Anne Forest is a French-born Londoner who specializes in concert photography.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Anne, thank you for answering my questions. First, what inspired you to become a photographer? Any particular story?
Anne Forest: My grandfather used to take a lot of pictures when I was a child, all of which I still treasure today. It made me realize the importance of images in life, because they are witnesses of time and treasured memories.
I don’t remember how I started to take pictures, but I still have the first camera that my dad bought me in December 1990. It’s a Nikon TW Zoom 35-70 film camera. It still works! I’ve been inspired by art and music, and my friends have encouraged me as well as the positive feedback I received from the artists I’ve photographed.
CM: What is your favorite subject to photograph?
AF: Anything related to music and music history. That said, it can be anything! Landscapes, people, animals, etc. It’s about capturing a moment, and everything that matters to me.
I like the unpredictability, the surprise of encountering someone or something that’s either funny, unusual, interesting, or inspiring. Music is my favourite subject though. I wish people got interested in the artists I photograph to discover the great music that they make.
CM: What makes a good photo?
AF: It’s the million-dollar question! I thought a lot about this over time, and realized that it’s not necessarily the ones that are technically perfect. It's more about personal choice.
For example, the picture on the cover of The Clash’s album “London Calling” by Pennie Smith is out of focus, it’s blurry, it’s bad from a technical point of view, but the moment Paul Simonon smashes his beloved bass needs to be captured in this way. It’s perfect for punk!
I also love all the photos of Jimi Hendrix, because there simply isn't a bad picture of him! It doesn't exist. The same thing can be said about Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali (to name a few). The camera loves them.
A good picture is whatever works well in a given situation. It’s also a matter of individual taste.
CM: What is the photo you prefer in your portfolio? Why?
AF: Oh, it’s a tricky question. It’s a creative process, and it’s like asking to name your favourite child, although I mean it in a humble way. It tends to change over time, as I keep taking new pictures.
But because a choice has to be made, I’m going to pick The Who, because it’s one of the first that I took in black and white with my film camera, and Pete Townshend actually said that he likes it! Therefore it’s not just my point of view.
CM: Any photographer you admire?
AF: The list is long! In no particular order of preference: Ross Halfin, Richard Bellia, Mehdi Benkler, Gérard Rancinan, Annie Leibovitz, Baron Wolman, Jim Marshall, Dominique Tarlé, Gered Mankowitz, Helmut Newton, Aton Corbijn, Terry O’Neill, Cecil Beaton, Philip Townsend, and all the pioneers of rock music photography from the 1960s onwards who I forget to mention!
CM: What piece of advice would you give photographers who are starting with online promotion?
AF: I consider myself new, so I don’t have enough experience to answer this question with certainty. Common sense and instinct guide my choices. Respond to the ones that are most interesting to you, and that are most relevant in the field that relates to your work. Start your own website, use social media to share your photos, approach people you admire. Then, see what happens!
CM: Anything else you would like to share?
AF: Thank you! Your questions were interesting to answer. I hope whoever reads your blog will be inspired to start taking pictures. Everyone’s got an interesting story to tell and images are often more powerful than words. Anne Forest is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Interested in being featured in an upcoming post? Feel free to contact me.