Our newest muse is likely to be no one new to most of our readers. Anna Gay has been both a huge inspiration to and wonderful supporter of the Mortal Muses for several years now. Many of you probably know her from Flickr fame as the whole community watched her 365 portrait project very closely. If you haven’t seen her work there, I implore you to check it out. When I started on flickr, her work fascinated and motivated me to no end, and I’m excited that she’ll be able to do the same for our Mortal Muses community more regularly now.
Anna grew up and lives in Georgia with her photographer husband and two cats. Her photography was originally mostly just self portraiture, but this stopped when she started grad school. She is doing an MFA for Studio Art in Photography. The people with whom she studies are there to get their Masters to teach, which is an option for Anna, but the main reason she went to school was that she hit a road block in her work. She decided it would help her to work with other students and faculty to get outside input on her work. She told me that it has been great so far. She is able to explore more avenues with photography. She still has self portraits and now also has a second body of work that is just as personal but not self portraits. She is interested in people’s living spaces. This actually ties into self portraits because in the process of self portraits she’s trying to figure out things about herself, and while exploring others’ spaces, she tries to figure out how she relates to other people. In addition to self-portraits and interiors, she photographs rural churches quite a lot.
Anna says she prefers film, and at first it was this really kind of exotic thing, kind of a novelty, but as she got more into film, digital ended up feeling “weird” and being more exotic. She shoots with a Mamiya RZ67 that is on loan from her school. She and her husband also shoot 4×5 and 8×10 large format cameras. She says that she love shootings with it because it forces her to slow down. Another reason she prefers film is that the resolution is better with film, for printing large prints for school and shows. She is able to develop her own film at home and at school, and also does darkroom printing. She says she likes that she can hold what she’s made, not like a JPEG in the computer that seems more like an abstract thought. She likes the hands on process. That said, when she gets a new phone, she will be getting back on Instagram!
Anna told me that she has followed Mortal Muses for a long time and wanted to be a muse for awhile now. Speaking from a selfish level, she says, she has just experienced loss of her father, and there is no way to prepare for that. She certainly didn’t expect it to make her lose her inspiration and she says that she is fighting hard to keep it. In doing so, she’s finding it from external sources, like the Mortal Muses content and all of the different viewpoints here.
She’s been through a lot from her online life seeming so public because of the attention that her 365 project received. “I see so many people get discouraged from photography, especially when they are online (flickr, etc), sort of a competitiveness. ” Anna wants to inspire people to keep shooting, trying new things, and progressing for themselves more than to please other people.
Without further ado, please welcome Miss Anna Gay Leavitt to Mortal Muses!
-Cara of tumbleweedineden