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Inspiration

Anne Geddes Interview | Studio Baby Photography

By Pye Jirsa on May 4th 2015

Anne Geddes is known to be one of the best newborn photographers in the world, celebrating 30 years of groundbreaking photography. Below are just some of the most fascinating segments from our interview with Anne but you can also see the entire uncut interview in the video below.

If you’re interested in Anne Geddes’ Creative Live workshops then be sure to RSVP to her mother’s day card workshop by clicking here!

Anne Geddes Interview | Studio Baby Photography


Pye: What made you want to be a photographer?

Anne: Well, I didn’t always do newborns and children photography. I first picked up the camera when I was only 25 which is a good example of how you can never start out something too old. If you’re truly passionate about something, go for it. I grew up on a cattle station (cattle ranch) in Australia and there were no photography courses or anything like that. I used to love looking through the pages of LIFE magazine. I was so inspired by the amazing photographs that told a story, especially the ones with people. The whole notion that a moment in time could be captured forever was very powerful to me. I prefer one great picture to video any day.

Anne Geddes

Cabbage Kids

Pye: What were some of the challenges starting out?

Anne: One thing people don’t really know about me is that I shot portraiture for 10 years which was invaluable to me as I had to do everything myself including sales and scheduling and things like that. I learned much about children of all ages as well as the business itself. It was also very hard. I was getting a little frustrated with the process because you are pretty much locked into having to please people. I decided to do one image a month just for myself, just for creativity’s sake. This was my first famous picture, the one with the two babies inside the cabbage. I got a creative release inside of me that was all mine and it was wonderful. That’s how my calendars and greeting cards got started.

Pye: Why have you focused on newborn photography?

Anne: Of the thousands of newborns that I have photographed over the course of 30 years, I’m still in awe of the sight of a naked newborn baby.  When I first started doing doing this sort of work, I had to fight a lot of bias that babies supposedly were not a legitimate subject matter for art. I have worked really hard for years to dispel that notion. It is such an important subject matter for everything that newborns represent. Every time a new baby is born it’s our chance for renewal.

Anne Geddes

Anne Geddes Under The Sea Calendar

Pye: Many newborn photographers today are doing things that you did 20 years ago. What do you think about that?

Anne: Well, I have to honest. A lot of the images of newborns that are out there are not my cup of tea. To me, a lot of it is just painting-by-numbers. I personally don’t think my work is like that at all. You have to use your own mind and sense of originality. Many of the images out there look the same, yet they are done by different photographers. Everyone seems to have the kits now with the ladybug outfits and it’s very unoriginal.

anne-geddes

Anne Geddes Under The Sea Calendar

Pye: You have many amazing images in your large body of work. Would you mind talking a little about your recent work?

Anne: I did an “Under The Sea” newborn calendar for this year that was quite challenging. A lot of research was done as well as planning and creating. The seahorse image is one of my favorites. That is an original watercolor background that an artist has done. These are created at full scale on paper which are then scanned and printed on an equally large piece of fabric. In each image there is a different background watercolor, all being individual works of art. Before a single photo is taken there are hours and hours of work being done behind the scenes.

Anne Geddes

Anne Geddes Under The Sea Calendar

In the whole calender we wanted a pantomime, arts and crafts feel. For the picture of the 3 little anemones, you can see that the fabric we used was corduroy and that the sea floor is covered in cauliflower. It just shows how much effort is put into a single picture.

Pye: Do you have any advice to young photographers that find themselves at the stage that you were at 30 years ago?

Anne: I find it challenging to advise people at what to do because the world has changed since I started out. The internet has changed a lot of things. Technology has also changed a lot of things. Everyone seems to be a photographer now these days. When I was first selling my calendars and cards, you would have to physically come into the store and buy one. Now, images are seen as free online that don’t have to be paid for. I guess my advice is this; don’t copy people’s styles, find your own. Have confidence in your own ambitions. The only way to be successful is to produce something unique to yourself.

Pye: You have a Mother’s Day Card Shoot coming up that is sponsored by Creative Live, what is that all about?

Anne: On Friday May 8th, I’m going to be creating a Mother’s Day card live and everyone who RSVPs for the event will be able to watch me from beginning to end. Afterwards they will actually receive the finished card and be able to give it to their mothers. It’s an amazing process that I have had the pleasure to be a part of. Also, if you have any questions about anything, including my life or work, there will be a Q&A as part of this event. So if you’re in the area please RSVP and come see.

