As a curious child, a trunk of old family photos and documents was known as the treasure chest. I dreamed over these precious images and documents often, wondering about the details of the people and the places I saw there, people of whom I knew, otherwise, very little. No one told the tales. Clearly, there was a lot of sadness in my family history, and in typical immigrant fashion, histories were disappeared. But, the photos were there. Why did no one else seem to care about them? The camera’s attention implied love, value, and importance. These images gave me a sense of kinship I had not previously known. They were, and are, my history.
My love of these pictures led me to fall under the spell of photography at a relatively young age. I recall being angered at the age of six when my older sister received a camera for Christmas, and I did not. My first camera would come two years later, and photographer would quickly become part of my public identity. I reveled in serving both as witness and story-teller, as I do to this day.
My work is filled with reflections of the things that impact my own narrative: my love of theater, travel, literature, history, psychology, horses, artisanship, and sense of place. My passion for diverse media and subjects lead me to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Department of Film and Television. Some of the intra-departmental politics bothered me, but it was the lack of opportunity to take a still photo class that lead me into the university’s design your own major program. In the years following graduation, I worked in the music business, performed Shakespeare, served as a victim advocate, got my master of social work, and taught therapeutic horsemanship. Through all of it, I photographed. At the turn of the millenium, I embraced photography as my career.
To my way of thinking, an image is not complete if it does not contain some kind of dichotomy: dark and beautiful, elegant and dirty, lonely and comforting, delicate and fearsome. I still refer to the first series of my own work that I loved from the very beginning as, “the worst best idea or the best worst idea I ever had.” Of course.
While my images are deeply grounded in photography, both film and digital, I employ other mediums on a project-by-project basis: digital darkroom and compositing, transfer, paint, drawing, collage, and assemblage. I am inspired by people I meet, objects I find, and environments in which I find myself. When I want to “write” a visual story, rather than witness it, I create more and more of my own costumes, props, and set pieces. Collaboration with other creatives and makers always catalyzes a new magic. I seek to hint at the multi-faceted nature and meaning of characters, settings, and even objects. I hope that such revelation leads the audience to questions, exploration, reflection, and meaning, conjuring same magic that a treasure chest cast for me years ago.
If you are interested in purchasing an image, have questions or feedback, would like to utilize a piece of my work, or have ideas on collaborating, please contact me. Thanks.
*Much of Annaliese’s history is under her previous name, Annaliese Moyer.