Ann Newman (www.annstracts.com) is an emerging photographer who sees beauty in what might typically go unnoticed. Her style of photography is close-up and a bit out of context for a more intimate view. The blend between Ann’s name and “abstracts” occurred while collaborating with her best friend. As they discussed what she wanted to do with her photography, she realized her work wasn’t necessarily portraying reality on purpose. For Ann, her art is an opportunity for the viewer to see the truth in their own way. The definition of abstract art, at its simplest, is using forms, colors, and materials unusually to elicit thoughtfulness and emotion. If viewing her photography helps us see the beauty around us, no matter how ordinary, we practice acceptance. Slowing down, we develop a sense of discovery and openness. In turn, we are more tuned to offer others empathy and understanding. More importantly, we realize that life doesn’t have to be perfect for us to be happy. We only get this moment, this one moment right now. Being grateful for what is helps to anchor us to the present moment. That makes the ordinary genuinely extra-ordinary.
Ann’s photography journey started about five years ago. After a 30-year career in technology sales, she felt starved for more creativity. She explored travel writing and realized that a travel article needed photos to tell the visual story to be relevant. She bought a camera without a lot of knowledge and started signing up for online classes, instructional sessions at the local camera store, and photography workshops. After signing up for a photo critique group, the comments referred to her style as leaning towards textures, patterns, and abstracts. At the same time, she found herself feeling forced in trying to write travel articles. The spark didn’t fly with trying to fit into this space. Ann discovered that taking photos and then writing about what she felt and the symbolism of the image excited her. So while spending time and money in travel writing didn’t get her to that destination, the process opened up a more soul-satisfying path.
She realized that her interest in psychology, wellness, and self-awareness kept surfacing as she would write about her photos. While many people consume daily horoscopes or sports statistics, Ann reads about Myers-Briggs profiles, psychology topics, and Taoism. Coming through some significant life changes, which we all do, she found that understanding her motivations and emotions helped her grow through the awkward moments. She hopes to create art that connects us. In today’s environment of swiping, collecting likes, and measuring self-worth on followers, we desperately need a sense of authentic community. In 2019, Ann was honored with an image being short-listed for the “Close-Up Photographer of the Year” competition. In the same year, two of her images were selected by Shemer Art Gallery in Phoenix to symbolize the “Nature’s Kingdom” exhibition last October. In 2020, Sonoran Arts Gallery selected three photos for the juried show, “Abstract and Contemporary Art.” In October, two more images were selected by Shemer Art Gallery in Phoenix for “Nature’s Balance” exhibition October. In 2021, Ann was awarded “finalist” in a juried “One Colour Frame” challenge by CUPOTY: Close Up Photographer of the Year competition. The CUPOTY photo will also be published in an “Amateur Photographer” magazine article, “Life in Full Color,” in the February 2021 issue. Ann was just notified of acceptance into a juried art exhibition at the Herberger Theater Center for the “Evaporation Exhibit” starting on January 7, 2022.
“Through photography and writing, I isolate art from ordinary objects and scenes. This semi-abstract focus nudges the viewer to appreciate what is. Anchoring in the current moment is a healthy step to healing. Intimate details tell a symbolic story that connects us and supports a sense of community. Having the viewer engage in imagination restores optimism, generosity, self-esteem, and empathy.” –Ann Newman