It’s 2022 and the yeehaw agenda is alive and well. If you’ve been keeping up and admiring our latest southern swept campaign (with a lil Simple Life cherry on top) please tip your hats to photographer, Anna Ottum. We stole a moment with the former NYC - now Savannah, GA - based photographer on backyard teenage nostalgia, personal projects she’s finally working on post(ish) pandemic and of course, rodeo. Continue on to read more about our favorite city-girl in cowboy boots. You can also shop Anna's selects in her very own collection.
22 Questions with Anna Ottum
But really wish you were here tho: I just flew back from a job in Palm Springs yesterday, so I don’t mind hanging on this porch : )
I am a: Photographer.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? I think I answered “sushi” on a 3rd grade paper right after trying it for the first time and my answer hasn’t changed since. Yes, it’s a trick answer.
Fashion trend you’re crushing on rn? I basically wear a uniform of vintage t shirts and Levis every day (recently purchased a vintage smashing pumpkins t shirt from Friends THANK U) but I’m into this resurgence of matching sets and business chic - my childhood dreams of what a working woman looks like.
Most beloved home decor item [vase, tzotchke, lamp, print, coffee table book]] you own - any story behind this object? My dad’s side of the family are all Scandinavian and I have a Swedish glass catch all dish next to my bed that I love. I wear jewelry from family that have passed away and I keep those pieces in there at night. A lot of the art in our house was done by friends, so those are really special too : )
Who or what is an influential figure or major inspo in your work? Nostalgia has a big influence on the work I make. It drives a lot of the outside references that I pull inspiration from as well, sometimes without being conscious of it. My Mom’s portrait work from the 1970s also influenced me from a young age and I’m working on a personal project this year incorporating those photographs.
3 essentials you just cannot live without: 1. Perfume collection 2. Heavy sweaters 3. Flowers - corny but true.
Reading anything especially thrilling right now? Right now I’m reading Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which I love. I re-read Eve Babitz’s essays a lot.
Favorite Girl Group of all time: Based on the tapes I wore out growing up - En Vogue and Xscape. Honorable mention for front girl groups Garbage and Cocteau Twins.
Last instagram account you followed? Be honest: HONESTLY when I went to look up the most recent account I followed (yesterday) it was @analog_nft_lordz.
Stressed when: Things are left completely to chance.
Impressed when: there is kindness when there are other options that would be easier.
One piece of advice you would say to 12 year old Anna today: Haha woof. I think at that age I needed to hear - your worth isn’t dictated by others and everyone else is just as nervous as you are.
Most memorable shoot of all time?? Location? Models?! I’ve been so lucky to work with amazing talent and collaborators, but I think the first rodeo I was asked to shoot in 2018 was the most memorable. I had been shooting commercially in New York for 4 years and didn’t have much time for personal projects. That trip ended up feeling like personal work since the assignment was so open ended and it lead to an ongoing personal series on rodeo subcultures.
What drew you into photography? I took photos of my friends in high school and thought they were the most interesting people on earth. When I got to college I studied a lot of different mediums and after graduating I worked within different creative agencies in New York. I did all this while continuing to photograph my friends and putting that work on a personal site I created, not thinking many people would find it. Luckily, some photo editors found that work and encouraged a career.
How has photography impacted your personal content creation? My personal work and commissioned work are really interwoven because of the way I started my career. I only photographed for personal reasons and then was hired to shoot in that same style. The way I shoot now is the same way I used to photograph back in Oregon at 19 years old with my friends in their backyards. I really try not to overthink when I’m making personal work. Even with commercial work I try to remember to lean into the collaboration and not over control the process.
Tough question, but pick one - NYC or Savannah?? Ugh so sorry to my Savannah family but NYC. My intense nostalgia dictates that since I lived there such a long time, it still feels like home. Though a balance of both Savannah and NY has been perfect.
Describe a favorite moment in NYC. One of the most memorable was a friend slipping on a dead rat after a snowstorm and ice skating on it half way down the block.
What are some of your new year goals for 2022?? More prints! A book? To find a better balance of work and my personal life post pandemic. Though I think that’s a goal for most people - making some normalcy in their lives again.
Where can we find you on the internet and beyond?