Conclusion and More Info

If you’re interested in Anne Geddes’ Creative Live workshops then be sure to RSVP to her mother’s day card workshop by clicking here.

About

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Love it or hate it I bet she make a lot of money!

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  2. Ben Webb

    Anne Geddes is an amazing photographer. I saw your Youtube video about her and the mother’s day shoot she was doing with Creative Live. Thanks for the heads up.

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  3. Thomas Horton

    “To me, a lot of it is just painting-by-numbers. I personally don’t think my work is like that at all. ”

    That came off a bit pretentious. Especially since her work, while good, is formulaic.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      This is what got me “When I first started doing doing this sort of work, I had to fight a lot of bias that babies supposedly were not a legitimate subject matter for art. I have worked really hard for years to dispel that notion. It is such an important subject matter for everything that newborns represent.”

      Sorry Anne, your work isn’t “art”. They’re baby photos. They are art insomuch as the paintings that are screwed to walls above the beds in the Motel 6 are art. It takes a modicum of talent to create that dreck as well. And sorry, but baby photos are only an important subject matter to the photographer because they are getting paid and the parents because it’s their kid.

      People don’t buy freaking calendars with sea anemone babies because they are “important works of art”, they buy them because they like “cutesy” things.

      Her asserting that her baby photos are important is the height of pretentiousness.

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    • Thomas Horton

      Dennis,

      Yeah, but how do you really feel about it? :)

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  4. J. Dennis Thomas

    I know this may be an unpopular thing to say, but I absolutely HATE her work. Yes, she is very good at what she does. VERY good. But, every time I see one of her photos I want her to cease to exist.

    ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!

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    • Barry Cunningham

      I can understand the sentiment, but I think it a little harsh.
      I pretty much loathe the baby picture genre too, but one time when I was browsing photo books at book store I leafed through one of her books and was fascinated by her level of originality. Like you said, she is “VERY good” at what she does. The sad part is how many unoriginal baby photos she inspires by wannabees. She touches on that in the interview.
      Even within the overdone popular photography genres that repulse me (e.g., baby pictures, Fauvist HDR, artsy textures, LensBabies, soft focus after WWI), I still stumble across maybe 1 in 10,000 photographers whose artistry wins me over because their work steps outside the predominant clichés. Geddes is one of those.
      As for the other 9,999 — I don’t want them to cease to exist, I just want them to find a better use for their skills — and, maybe, for their hard drives to crash.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I hate it. That’s my opinion. So what if it’s harsh? If her work were wiped off of the face of the earth humanity would have lost nothing but annoying baby photos. She ain’t no Leonardo that’s for sure.

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    • Thomas Horton

      Barry.

      You made me look up “Fauvist” so I gots some learnin’ already today. :)

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    • Daniel Thullen

      We all have our likes and dislikes. I personally don’t like the pregnancy photographs much. I find them to be a bit pretentious and usually very formulaic. But there are markets for every genre. We all just need to find out what genre stokes are artistic psyche and work a perfecting it.

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    • Raoni Franco

      LOL!! I logged in just to like your comment and leave a reply. I think Slr Lounge lacks this kind of raw sincerity. I hate when SEVERAL people just comment to say “he is awesome!”, love her work, nice job, over and over and over and over again. Thanks for the laugh.

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    • aaron febbo

      If you hate someone’s work that much wouldn’t you just avoid it instead of going out of your way to tell everyone how much you hate it ?

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      If someone’s comment bothered you so much wouldn’t you go out of your way to ignore it rather then comment on it?

      Same rules apply.

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    • aaron febbo

      Never said the comment bothered me. I’m not Anne Geddes so why should I be offended ? Just found it amusing that you purposefully clicked the page to hate on Anne Geddes hahaha. And yes i purposefully commented on your comment but its not like I could have avoided your comment. I did not know it would be there nor did i purposefully click on a link to hate. If there was a link about something i didn’t like I probably wouldn’t click on it much less comment. But thats just me. Either way no hard feeling.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I saw her work and decided to share my opinion on an open forum. That’s what forums are about right?

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