statement or something like that. If you have a lot to say, I want to hear it and more power to you! If you give me something to really sink my teeth into, whether it’s research or poetry or theory or personal history or whatever, I’m going to be able to view the work with a lovely roundness that isn’t there otherwise.
When it comes to editing your work, do you experience ‘Punctum’ after seeing your own images after they’ve been developed?
I do. Any final image has to have punctum for me if I’m going to put it out there in public. If I don’t see anything in it that makes me feel a hell of a lot of feelings, how could I possibly expect anyone else to care about it? Actually, now that you mention it, I think I usually feel a lot more deeply for the subject matter after it’s been captured and frozen than I ever do for it when I’m photographing it out in the world. But then again sometimes I feel deeply for something and can’t capture that depth on film at all, so who’s to say?
What is the most memorable image you’ve ever seen?
Diane Arbus’ Blonde Girl With Shiny Lipstick. I had never been allowed to see someone’s mask so clearly. It certainly isn’t a kind picture, and I have a lot of issues with Arbus’ work now, but it was stunning to me at the time in the most literal sense of the word – it was exactly what I needed to see at that age, and I’m so grateful for it for that reason.
Who has influenced your work the most?
My grade school darkroom photography teacher, Allen Jackson. I took it seriously because of him, saw Arbus and Avedon and Maplethorpe books because of him, managed to not drop out of high school because of him, went to an arts university because of him. Wouldn’t be a photographer without him.
What aspects of your daily life are reflected through the work that you are drawn to or make?
A deep-seated and unshakeable hope, and the prioritization of relationships above all else. I’m curious and friendly, I cry a lot, I’m never disappointed by a sunset or a sunrise. I always – every single day – wish things were better for most of the living things on this earth but I’ve realized over the years (but especially after these past few months) that I just don’t have it in me to be a nihilist. My pictures aren’t deadpan, although I think I tried to force that for a while, my portraits aren’t tragic or cold or derisive, but they also don’t idolize particularly beautiful people, or make found models out of a gas station attendant with good bone structure. I tend to curate fake places out of real ones, and end up constructing a little world where living is a little bit softer, involves a little less suffering, but isn’t too far from the real thing. Collecting every sunrise and golden hour and making a world where it is only ever those times of day.
I’ve seen you work, and I know how many rolls of film you shoot. Can you describe your working process to those who are unfamiliar?
It’s true, I shoot a whole lot, but I only shoot about once or twice a week and only for about an hour at sunrise or sunset. In addition to it being obviously stunning light at those times, especially here in Georgia, I’ve found that the pressure of working with that transitional light forces a state of hyperawareness in me. The time crunch pushes me to be incredibly vigilant about my surroundings, which I’m not always like – I don’t walk around all day every day with my camera, shooting roll after roll in a diaristic way. It’s very much on a schedule, because if I don’t have structured time I crumble into a mush of unproductive nothingness (!!!!) I also never shoot just one frame of anything, which helps the rolls stack up. I’m not sure if that points to a lack of confidence on my part in my ability to capture something right the first time or a general best-practice safety net type of mentality? Possibly just a total lack of discipline and conscientiousness actually…
How are you influenced by your location when making work? Do you base your images off of intuition, light, color, etc?
All of the above, although I think the biggest influence is that time constraint I was talking about. I’m still not entirely sure what I base my images off of – I think, so far, that it’s loneliness, which as an emotional state is so fascinating to me. You can be anything, and simultaneously be lonely – it tags along with sadness of course, but I’ve definitely also been happy and lonely, angry and lonely, confused and lonely, tired and lonely, restless and lonely, honestly anything – drunk, sober, skinny, fat, normal, PMSing, with a partner or without, alone or in a big group, in a city or in nature, at home or traveling somewhere new, all while being lonely. It feels at this point like I’m not even sure if I can call it loneliness anymore – there must be a better word, I just don’t know what it is. And the people and places and things I take pictures of are maybe what that word is.
Can you tell me a little bit about your book ‘Short Brown Grass’?
A reckoning with winter, which I run from, also honoring this slow-moving place that has kept me so kindly for 4 years now, and also, as always, loneliness.
If you could be best friends with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I read somewhere recently about these women in nazi Germany who seduced nazis into following them and then led them to their deaths – they seem like a couple of total badasses and I would absolutely want to be part of their gang.
What’s next for you?
Oh more of the same I would imagine – I’m pretty happy where I’m at right now, and Edging, GA needs more work.
We’re honored to have Anna as a part of the Aint-Bad team, willingly swayed by moments of punctum and lonliness. Have more questions for Anna? Feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or spend some time on her website, https://www.annabrody.net.