Editor’s note: She’s an ultra-engaged, frequently booked photographer who also writes, blogs, explores and approaches each new project with her creative POV. Sustainability and urban food systems are of particular interest to Berkeley-based Simone Anne. She recently field tested our new Urban Photo Sling (and is the featured photographer in our campaign!) and has these impressions to share on her work, her gear and how she finds inspiration.
How did you decide to pair your interest in urban food systems with blogging and photography?
I’ve always just shot what inspires me and frankly, for this girl, food is where it’s at. I love to eat, of course, but even more than that I love learning about the social and civil aspects of food production and consumption. Food plays such a huge role in our communities, our health, and our daily lives and I know that for me what I eat in a day makes such a difference in how I feel.
I started blogging back in 2009 because it felt silly to shoot but never share my images. I even had a mini crisis where I thought that if I wasn’t shooting for somebody to see the images, it wasn’t worth shooting! Yikes. Luckily I’ve grown past that and now I shoot for fun all the time; my favorite way to end the day is a simple sunset photo walk on the streets where I live.
As my life and academic interests have become more and more entrenched in our food system, it has been only natural for my blog to grow to reflect that. As an added bonus, blogging about subjects I love means that readers and people I work with often share my inspirations. I could have never anticipated how far blogging would take me and how many fabulous people I would be able to reach, but I am so thankful for all of the opportunities it has brought me.
What type of gear helps you gather the content you need?
I keep it simple and shoot with a 5dMarkII and 50mm for most of my work. I’m also a fan of the 35mm, but for most assignments I don’t carry around more than that. Sometimes I think that as photographers we get caught up in our gear and forget that you can take fab photos with just about anything; I know I’m certainly a culprit! A simple set-up helps remind me to get back to the basics and remember that it’s color, composition and, above all, light that really make a photo great.
Most unusual item you keep in your camera bag?
I’m partial to my Golden Half Camera, which is a small 35mm toy camera that shoots half of a frame at a time. I love having it on me for when I can’t be super engaged with shooting but still want to document the adventures I’m on and the people I love hanging out with. It’s always easy for me to get caught up in shooting and while I know this has helped a lot with my career as a photographer, it’s not always the perfect headset to be in when you’re just hanging out with friends. This camera strikes the happy medium—it keeps me happy with a camera that’s easy to handle and my friends love having me more engaged with the fun at hand.
What do you like about the Urban Photo Sling?
It really is the best of both worlds for me! I love that I can easily and safely store my gear when I’m on the go (even when I’m riding my bike or on crowded public transportation!), but I don’t miss shots fumbling for gear when I do need it. With the Urban Photo Sling, everything I use to shoot is always at my fingertips! It makes both a great transportation bag and a great shooting bag and for a photographer whose job always means shooting on the go, it feels like the bag designers at Lowepro were making just for me.
What current project is inspiring you?
Friends are always asking me for good spots to adventure in and around my hometown (I rep the Bay Area!), so I’m putting together a guide just for that. I’ve always been frustrated with the lack of real lifestyle photos in most guidebooks and have always wished that I could just have a local show me around instead. You can see a lot of my favorite spots on my blog, but when it’s finished this guide is going to be a really fab resource for expeditions in my hometown—I hope that instead of seeming like tourists, readers will feel just like locals who hang out in the hippest places in town.
You can view Simone’s web site, read about her culinary, travel, and musical adventures on her blog or by following her Facebook page. If you’re feeling hipster, she’s also on Instagram and can be found sharing little square images under the handle @simone_anne