Annie is one of those women. If you know one… you need not any more words to understand what I mean. She exudes ease, poise, humor (and delightful sarcasm), around every corner in life. Nothing takes her off solid ground. She is steadfast, honest and… really… a photographer whose vision always will go outside the lines you brought with you. She’s FAST too… and anyone in the creative industry knows this is gold among copper. She simply knows what she’s got, knows when she has it, knows when to move on… all attributes I admire greatly.
I wanted to introduce you all to Annie, for she and I have joined forces many times around to bring you “stying stories“, short editorials exclusive for the blog…. and for you. Every month, when this team gets together, a little bit of magic between us all is created. Fashion, clothes, dressing oneself… it should be fun. That’s where we are every time we create; making sure we are smiling, loving, laughing and not taking it all sooooo seriously. Annie creates beauty. I’m happy I found her in this life, for she is one to know for lifetimes.
Annie! You brilliant being, you. First… lets start at the beginning. Where did you grow up?
My home is a tiny little town in eastern Washington just outside of Spokane. I grew up on a ranch with mom, dad, and bro, horses, pigs, cows, chickens, donkeys, and mules.
Tell me the progression of your moves… travels, whereabouts, and how each place affected you? Northwest, East Coast… LA… any places in between there?
Well, as soon as I knew I wanted to hold a camera for the rest of my life I went off to school in Santa Barbara to Brooks. Lemme tell you, SB is the most amazing place to be when you are discovering who and what you are. It’s where I fell in love with California.
The second I graduated I moved to NY to intern for Mary Ellen Mark. I have never felt so infused with so much energy and life. I was truly inspired. After that I moved back to Washington to have my son. He was born in Seattle and it is a city that I still hold very dear. You have never been around such genuinely caring people that love the world they live in. The city itself is still one of the best I’ve lived in. And finally back to Cali. Los Angeles is where I call home. There is something intensely mysterious, fun and magical about LA and you either get it or you don’t.
There is always a part of me that wants to live back on the farm again, or in my Brooklyn shoe box, or our old apartment on the water in Seattle, but every time that plane lands from wherever I might have been, I am so elated to see those palm trees, the golden glow, and that vast city view…I know I am in the right place…for now anyway ;).
When did you know photography was what you had to do? Was it immediate?
I was really struggling in school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Every time I had to pick my college courses for the new semester I would get anxiety. I decided to take some time off from school and then…I picked photo 101 just to see.
I was so in love I got my associates in a little over a year and high tailed it to California.
Why fashion… why not landscape or flowers?
I fell into it really. In the beginning I wanted to go into photojournalism, I still love it — capturing that perfect private moment. I think that I still approach my work that way. When I first moved to LA I took a job working for a really small shoe company and it snowballed from there.
Speaking of flowers, you also own a floral business and are booked, pretty much, always…. how did that get started? Did you think it would be as successful as it is now?
Yes, it is in a word, amazing. My business partner, Megan and I started The Little Branch about 6 years ago and we never imagined it would become what it is. There is something so special about working with your hands especially when your product is perishable and beautiful and only lasts for a week. It also doesn’t hurt that we work so well together and have so much fun in our studio. There is much laughter and goofiness going on always. And I’m plugging our website… now: www.thelittlebranch.com.
Whenever I come over, I want to hide in a corner and never leave… hoping I can stay forever. What’s the secret and magic you put into your home? Where do you get most of your pieces… what, to you, brings harmony to a home?
Love, love, love. Pieces I love and people I love. As the years have progressed I have learned not to just go get something you need to fill a space. It has to be special, to speak to you in a way. I’ve learned to wait for things, whether it’s that perfect old ladder to turn into a shelf or my grandmother’s chair that I’ve reupholstered about 8 times, or that dining table that I couldn’t afford and my dining room was empty for months and months. These are all things that I find myself touching as I walk by. They bring me such comfort, and I think it’s because I waited for them, like an old friend. My parents home was always so warm and inviting, lots of textiles and pictures, you will see that in my own home now. And of course, my family is the cherry on top. Without Cassius, Kevin, and little Petey, it would just be a house, not my home.
Your favorite item in your home?
Anything that was my grandmother’s, which there is quite a bit of. And of course my vintage bottles and milk glass. I love the history behind the old glass bottles, I feel like I have so many stories sitting in my windows and on my mantle. And to answer your previous question, I get most of my things from weird little thrift stores and of course the ever epic Rose Bowl Flea Market. I also have a habit of collecting things on road trips and shipping them back.
You just rescued a new pup… do tell…
Oh, little Petey! He has been the most amazing addition to our fam. It’s true what they say, “who rescued who.” It was always, “I’m too busy, I’m too busy, I’m too busy”, but I couldn’t resist my son’s big “pretty please” eyes anymore. Petey has become this little dude that forces me to take much needed time-outs. Otherwise I’d just keep the wheels grinding, but now we take time to go on walks and play and snuggle! And to think that he was just going to be another pup put to sleep and never seen again is just insane to me.
If you were a flower… what would you be… why?
A Ronunculus. They have more petals than any other flower – 250. They need little water and last for weeks. They are strong and quirky and beautiful.
An ideal day of shooting includes these things…
You, Free People wardrobe and the beach. Wait…aren’t we doing that this Sunday?! Yes, yes we are. Gotta love it!
You can buy a ticket to anywhere in the world tomorrow… where are you off to?? Whatcha bringin?
Africa!!! I’m dying to take Cassius there. I want to show him the world. I will be bringing my favorite old boots that have carried me across countries and back home.
Three things you wish to master/learn?
Italian, Cooking, Parenting. Not in that order ;).
What you look for in a friend?
Acceptance, honesty, and an insatiable need for adventure.
What’s your perfect Saturday look like?
Brunch with the girls, a little shopping and margarita indulging on Olvera St, and then home for dinner with my family that I will cook without burning anything!
Oh, man so many. David Sedaris/Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec/Nina Simone.
What has been your favorite shoot we’ve done together for this here blog?
Blues Traveler. But that’s only because it was the most recent. All of them are my favorite until we do the next one, then that one is my favorite.
Piece of advice for those wanting to make it as a photographer?
Never ever give up. Ever.