Today we’re launching a new series, Inspired By, here on GMG. It’s one that I’ve been very excited to share with you. Nothing fuels my fire more than discovering someone who is not only talented, but also marches to the beat of their own drum. I’ve always been inspired by people who are doing unique things and the confidence that comes with owning who they are, regardless if it’s completely different than myself. The wonderful thing about the internet and social media is the connection it brings through this discovery. I love finding new people to follow, which is what lead me to want to create this series, Inspired By. My hope is that this will be a way for you to discover the creatives that continue to wow and inspire me, and keep that momentum of positivity and encouragement going.
When we thought up the idea for the series, the first person that came to mind was Jamie Beck. Jamie is a photographer extraordinaire that’s extremely versatile in her craft – her images feel more like art than photos. If I could describe her work in one word, it would be emotional. I also admire Jamie because she is doing something that I think every person, especially creatives, wishes they could do. Last year, she decided to leave the hustle and bustle of New York City life to move to Provence to slow down and focus on herself and her craft. It has worked wonders for her creativity. Some days she doesn’t even need to leave her house to create masterpieces. Jamie is an Instagram expert (@annstreetstudio) – not only do the final images reflect the precision she dedicates to them, but she’s also masterful with her use of Instagram Stories. Some days she’ll make a moody short film and other days she will take you behind the scenes of how she captures her imagery, something especially entertaining for other photographers to watch. I believe, she can do anything that she sets her mind to, so I’m honored that she took the time to be our first guest on this new series. We hope you enjoy!
How did you decide on the name Ann Street Studio?
When my partner and I started our creative studio, our first space was in lower Manhattan on a tiny little street called Ann Street. We thought it would be a nice way to always remember where we started. Of course, we had no idea that many years ago I would end up living in the South of France which is part of what makes life exciting, the never-ending evolution of change and discovery. Since, we have shifted our entire business structure and creative focus. I’m actually considering changing my public profiles to just my name as I look forward to new, more personal creative goals.
After going to school for photography, did you have an idea of the type of work you wanted to focus on?
I always wanted to work in fashion. I was always interested in the commercial aspect of imaging. I think shooting for other people, shooting products for other people, was an easier aspiration than trying to figure out what I had to say toward life. I needed to live and learn and travel and try things for years after college to get where I am at now, where I do feel like I have something to say about our human experience.
How have your career goals changed over time?
I am someone who gets bored with repetition. I am always growing and evolving and it’s very important for me to set new goals each year. I love challenges, I love having to figure something new out. When I first started I was very focused on fashion and commercial photography and as I wanted something different in my day to day life, so I did in my work as well, which comes with redefining a whole new set of goals.
Take us back 5 years – what were you doing?
Working like a crazy person! My creative partner and I had just invented Cinemagraphs, a living photograph, a year earlier which completely changed our lives and careers. We had all this amazing global press, inquiries, new clients, new opportunities, new management, and if we were awake we were working building Ann Street Studio. It was a really exciting time. I was seeing all my dreams come true! But it was also too much to sustain, too much focus on money, making clients happy at the sacrifice to of our own physical and mental heath. I remember, for two years I never once cooked at home, which is insane to me now living in France, as I cook almost every single meal and it brings me so much joy. I think being disconnected for so long from basic human life is part of what led me to Provence. I wanted to be grounded again.
Did you ever imagine yourself to be where you are right now?
I was actually on a flight from Europe to the states and I had a panic attack (I thought there was going to be a terrorist attack on my flight) and the first thought that popped in my head was, “great, now you’ll never know what it’s like to live in France.” and I realized, if that is what I thought, I should probably go and do that. I made a promise to myself if I didn’t die I would move to France and a month later I had my visa. I had always imagined myself in Paris but I knew Paris would just be another version of my life in New York. Similar people, similar work, similar parties… I was searching for another purpose in life, a new experience, and there was something about this area of Provence that captivated me on previous visits, a weird feeling of belonging I couldn’t shake, so I just went with it. So no, I didn’t imagine myself living in a tiny town in the South of France but now, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
So you left Manhattan to move to Provence for a year. How did you settle on Provence of all locations in the world?
I had visited this specific region of Provence a couple times before on client trips and something about it just haunts you with her patina of natural beauty. I wanted to quiet all the noise of Manhattan and escape to these memories of Provence’s simple life with a dream of being free to just create art with my camera.
What’s next for you? A new city? Back to Manhattan?
Originally I thought I would spend a year in Provence and then move to L.A. as so many of my fellow New Yorkers have done, but the problem with that is, I fell in love with Provence and have no intention on leaving anytime soon. I feel as if my soul is here. I will spend the better part of this year working on a book proposal of my life and photographic work in Provence and exploring more of France’s countryside which I’ll share through my lens, as always, on instagram and the blog. I will be designing my first Provence linen dress this summer for a local brand as a special capsule handmade by artisans in the region which I am excited to experience the process of! I also have an amazing private commission to create photographic mural like wallpaper for a client I’m eager to work on.
Fun fact we may not know about you?
I make pizza at home every Monday for dinner!
We started this series to meet and share more about the people who inspire us, so we’d love to discover the same from you. Who or what inspires you?
I always find myself inspired watching Katie Rogers, Paper Fashion, on her instagram stories! Otherwise my inspiration comes from visiting art museums, artist studios, or looking through my collection of art books. Right now I’m really inspired by European paintings from the late 1800s, or still lives by Rachel Ruysch. One of the most inspiring experiences I have ever had in my life was staying at Chateau de Gudanes run by this magical woman, Karina Waters whose approach to life is what dreams are made of! She is so inspiring and what she has created, or saved, at the Chateau is pure magic.