We’re over the top delighted to be hearing from the amazing Anna Kuperberg for our Six Questions series. Remember when we said there are really Eight Questions but participants only have to answer Six? Well, Anna graciously went above the call of interview duty and addressed all Eight of our burning questions. Lucky us. Enjoy!
What’s the story behind this photo?
I love this photo because it is a mix of planned and unplanned. The horse just showed up at the wedding, on the other side of the fence. So I brought the bride over. I planned the light, which was a remote flash held off to the side by my assistant. I remember being frustrated waiting for the flash to recycle, and I could not take photos as fast as I wanted, and the horse was moving, and the light was changing because it was dusk. But then this moment happened, where the bride looked down and she looked so thoughtful and gorgeous, and everything came together in that moment. I think she looks so relaxed and contemplative because I was messing with the flash, and she didn’t know I was really taking a photo. So it was a moment of her really being herself.
What was it that lit your photography spark? Do you remember a particular camera, course, person, roll of film?
I’ve wanted to be an artist as long as I can remember. As a kid, I did all kinds of things: drawing, painting, and making a mess with Play-Doh. My mom took a lot of photos and I would always beg her to use the camera. The camera was like this precious thing and she would say, be careful, don’t break it, don’t waste film, you can only take one photo, or something like that. So it was very exciting and special to get to use the camera. I remember once taking photos of a cat outside when I was eight years old, and being very disappointed once I got the photos back, because the flash was on and I didn’t like how it made things “too white.” I was frustrated at not understanding how the camera worked and I wanted to figure it out.
What’s your photo philosophy? Does it reflect your life philosophy?
To me, connections between people are very important and very interesting. And I should include animals too. This shows up in my photos and it is part of my life philosophy as well.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I love both raw gritty photojournalism and also highly stylized set ups. I also like writers who are on the border between fiction and non fiction, for example right now I am reading Kurt Vonnegut and I love his style. I like movies that are beautifully shot and lit. But I also like documentaries that show something about humanity, even if the technical quality is bad. So I think I’m attracted to the line between what is real and what is the artist’s interpretation.
What would you say is one of your ‘signature’ editing tricks, themes or style? What do you think makes an image recognizable and uniquely yours?
I don’t really have any tricks but I do have a quirky sense of humor mixed with a deeply sentimental side. That usually comes out in my photos.
What aspect of your photography are you constantly working on, trying to improve?
I think the hardest thing for me is that I photograph weddings, dogs and babies, which are naturally romantic and cute. It would be easy to stop there. Anyone loves to look at something pretty even if it’s shallow. But I try to push it further, so it’s something more multilayered, or more subtle, or more important.
If you could go anywhere in the world for an epic, weeklong photo excursion all by your luxuriously unhurried self – regardless of money, time or childcare issues – where would you go and why?
Nepal. I have never been there but my understanding is that it is both visually beautiful and very poor, so it’s a place that needs attention and one way to do that is with great photos.
Are there women out there that you consider your shutter sisters? Who, and why?
My friend Amy Deputy has a very deep soul. Also Linda Wallace has a better sense of humor than I do, and it really shows in her photos. Also Angelica Glass in Brooklyn is a wedding photographer who really breaks rules and isn’t afraid to be herself. That’s the best quality in a shutter sister!
Be sure to visit Anna’s website (if you haven’t already) and check out her blog which will keep you up to date on her whereabouts, including when she’s teaching her next Kuperskool workshop. The inspiration never ends!