Anna-Liisa Nixon is a Hollywood based photographer, who grew up in such diverse places as Moscow, Japan and New York City. She describes herself as someone who loves finding beauty in the ordinary, humor in the chaos, and love in the heartache, and she's guiding our next 10 day crash course, Dead Funny, finding humour and composition among the chaos. We were keen to know more about this talented lady, so asked her a few questions.
What are your earliest memories of creating art/making photography?
I distinctly remember being in preschool and loving drawing and painting and wanting to be an artist when I grew up. I continued painting pretty much up until I started having kids and one day I’ll get back to it.
Why do you make documentary images?
I make documentary images because I don’t know how to pose people. Just kidding! (But not really.) I truly believe that real life is much more interesting than anything you can plan or set up. I also have a really awful memory and I know how quickly life can change. I love the idea of documentary images as a tangible time capsule of each little phase of life, something that can trigger memories and remind us of what certain times really felt like.
We all have different strengths in the art & business of photography - what is yours?
I’d say that my strength is in getting kids to feel comfortable and be themselves with me. I have a calm and unassuming presence and I tend to speak to kids of all ages like they’re my equal, if that makes sense.
Can you tell us about the crash course you are teaching with Rock Paper Scissors starting this month?
My crash course is called Dead Funny: Finding Humour Among the Chaos. Over the 10 days, you'll learn about different types of humor and comedic tools and really get thinking about what you find funny so you can see it more easily when you’re shooting families. It’s also about training your brain to think ahead and anticipate funny moments before they happen. Finally, it’s about composing images to clearly show the viewer what is funny. The point of the course is to make stronger and more consistent funny images that can help your ideal clients—the ones who share similar senses of humor and perspectives in life—connect with you.
If you could take any other course in the Rock Paper Scissors Programme, which one would you choose, and why?
I would take Ash & Lia's workshop “Earn Some Damn Money” because I am struggling to make my business work!
What surprises people about you?
I think people are surprised to learn that I’m very shy. I can come off as cold or aloof when first meeting people, but I’m actually just awkward and shy.
What makes you laugh and how do you make others laugh?
I laugh at silly things like Stepbrothers and Sacha Baron Cohen movies, I love a good pun, and I appreciate slightly twisted and dark humor. I make people laugh with my witty comments and deadpan delivery. Register for my course and you’ll find out more!
Any party tricks we should know about?
Hmmm. I think I can probably eat my full body weight in cake. Does that count?
What would be your dream super power and why?
Without a doubt, I would want the ability to become invisible. I love watching people. I find people fascinating. I think I probably like watching people more than I like talking to them. I like seeing how other people navigate the most mundane parts of life. We all brush our teeth. But maybe you do it slightly differently than I do. That’s interesting to me. Or maybe we do it exactly the same weird way. That’s also interesting to me. So I would want to be invisible so that I could spy on people!