Renowned Photographer Anne Geddes Talks Combining Art and Philanthropy
Anne Geddes is a renowned photographer known for her images that capture the purity of babies, reflecting her deeply held belief that each and every child must be “protected, nurtured and loved.” She has just partnered with us, and was nice enough to share some inspiration, as well as how she manages to give back through art.
When did your passion for photography begin?
I became a photographer in my mid 20’s, which I guess is relatively late, but I had always been fascinated by the power of a single still image, and I feel the same even to this day. For the first 10 years of my career I did portraiture exclusively and those years to me proved to be invaluable, as by trial and error, I gradually learned how differently children react at various ages. And I also grew to especially love photographing infants, because of everything they represent to me … the beauty and promise of new life of course, but also our eternal chance at new beginnings.
Babies have been the main focus of your career, what is it about this subject matter that continues to inspire you?
A newborn baby always sends an incredible positive message. You’ll find that whenever we look at a newborn, we are invariably smiling. They are us at the very beginning of our lives, when everything seems possible. The moment your child is born, you automatically want to be a better person, and the world to be a better and safer place! I guess it doesn’t get much better than that.
What else do you like to photograph? What do you shoot that personally inspires you?
A lot of my inspiration comes from Nature, and I have been photographing elements of nature for many years. In 2010 my book “Beginnings” specifically dealt with elements of nature that bring forth new life. For example, buds, seeds, cocoons, little bird’s nests and bird’s eggs. One of my favorite sayings is that Mother Nature never gets her colors wrong. There are so many magical aspects to nature and we should not ignore the warning signs of global warming.
Do you have a favorite image of yours?
I get asked this question a lot, and it’s difficult to name just one single image as my favorite. Probably the image that has been most memorable for many people is of a tiny premature baby called Maneesha, cradled in the large hands of an elderly gentleman called Jack. This image was done in 1993 in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Auckland, New Zealand. At the time, Maneesha weighed just 2.2lbs. I’m an Ambassador for March of Dimes, who fund research in to discovering the reasons why one in nine pregnancies in the US results in a preterm birth. So many people have relayed their own personal stories of premature birth and said that image meant so much to them in the sense that it gave them hope that if Maneesha survived (she’s now a healthy 23-year-old) then their baby may too.
You’re also a business woman, what Anne Geddes products are you currently the most excited about?
My new coffee table book “Small World” (Taschen) has just been released, so I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year going through my archives from the past 30 years. The book is a retrospective which also contains images that have never been published before.
And I’ve also just released a gorgeous range of 10 nursery paint colors. This new paint is the safest in the world and in developing the range we looked in to the psychology of color and how the nursery environment has a huge influence on your new baby’s development. The best nurseries should be designed with babies in mind, using colors that nurture and support the baby who will sleep there.
Which of the new Anne Geddes CARD.com card is your favorite?
I especially love the whole Zodiac series, so I guess my favorite would have to be my own star sign — Virgo!
A percentage of the proceeds from the new cards goes to charities of your choice. How did you decide which charities to support?
Proceeds will go to the Geddes Philanthropic Trust, which my husband Kel and I created when my very first calendar was published back in the early 90’s. Over many years, the Trust has been dedicated to raising awareness of child abuse and neglect, a subject very close to my heart and which I have spoken about many times. In more recent years, we have expanded the Trust’s charter to include other avenues for helping children — in line with my mantra Protect, Nurture, Love. I’ve been fortunate over the past few years to do more important cause related work through my imagery, such as my involvement as Ambassador for March of Dimes, and I am a Global Advocate for the UN Foundation’s Every Woman Every Child initiative, which aims to make vaccines available to children in developing countries. I am also very involved with raising awareness of meningococcal disease.