We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Lynch and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
From a young age, I knew that I did not want to pursue a “traditional” office job. I grew up taking art classes, dance classes, and music classes. Channeling my artistic side felt right to me, and made me feel like I had purpose. In high school, I took my first photography class, and that’s when I became more serious about it. I realized that I see in photographs. I look around at the world in front of me and I notice the lighting, the shadows, the colors, the shapes. I can’t unsee it. And once I became aware of this, I knew that I couldn’t pursue anything else. I also came to this realization after seeing a concert in New York when I was a sophomore in high school. I went to see Paolo Nutini perform at Terminal 5, and I brought my camera along. I ended up posting some images from the show on my Flickr page and the next day, Nutini’s people contacted me asking if they could use one of my photos for his Facebook profile picture. I was stunned – I couldn’t believe that they wanted to use a 15 year old girl’s photo for this famous singer’s social media page. But in that moment, I knew I had talent, and that I could potentially pursue photography as a career. I ended up taking every photo class that my high school offered, and interned for a local portrait photographer. I had my first freelance gig in high school as well – I was hired to photograph a kid’s birthday party. Every experience I had taking pictures and providing people a way to remember a moment, document history, or capture beauty in ways most people don’t see, was a step towards my photography career. For me, photography is more than taking pretty pictures or getting likes on social media. It’s about preserving the present for future generations, and for changing peoples’ perspectives about the world around them, whether that be about beauty standards, politics, social issues, etc. One of the most exciting things about photography for me is connecting with people. That is why I love portraiture and street photography. The camera is a tool I use to connect with people, and it gives me a chance to hear their stories. Now, as someone who has been working in the photography industry for a decade, I am at a point where I want to be more impactful with my work. I am not only a photographer, but a teacher. As I move forward in my career, I want to learn about how I can use my camera to create a call to action, and how I can do so ethically, sustainably, and mindfully. I love teaching people about the techniques, history, and magic of photography, but I also find purpose in creating change and challenging people to ask questions about society. Every day I am thankful I had the opportunity and privilege to choose an artistic career. I hope I can encourage others to choose a career that excites them, inspires them, and challenges them like mine does.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am a freelance photographer, and my specialties are portraiture and street photography, but I also have experience in landscape, travel, editorial, fashion, and event photography. I studied photography at Parsons School of Design in New York City, and graduated with a BFA in Photography and a minor in Global Studies. I am proud to have studied photography for four years in New York, and I believe it sets me apart from a lot of other photographers in San Diego. Studying photography in New York allowed me to learn amongst some of the best in the field, and pushed me to my creative and intellectual limits. I also have had 10 years of experience managing my own freelance photography business, and 3 years of teaching photography. I have learned a lot along the way, especially how to work with a wide range of people, and how to succeed in a new city. I moved from New York to San Diego in 2018 and I didn’t know anyone here. I had no apartment and no job setup when I arrived. But I was determined to make it as a photographer – I didn’t want to rely on working in the restaurant industry like I did in NYC. I reached out to every person in the photography industry I could find on google, and I eventually received a few interviews. And I am proud to say that since moving here, I have been able to sustain my income working as a photographer and photo instructor. I am so glad that I followed my passion and over the past couple of years, I have been slowly growing my business and clientele. I hope to keep that going, and create a real presence here in San Diego with my work. I believe I mentioned this in the interview I had with SD Voyager about a year ago, but it still rings true – I pride myself on the fun, professional experience I provide for my clients. I am dedicated to making sure that my clients are more than happy with the images I take, and that during a portrait session, they feel confident and comfortable in their skin. I have been told that my photos have an authenticity about them and that I have a talent for capturing the natural, pure essence of my subjects. I attribute that to my down-to-earth personality, and the enjoyment I get from making real, meaningful connections with people. I have gotten to where I am today after years of learning, hard work, and not giving up on my dream of being a professional photographer. It wasn’t easy, and being a freelance artist, especially a photographer, comes with its own set of challenges. It was hard to make ends meet in New York without having a second or third job, and there were so many other aspiring photographers like me fighting for a spot to be hired. With each new iPhone that gets released, there is a higher quality camera that comes along with it, and then everyone claims they are a photographer. It has been tough seeing inexperienced people getting hired for photography gigs at a very low price just because they have the technology to take photos. And now with the COVID-19 pandemic, all freelance work has pretty much stopped for me. I have not booked any photoshoots or assignments since March. I have been teaching a bit online, but it’s not enough, so I’ve had to file for unemployment. Times are extra tough now for everyone, and I am learning to cope with these challenges. I have been experimenting with virtual photoshoots – using FaceTime as my lens – photographing my subjects from miles away. It’s difficult because I cannot physically be there to direct the shoot. It’s taught me to be more articulate and concise with my words. As fun as this new way of making images is, I hope that the pandemic subsides soon so I can start booking in-person photoshoots and classes again.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I love San Diego, and I wish all of my friends and family would visit me because there is so much to see and do! The top areas in San Diego I love to visit and explore are Balboa Park, Barrio Logan, Ocean Beach, Little Italy, North Park, Hillcrest, and the hiking trails in Alpine or Ramona. Some of my favorite bars and restaurants are Border X in Barrio Logan for their Latin Jazz Thursdays, Wonderland in OB for their amazing view of the beach at sunset, Seven Grand for their amazing selection of whiskey and live music, Queenstown Public House in Little Italy for its delicious menu and cozy atmosphere, and the thrift shopping in Hillcrest!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to give a shout out to ALL of the photography instructors & mentors I’ve had over the years who have shaped me into the photographer and teacher I am today. Here’s a few I’d like to recognize: Danny Sanchez – the first photographer I ever interned for, Veronica Yankowski Ligouri – one of my first photography instructors, and a few of my college professors – Dru Donovan, Ruth Eisenberg, Michelle Bogre, and Justine Kurland. I’d also like to mention Rob Andrew, who gave me one of my first opportunities to teach in San Diego, and The AjA Project, the incredible nonprofit where I teach, and have met some of the most incredible “artivists” in all of San Diego. And last but not least, my parents for supporting my choice of an artistic career.
Anna Lynch (myself)
Nominate someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.