HOW DID YOU FIRST GET YOUR START IN PHOTOGRAPHY?
"My first camera was handed down to me by my father when I was 13, it was his father's camera actually ... a relatively new Minolta film camera. Needless to say, through copious rolls of bad film, trial and error, [I fell] in love with the craft. I was just instantly hooked. My father is a scientist who does astronomy in his free time (some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen) and my grandmother was a painter so I definitely believe that becoming an artist was in my blood. I was 15 the first time I stepped into a darkroom and relished in the darkness. Fixer to this day is one of my favorite smells (toxic, yes, but nostalgic). I knew this was where I wanted to be for the rest of my life. I went onto gaining my Bachelors in Fine Art in Photography from The Gwen Frostic School of Art at Western Michigan University, earning three grant scholarships along the way. I moved to Chicago 2 years ago, nabbed an internship for photography, stuck to my guns and thickened my skin and started to expand my name/brand all on my own. I am the CEO/Founder of LionTamer Productions (Annalise Freytag Photography) run with my VP, Christian Romasanta. Additionally, I work as an in-house Creative Media Coordinator at SAE Institute (one rad Creative Media college)."
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE SUBJECT MATTER OF YOUR WORK.
"Well being bred as a fine art photographer I just have never been able to follow the conventional guidelines of a commercial photographer. I approach almost everything with a conceptual mindset and a very weird one at that. I know it might sound a bit cheesy, but I want each of my images to speak to the viewer as a story. I'm drawn to creating illusions of other worlds whether its through my lighting techniques, angles, set design, etc."
"My personal work is mainly self portraiture. When I create that work I usually don't even know why I'm doing it until after. Its like the process just has to filter out organically in order for me to really wrap my head around what I am trying to say."
HOW DOES THE PHOTO-MAKING PROCESS WORK FOR YOU?
"I love to build sets, use over-exaggerated props [and] juxtapose my subject and its environment. However, like [for] most artists, many things never work out to a "T." I love structure but being an artist you just have to sometimes let the chips fall where they may. Mid-shoot I might feel completely different with how the image looks. You need to leave room for yourself to breath, and marinate in the actual process. I usually end up surprising myself. From the very beginning of creating my work it was just me myself and I. I built the sets, I did the wardrobe, the hair and makeup, the props all that jazz (I'm a bit of a control freak). I now work with an amazing team that specializes in each of those productions crafts, however, I still have to be very hands on with my work."
IF THERE WAS A SINGLE SENTIMENT YOU WERE AIMING TO CONVEY THROUGH YOUR PHOTOS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY THAT WAS?
"Pain and pleasure, man. I love juxtaposition of hard and soft within my work."
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION AND WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR PERSONAL INFLUENCES?
"Everything inspires me; couples on the train, the Fed-Ex man, the farmers market ... you name it! I go on tons of blogs: huh.co.uk, Nowness, Fashiongonerogue, to name a few. I love Marilyn Minter, Alex Prager, Cindy Sherman, Gregory Crewdson, and Terry. I mean, c'mon, who could not love Terry Richardson. I'm also really digging Laura Makabresku; her work blows my mind."
View more of her work at: www.annalisefreytag.com