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Guest Editor — Anabela Piersol

Behind the scenes with photographer Chantal Anderson

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With a background in journalism, Chantal Anderson has a knack for telling a story. The self-professed sun worshipper headed south from her home in Seattle years ago and landed in Los Angeles. Her career began taking photos all over the world for the BBC and other news outlets. Today Chantal’s client list includes such mega brands as Nike, Google, Need Supply, Urban Outfitters and Warner Bros. She’s also working on her first book. We have a thing for rad women doing cool things so we had to find out more.

 

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN PHOTOGRAPHY? I grew up in a small town on the Puget Sound outside of Seattle, Washington. My father is part Swedish and part Tlingit Haida, and when I was little he would be gone for months at a time fishing in the Bering Sea. My mother, sister and I would take photos and record VHS videos to send to him every couple weeks. In high school I had access to a darkroom, and became obsessed with experimenting with printing styles and tinkering with aesthetic. Today I still have a similar sentimentality with images, and in a way the documentation of my life for my dad continued into adulthood.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS? Everywhere I look. There are things like lipstick on a porcelain teacup in the morning, freckles on my lover’s cheekbones, sunlight through my dusty L.A. bedroom window. But I also am inspired by things I can’t see: outer space, music, the wind.

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Chantal Anderson in a rare moment in front of the camera.

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"In high school I had access to a darkroom and became obsessed with experimenting with printing styles and tinkering with aesthetic."

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CAPTURING A NARRATIVE IN ONE SHOT? Often times while I’m shooting my mantra is: “What story do I want to tell?” This helps me focus. But what I really love is to tell a story over a series of images, and mix portraits, still lifes and candid moments into one body of work.

WALK US THROUGH YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Wake up with the sunrise slowly, slip out of bed and start a pot of black tea. Sit out on the balcony barefoot, and flip through a road atlas on the ground while stretching. Load up a back pack with film, cameras, kombucha, roasted almonds, and a blood orange. End up at the ocean, climbing on rocks, searching for agates and sand dollars. Lay around wrapped up in a blanket with my boyfriend. Talk about our childhoods, black holes, and the best falafel in town. Shoot until the sun sets. Drink wine, build a fire. Fall sleep on the beach.

WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING BOOK? Last Spring I went through a breakup that opened up a world of positive, yet difficult, self-examination and evolution. During the summer I was working in LA, avoiding my old haunts and sleeping poorly. One night I loaded up my car with camping gear and drove up the coast and east to the Rocky mountains. I wanted to prove to myself that looking up at a starry sky alone was just as great as being in the arms of someone. What I experienced during the following 30 days on the road is documented in this book – my  first exploration of being alone.

chantalanderson.com

 

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Seek Collective on transparency and empowerment
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Anabela Piersol Of Fieldguided Created An Exclusive Wallpaper
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Guest Editor — Anabela Piersol