Anna Peters is a talented photographer and poet living and studying in the Midwest. On her tumblr, petits mots, petites morts, she shares, amongst other things, the poems she is writing every day for a year and poems dedicated to each month. Earlier this month, I emailed her a few questions, and below are her responses about shooting film, finding the way words fit and how 'music is multi faceted awesome'. All the photos in the post are taken from Anna's portfolio & flickr.
|exposed more than once|
You shared photographs from your Hands On Spirituality class on your blog last month. What other classes are you currently studying and why?
My majors are Dance and Anthropology. I’m always in several dance classes: Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Pas de Deux, etc, plus rehearsals. I’m also currently in a really interesting Anthropology class called “Youth Conflict Global Cinema.” We’ve watched some fantastic international films, including Salaam Bombay, Offside. City of God, and Tsotsi. I highly recommend all of them.
Do you plan to pursue photography or writing full time? If not, what do you currently hope to do?
I don’t know exactly what my plans are for photography yet. There’s part of me that thinks I would really love shooting weddings, but the business/marketing side of that equation doesn’t appeal to me at all. I suppose my biggest goal is to just continue to grow. It may be years, decades even, until I solidify my photographic voice and master the technique. I feel the same way about writing, I want to develop and refine and improve, but only in order to best utilise the medium as a creative outlet. Although to be perfectly honest, if someone approached me and offered to publish my work, I wouldn’t say no. Dancers don’t make squat.
Often, you shoot film and then you share it online. How has using the internet opened up different paths for you? If you hadn’t had access to the internet, do you still think you would have discovered your photographic style and the patterns to your poetry?
If I hadn’t joined Flickr, I wouldn’t be shooting film, or it would have taken a long long time for me to discover it on my own. I think the internet community is a brilliant resource for both photography and writing. Seeing what people are doing, and watching others developing stylistically has been invaluable for my own growth. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the web has immensely influenced the way I express myself, by giving me a space in which I can do it and receive feedback; I enjoy being able to interact with other young people making art.
What do you most enjoy photographing and why?
There isn’t really a specific subject I like photographing the best, but I really love telling stories. My favourite way to use my cameras is when I can bring them along to an event, a trip, what have you, and end up with a series of images that not only documents what had transpired, but also captured some of the essence, or soul, of the experience. (This is why I think I might find a fit photographing weddings.)
What inspires you to write your poetry?
Nothing. I like the way words fit together; I like the way they taste. Sometimes spew out nonsense just for the aesthetic. Sometimes I write without thinking. If I can begin it, I can usually find a way to end it, conclusions have always been my speciality - ending paragraphs, last lines, goodbyes. And also, everything, including, but not exclusive to (this list is stolen from my blog): memories, imagined conversations, remembered dreams, half-remembered dreams, the condition of my fingernails, the temperature at any given moment, rain, things that grow, various spiritual ideas and philosophies (Taoist and Tibetan Buddhist especially), whatever the sky happens to looks like at the time, headaches, pulled muscles, other people’s writing, sweat, un-made beds, how much I cry, anything I can brush gently with my fingertips.
Are there any places you dream of travelling to and photographing?
Anywhere. It’s the going that creates the story. I have massive amounts of wanderlust.
On your tumblr, you share a lot of music. The songs you listen to and the poetry you write and the photographs you take all seem to have a dreamy, otherworldly feel about them. Do you find that the tone of the music inspires your art, or the opposite, in that through creating the art, you are drawn to similar music?
You asked me if this question makes sense: it totally does, and I think it’s a good observation of something I really hadn’t thought about until now. I would say it’s a combination of both. There’s nothing like the perfect song to lure the right words out of hiding. However, I think it’s usually the other way around; I share music because it fits in with what’s around it. As such, the music on my blog, although it includes many of my favourites, might not represent the entirety of my taste. I don’t listen to any one type of music in particular, or listen with the intention of being inspired to write. This morning I was jamming at the gym to Justin Bieber, and it was fantastic. Music is multifaceted awesome.
What advice would you give to your fifteen-year-old self? Did you imagine yourself to be in the place you are now at that age?
I think I was about fifteen when I bought my first camera with my own money: a 3.5-megapixel Canon Powershot. I remember because my mom got the 5-megapixel model but I could only afford the 3.5. I definitely had no idea photography would become so integral to my identity as a creative person, but I loved that tiny silver thing with all my heart.
As for advice, I would tell her to trust her instincts, and to not limit herself out of insecurity. I would also tell her to work harder in ballet class, but that’s a different story.