Curiosity Is the Engine to Andy Anderson's Creativity
“Along with being a photographer comes a responsibility to use this powerful tool to tell stories about the joy of discovery that this curiosity offers.”
Andy Anderson isn’t just good at photography, he’s also obsessed with it. Take the above images of Dangerous Jobs for AARP. Andy made sure they were telling the exact story he wanted to portray, and he didn’t stop until he got it right. We wanted to know where his life-long love affair with curiosity came from and how he uses it today. Here is what he had to say about his background, values, and collaboration.
I believe that to be really good at photography, you have to be obsessed with it. Fueling this obsession is a life-long love affair with curiosity — it is the engine to my creativity. And collaboration is the fuel that brings it all to life.
My time in the military and that of my Dad’s taught me about discipline and gave me a second sense for problem-solving while working with a team. As I am always seeking this sense of honesty and integrity when making images, I love how storytelling develops from finding this truth.
Whether it’s a torero in Pamplona, an Idaho cowboy, or a fisherman in Maine, I am dedicated to honestly recording these voices, directly and sincerely. To be in pursuit of this means finding inspiration by life outside of photography — I love to read and watch a lot of documentaries and travel to places instant and distant. By committing to this process, the images I create, communicate the truth that I see.
Exploring the human condition is a journey, and it’s this desire to learn more that makes me dream of trips to far away places- Siberia, Mongolia, and Antarctica are high on my list.
To me, landscapes are rugged, mysterious and all the time magical, so it is no wonder that iconic landscapes are a recurring theme in my work.
I document the pastoral in its most real form and feel more akin to landscape painters like Russell Chatham and Alfred Bierstadt than other photographers. Commitment to the outdoors is more than a passion for me, it is what moves me forward, gets me out of bed each day, and keeps me awake at night.
As far as the current moment, I love that photography has become more accessible, more democratic. I enjoy being challenged by projects where I am required to push the craft; to move quickly, to capture the unposed, the unrehearsed, the vulnerable, moments that connect us all, totally spontaneous and serendipitous.
As I continue to explore the moving image, I’d love to do a documentary and humanize the plight of public land in America. I’m intrigued by more socially minded projects and how to showcase the American point of view in a new way. I don’t want to demoralize that and make it feel less than it visually is, because almost in an obsessive way, I’m trying to capture everything before it’s all gone.
Shooting the Siberian Railway and photographing the people and places there between nine time zones would be a dream. Because along with being a photographer comes a responsibility to use this powerful tool to tell stories about the joy of discovery that this curiosity offers. And on a perfect day, I’m making images of things that the world wants to know more about.
Follow Andy on Instagram for more imagery from a photographer living a life committed to the outdoors.