Many professional photographers have their hearts set on a career in photography from an early age, not so for the fashion and music-loving photographer Allister Ann. She was pursuing a degree in fashion when photography grabbed her and wouldn’t let go. She’s now made photography her life, always carrying camera with her to capture once in a lifetime moments for amazing artists and musicians around the world (most of whom she now calls friends). Many of those artists live in her hometown of Nashville, TN and have great things to say about her and her work:
When I see Allister’s photos, I feel I am being given a rare glimpse into the life of the subject she has in front of her camera. And, to top it off, she is a gem of a person and such a good friend.
—Bradley Spitzer, photographer
Here’s a sampling of some of our favorite images from Allister Ann’s ever-growing portfolio and keep scrolling for one of our favorite interviews to date:
Our interview with the lovely and talented Allister Ann:
Where are you from and when did you start shooting?
Allister Ann: Born in Phoenix, AZ., but spent most of my life growing up in Denver, CO. School in Los Angeles for almost two years, and then moved to Nashville which has been home for the last couple of years. I started shooting in high school with my dad’s old Pentax. I think it was the curiosity of the unknown and capturing it after I left home that made a camera more of a close friend.
How did you know you wanted to be a professional photographer?
AA: I didn’t. I went to school to become a fashion designer. My photography just kind of evolved and eventually became my favorite art form.
What are some of your short term and long term goals for your photography?
AA: Short term goals are to deepen my knowledge of film + instant photography, cinema, and continually building my body of work. Long term goals are to continue to travel, and hopefully ween myself from shooting digital photography altogether.
Who is your ideal client/ who do you want want to work for that you haven’t?
AA: I feel so fortunate to be working now with Joy & JP, for they are the epitome of the perfect clients; two amazingly beautiful people, inside and out, and close friends as well.You couldn’t ask for anything more ideal then that.
There’s always a list of who I’d like work with, but it’s not just to take a photograph of them, it’s because I admire them, and would like to spend time to get to know them. Bringing my camera out is like sitting across from someone over tea. It becomes a personal interaction, and at the end, hopefully I’ve gained a new friend from it. Karen O, Patti Smith, Emily Haines and Annie Clark are a few ladies I’d love to spend time with. Followed with Johnny Depp, Prince, Jack White, Paul David Hewson and Pearl Jam.
What is it like touring the world with a band like the Civil Wars?
AA: Documenting two individuals living their dream is an incredible adventure, but what makes it so special is that we’ve become a family on a journey together.
It’s more then just a job. Every amazing experience they have, I share with them as well. You can’t help but feel so much pride and joy for them each step of the way. To capture those steps for them within a picture or a video is my goal.
I’d like to think I’m creating a family album that they can look back on years from now that will bring a smile to their face.
How was this gig different than your other jobs?
AA: So different on so many levels. I’ve been with TCWs for seven months now, mostly on a tour bus. It’s an unusual lifestyle. I can only compare it to those long family vacation road trips we went on as kids. Except instead of Disneyland being the ultimate goal, it’s a different Disneyland every night. I love what I do,and we all have so much fun doing it together.
Why did you shoot The Civil Wars tour diary exclusively in black and white?
AA: B&W to me evokes more emotion in an image; simplicity of contrast, starkness, shadows..whatever the combination..somehow tells the story more easily, where color makes it a bit more complicated. B&W to me is classic … timeless, just as their music is.
Where have you been able to travel to in the recent years and what was your favorite?
AA: These past two years I was able to experience Europe for work, and backpacking through Europe two months alone. Cinque Terre, Italy was my favorite. It was life changing in more ways than one … hope to one day go back!
Tell us about your Film Fridays Project.
AA: Film Friday was created for my personal work. I always carry a film camera with me. I love the surprise element of seeing film developed, and the magic that raw film creates. It’s an art form in itself that I want to see continue.
What are some of your favorite cameras?
AA: That’s hard! My recent love is the Mamiya 645. My heart is the Canon AE-1…and everything Polaroid.
We noticed you became a pioneer for Impossible Project, what does that mean for you?
Do you get to use both film and digital for your clients? Which do you prefer?
AA: I always take the time to do both. Digital is always convienent for instant pleasure, but film ultimately always turns into my favorite frames.
What’s your most favorite subject to shoot now?
AA: It’s never about the subject, it’s all about the components that it takes to try and convey how I want that particular subject to come across. If I captured what I intended to, then that’s my favorite at the moment.
Do you have any advice for up and comers who think they want to make a career of photography?
AA: To me career means making money, but that isn’t what it’s about. My only advice is to always, I mean always, have a camera with you. Talent grows by consistently working at it.
If you’re truly an artist, you do it because you have to. There’s a hole or void in yourself that you crave to fill, and that’s what draws you and compels you to keep at it. If you’re lucky enough to make a living at it, that’s a bonus, but never a necessity, because you’d do it anyway … just because you love it that much.
Visit Allister Ann:
Be sure to contact Allister to shoot for your next lifestyle, fashion, band shoot or world tour. She’ll make great images and you’ll probably gain a new friend.