• Tumblr Tuesday: Anna Ottum

    We’re always scouring Tumblr for up-and-coming artists, photographers and interesting people to follow. On Tumblr Tuesdays we dig a little deeper, introducing you to a new person whose point-of-view we’re reblogging this week.

    We're enamored with the work of NY photographer Anna Ottum. At times epic and expansive, at times moody and quiet, her work captures emotion and adventure in a way we can't get enough of. After she photographed this week's feature with fellow outdoorsman Ian Durkin, we asked Anna to share a little bit about herself, as well as the stories and memories behind a selection of her personal work.
    Photos by Anna Ottum

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.

    I’m originally from Portland, Oregon though I’ve been living in New York for about five years now, currently as the the Artist Liaison at Trunk Archive. I’m able to work with photographers I’ve followed and admired for many years which has helped influence my own work.

    How did you get started in photography?

    My parents were both photographers and met on a trip photographing ghost towns in Oregon, so we were surrounded by it as kids. They both took beautiful photos and encouraged us artistically, though early on I went down the route of illustration and painting. I started taking photos in a sort of cliche way, discovering my Dad’s old Pentax Spotmatic in our basement and playing around with it, taking photos of friends.

    What subjects are you most drawn to?

    I’m a total sucker for a misty mountain and early light, though my work was forced to change a bit when I moved to Brooklyn. I'm still most interested in simple moments and creating a natural feeling wherever I am, even if it isn't deep in the wilderness.

    What's one tip you have for a photographer just starting out?

    Keep your archive insanely organized! Label folders and include dates. In terms of the craft itself, figure out what you truly enjoy and don't compromise on it. If you go after it you'll create your best work.

    Can you tell us a few of your favorite Tumblrs to follow?

    I go through old and new favorites, here's a mix of the two:
    Notes on Design
    Chantal Anderson
    Ian Durkin
    The Burning House
    Word Hard For This
    The Young Professional

    What are five things you're obsessed with at the moment?

    My point and shoot Contax, R&B music (this is a lifelong obsession), Julia Noni, rotisserie chicken from Smile to Go (the meat falls straight off the bone, it's unreal) and East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

    One thing you're looking forward to this year.

    My ballet class, I’m so into it. I played basketball and soccer growing up and missed out on those early girlie ballet years, so I’m making up for lost time.

    Stories behind Anna's work:

    "On a short tour through Alaska, 13 friends and I drove three days and nights to make the 2,500 some miles to the Kenai Peninsula. Before we unpacked or met our hosts we all chased each other to the lake in their backyard. Three of the boys opted to stay dry in a canoe they found leaning on shore, which they used to paddle out and listen to loons."

    "While driving through the Yukon as the only car in sight, we came across a group of horses taking over the long stretch of road. We drove at a trotting pace behind them for a while and never saw their owners. Soon after this it became dark and rained all through the night. We watched a wolf run alongside our car in the pouring rain."

    "Each time we drove between towns to our next show in Alaska there were mountains on either side of us and many roads were narrow, dropping off into cliffs that nearly took over our large van. We stopped occasionally to climb onto nearby ledges and outlook spots."

    "On a small fisherman’s island called Seldovia we stayed in a cottage house on stilts, which overlooked a small river. Early in the morning we went for a hike around the edge of the island and climbed over beautiful white rocks, some crumpled and worn from cold winters."

    "Soon after moving to New York my work had to adjust a bit. I couldn’t rely on expansive landscapes as backdrops and I started to photograph things right in front of me. In this moment, my friend Emily was telling me a story about how someone held her hair in the shampoo aisle of the grocery store and told her, 'I’ve never seen blonde hair this close before, it’s so golden.'"

    "One Saturday an old man stood on his roof and trained his carrier pigeons to circle the building over and over again. We watched from a friend’s deck nearby."

    "We camped out in the hills of Catalina Island during a time each year when sailors dock their ships and dress as pirates to take over the town."

    "One trip back home I met a couple originally from the East coast who were living and travelling in their camper for an indefinite amount of time. They told me why they preferred the West to the East and I understood after living a few years in New York, but argued for the East all the same."

    "One July weekend in Newport the beach was coated with fog for days and it seemed strange to watch everyone in their normal routine at the beach and in town."

    "My great grandma Poe bought a small seashore house on Mt. Desert Island over 100 years ago so her family could travel from Philadelphia to stay for the summer months. After a few expansions on the house and size of our family, every year we all spend a few weeks of the summer there together. Great grandma Poe’s old room faces the ocean, which breezes through the windows."

    Anna's website
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