Atlanta brings out the creatives, and local photographer Hannah Foster of Hannah Foster Photo is here to hone in on that. After spending some time in Austin, TX, Hannah has created her own style, delving deep into the landscape of Atlanta for inspiration.
Interview by KT Lipsiner
SGC: Who are you and what do you do?
Hannah: I’m Hannah of Hannah Foster Photo. I was raised in Savannah, GA, but moved to Atlanta last year after spending a bit of time in Austin, TX. I adult at the Centers for Disease Control but spend golden hours photographing creatures of all kinds.
SGC: How would you describe your photography style?
Hannah: I mostly leave that up to the subjects themselves. Right now I’m mostly photographing friends or family, which makes it easy to know the kind of portrait style I’ll capture going into it, because I think it’s important to keep the photos true to the person. It’s really about the human (or pet!) and the energy and vibes they emit, which are enhanced by the setting we choose -- typically in nature or their home.
One of my favorite shots is of a front yard in Austin that was casually occupied by a few chickens. I like to think my photographs show an appreciation for the quirky “normalcy” of life.
SGC: What is your favorite thing about shooting on film?
Hannah: I have a love/hate relationship with film photography. Film feels so precious. The cost of a roll plus development is pricey, and time is crucial during the shoot, which leads me to my favorite thing: you’re not taking 100 photos for every one winning shot -- you’re waiting for it to come up organically. That’s what comes from slowing down and having a genuine interaction with and understanding of what you’re capturing. I’ve always been shy and introverted, but having the camera there is like a safety net in the socially-demanding role of a photographer.
SGC: What is your photography process like?
Hannah: I keep a list, making sure to jot down ideas when I think of them when wandering around the city. We’re so lucky -- Atlanta is vibrant. I like to feature cool textures and colors in the backgrounds of portraits, and these are easy to find -- you don’t need a huge manicured park. After that’s decided, there is a lot of spontaneity during the actual shoot.
SGC: How has the Atlanta photography scene shaped your photography perspective?
Hannah: I’m still orienting myself, but have found it pretty effortless to partners through Instagram and the internet in general. That’s how I found Sad Girl Collective! I really appreciate how easy it is to make connections that actually result in in-person meet-ups. I’m also starting to assist on larger productions to get a feel for the professional scene. (It was luck and fate that my landlord happened to be an amazing professional photographer with roots here).
SGC: Who are your greatest film photography inspirations?
Hannah: I actually don’t discriminate against digital at all when it comes to inspiration. Some of my favorite artists right now are @markdelmars (of Atlanta!) and @brittaslug. Both feature soft, warm lighting and what I guess I would call “half-modeling”, where the subject appears very naturally posed. I also really admire Jordana Dale (@jordanadale), a local Atlanta film photographer.
SGC: Where do you find yourself focusing your energy in 2019?
Hannah: 2018 ended with my first film camera (an old vintage hand-me-down) dying. I made the decision to upgrade to digital soon after replacing that one, and it has really sped up my process. I’m working on a mixed-method of shoots using digital to supplement, because while my first love is film, it can be touchy. I’ve also recently started ramping up couple’s sessions. I’m really loving it, especially without the anxiety of worrying about the sole shots being on film and getting lost or damaged (which happens too often).