We’re so excited that Anna Kuperberg will be speaking at the Canada Photo Convention in April this year. With over 20 years of experience as a photojournalist, Anna has truly brought the art of storytelling to the world of photography. These days her focus has been primarily weddings, families and dogs and we’re stoked to have her share some of her expertise with us.
You bring a real sense of photojournalism back to the family portrait. Why do you think it’s important to showcase families in this way, opposed to traditional posed portraits?
Both ways are important. My family photos are not strictly [photojournalism], it’s more like a crazy improv with a little bit of direction. I let kids run loose but I also interact with them a lot and they are often looking into the camera, so it’s really a blend of direction and spontaneity.
How do you manage the expectations of parents when their kids “misbehave”?
I tell them to relax, that they are off duty. A mom’s biggest fear is that someone will think she’s a bad mom. She is usually not so concerned about her kids misbehaving as much as she’s concerned about what people might think. So I tell her they are perfect no matter what they do, and that she is perfect, and is it OK if we make a mess? I tell her that the most important thing is to have fun. Well behaved children will sit nicely but if they are not having fun they will not look good in photos. I also ask parents ahead of time, is it OK to jump on the couch / go outside barefoot / play the piano (etc)? So that I don’t get in trouble either.
Do you believe that a photographer’s images say a lot about who they are as a person?
Everything we say and do springs from our personality, if it is interesting. There is not much difference between the word “original” and the word “honest” when you’re talking about art.
What do you want people to take away from your images?
I want them to feel the way they would feel after a nourishing meal.
Anna will be doing live critiques of websites this year at the Canada Photo Convention.
Anna, why is it important that photographers get regular critiques?
If you are a beginner, you should have someone you trust, who has good taste, to go through your website and tell you very lovingly which photos are good and which are mediocre. An outsider can help you get a tighter edit because you might be sentimentally attached to some photos just because they were hard to make, or you can’t back up enough to see them clearly. If you are a seasoned pro, then all your photos are good, so your main question is: Does it feel honest? Is this telling the story I want to tell? Sometimes you need that extra set of eyes to reflect yourself back to you. But be careful, don’t listen to the whole world. Just find someone you trust who really has good taste. A teacher of mine once said, you are not catering to the masses. You are catering to the history of photography. The view 100 years from now will determine what was worth keeping and what wasn’t.
To hear more from Anna about being genuine, telling stories more honestly, and pushing yourself to make better art be sure to check her out at the Canada Photo Convention in Vancouver this coming April!