Guestagrammer of the Week: Annie Flanagan
Momenta welcomes this week’s guestagrammer, Annie Flanagan!
Current job: Photographer, Filmmaker & Educator
Current location: New Orleans, LA
Connection to Momenta: Project New Orleans 2014 Alum & Project New Orleans 2015 Momenta Professional Multimedia Mentor
Tell us about your journey as an image-maker and how you got to where you are today.
I started making pictures when I was in the seventh grade, and it’s something I stuck with. It’s how I learned to process my emotions and has always been an extension of my curiosity. I’ve just followed that impulse and that curiosity and made work accordingly.
What stories or issues are you most passionate about covering?
Right now I’m most interested in documenting gendered violence in America. In processing my own experiences and my friends experiences, specifically with rape and assault, I wanted to look beyond our experiences and see how other people are impacted by this epidemic. So, whether it was intended or not, in some capacity all of the long-term projects I am working on deal with people overcoming gendered violence. This is a topic that is very personal to me and very important, and I see a lot of room to explore and grow, both socially and visually. We all have a lot of growing and unlearning to do, and I hope that creating work that looks critically at how deep a problem exists will help us to simply be better. I really just want to make work that matters.
Where do you look for inspiration for your work: books, movies, authors, photographers, art, certain people?
I have a huge list of “Books I Want or Need” written by my calendar that I constantly add to. I go to bookstores and libraries and look at photography/art books because I don’t have the library I dream of, yet. Right now I’m reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I’m pretty bad at discovering authors, musicians, movies or books on my own, so I rely heavily on people who are more informed to give me suggestions.
What social media or news feeds do you follow regularly?
I don’t have any consistent news feed I follow. I like to mix it up. I do make sure to read whatever local newspaper exists in the place I’m currently in.
What is one passion you have outside of photography that might come as a surprise to our readers?
I have many passions I have explored, and it saddens me because I took a break from them when I recently got into photography as a career. Before I went to graduate school, in addition to making work, I was apprenticing with a blacksmith, teaching photography classes, playing music and working on farms. I remember once I was working with the blacksmith, Kevin. We were working on replicating this intricate, probably circa 18th century lock, and Kevin turned to me and said, “Annie put the camera down, you have to be fully focused to do this.” That’s when it hit me that I could never be a master blacksmith if I would drop the hammer to make a photograph. It sounds silly, but it’s true. That said, right now, I’m pretty immersed in photography, but I love to work on projects with friends that allow me to get exposure and inspiration outside of photography. Once I figure out this career stuff, I think I’ll be able to return to those other passions. You know, you can do it all, but you can’t do it all at once.
What can we expect to see next week from your “guestagramming” on our Momenta Instagram account?
When I’m able to spend time with my friends and family, I try to look inward and photograph with the people who encourage me and mean the world to me. “Incredible Maniacs” is a project I have been working on for a while now that is primarily about supporting being emotional and vulnerable and intimate in a society that tells you that being emotional is a sign of weakness. I’d like to think that these images go beyond just pictures of my family and friends. When I look at this body of work I see growth and friendship and loss and love and support and us just learning about ourselves in this mess and the empowerment and frustration that comes with that.
While I have been working on this project for years now, the work I am sharing has been made in the last year. Since I moved to a place where my close friends live, I have been immersed in photographing with them because for the last few years I was, for the most part, unable to.
#seizethemomenta, and follow @momentaworkshops on Instagram May 24 – 30 to see Annie’s thoughtful work!
About the author…
Manuela Marin Salcedo
Manuela Marin Salcedo is a research and development team member and content developer at Momenta Workshops. Her expertise is in visual communications and social media.