Andy Anderson believes to be really good at photography, you have to be obsessed with it. Encouraging this obsession is a life-long love affair with curiosity — the engine to his creativity. And collaboration is the fuel that brings it all to life. Andy enjoys being challenged by projects where he’s required to push his craft; to move quickly, capture the unrehearsed, the vulnerable, the moments that connect us all; totally spontaneous and serendipitous.
So when he was given the opportunity to collaborate on a project with Dr. Jane Goodall he welcomed it. He talks more about his experience with us and capturing those creatures who share Andy’s obsession with curiosity.
Who commissioned this project? And where did it appear?
As you know, I like to do pro bono work. It’s part of giving back and this project was something I could really sink my teeth into. I was approached by Ann Vorlicky, Senior Art Buyer at Slingshot/Austin, and she asked me if I would interested in working with Chimp Haven to help illustrate the beauty of these amazing animals. Of course I said yes.
What was your vision with the shoot?
I never really had any vision because I really did not know what was in store for me. That’s the beauty of some of these projects. So you just approach with an open mind and eyes wide open for those moments.
What one word would you use to describe Dr. Goodall?
At the end of last year, you did a series of Instagram posts inspired by the values that define you. You said, “For me photography is not what you have done, it’s what you are going to do, what you are going to find, what you are going to experience. And that is part of the curiosity.” How does this shoot fit into that ideal?
My photography career has provided me a life (thanks to you). It has been an amazing experience working on commercial projects, but commercial work can only fill so much of my creative desires so you have to look elsewhere and that can be done through either personal work or pro bono work. Photography is an extremely powerful tool and can do amazing things. As I said before, my life as an artist has been amazing and I want to give back to meaningful projects and causes and this was one of those projects. It was unforgettable.
After this shoot, you mentioned that Jane Goodall “lives by the beat of her own drum.” Why do you say that and why do you think that was important to her success? And, can you relate to this in your own career?
If you know anything about Jane Goodall you will know that she is fiercely independent and extremely passionate about the work she has done with primates. Jane led the way in chimp research and was pivotal in the findings of the projects she participated in. No other word than a true maverick. Sorry, Sarah Palin.
Tell us about the chimpanzees. What was it like to photograph them? How was it to witness Dr. Goodall interacting with them?
Spending time with the Chimpanzee’s was truly wonderful. I could actually spend hours just watching them. Jane mentioned that the difference in the DNA between humans and chimpanzees is only 1%.
Besides the person and primates in the images, was there anything else extraordinary about this shoot you would like to share?
The Louisiana heat is ridiculous and I grew up in the deep south.
What do you love most about these images?
I guess what I love most is that these are so much different from what I have shot in the past. I love new adventures and experiences and this was one of those.
Andy’s work has definitely inspired us to take on new adventures and live in the present. If you’re not already, follow him on Instagram. Where will your adventures take you next?