“When I first started, I said I wanted to be the most successful portrait photographer in Auckland,” she said. “Then I said I wanted to be the most well-known in New Zealand and then, Australia ― and the rest is history.”
Anne’s work has been published in over 84 countries and translated to 24 languages, with over 19 million books and 13 million calendars sold. A multiple New York Times bestselling author, Anne’s photography has been treasured and enjoyed by many generations. Anne has also been inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame.
We started a project called Baby Look at You Now on Instagram and Facebook. We posted a photo of the cabbage twins as they are today. We got these two chubby little babies in cabbages and these twins as they are in their 20s dressed in tuxedos at their brother’s wedding. If anyone has been photographed by me and wants to be a part of it they should contact: Babylookatyournow@gmail.com.
When Geddes first started taking pictures, she was 25 years old and living in Hong Kong with her husband, who had taken a job in television. She started off by photographing families in their own environments, but felt that setup didn’t allow her to find her own style. Then something clicked when, a few years later in the 1980s, Geddes saw an ad for a studio photographer in Melbourne.
Is Anne Geddes implying she is the most successful portrait photographer in the world? I, for one, would not object to this statement.
In short, Anne Geddes is very serious about her work. Born in 1956, she grew up a self-described country kid on a cattle ranch in North Queensland. Although she felt creative from a young age, Geddes didn’t pick up a camera for the first time until she was in her 20s. Her inspiration wasn’t quite fine art, it was photojournalism à la Life Magazine. “I was mesmerized by images of people, the way they could tell stories, a moment in time frozen forever,” she said with warmth and wholehearted candor. “It still fascinates me to this day. The power of a single image to change lives is incredible.”
I try my hardest to hold onto my long-held convictions ― namely that a photographer whose primary output is greeting cards is not working in the same sphere as one whose work hangs on the walls of painstakingly curated gallery spaces. And yet, as someone consistently drawn to powerful images that exist outside the mainstream art institution, a part of me is wooed.
A lot of the images that I see on Instagram are so vacuous. There are some great Instagram feeds and I do my own Instagram and try to make it significant and interesting and personal. I think it’s more important in this day and age for professional photographers to create classic images that last for generations, and to create an image that makes somebody stop and just get goosebumps and look at it and think ‘oh my gosh!’.
4/2/18 – Celebrate life and love this Mother’s Day with a beautiful piece from the ‘Protect Nurture Love’ collection. Available now at Kay Jewelers.
And the more Geddes speaks, the clearer it is just how passionate she is about photos, and babies and, mostly, photos of babies. “How wonderful is it going to be for this child to see in such wonderful detail their newborn selves, at the very beginning of their lives?” Geddes muses. “I’ve photographed thousands of babies over my 30-year career and I’ve never lost that fascination and awe at the sight of a newborn. At the very beginning of our lives, there is so much potential, so much purity. All these words sounds so trite but it’s very true.”
3/20/18 – Anne is proud to have been awarded a Der Steiger Award in Germany last week.
Sometimes I feel like saying put the camera down and be in that moment. I sympathise with parents these days because it must be challenging in terms of allowing children access to social media and video games and things like that. But I see little children in strollers being pushed down the street and looking at a screen and playing a game or a TV in the back of cars. How are these children going to develop imaginations? You can’t have a still mind and be creative when you’re bombarded with distractions. It’s going to be interesting to see how that sort of world develops. Children need time to sit quietly and learn to be comfortable with themselves.
11/20/17 – On Friday Anne was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame. Anne joined the ranks of some truly iconic artists who were recognized for their unique styles that have broken the norms of the industry. Anne’s family and team couldn’t be more proud.
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Like Lisa Frank and Thomas Kinkade, Geddes’ imagery formed the desktop wallpaper to my childhood. I grew to know and love it almost without my consent, like a mediocre song on the radio that keeps playing over and over and over again, until you start to crave it like a warm, fuzzy blanket. More babies, more babies, I would find myself thinking, laughing too hard when it came time to switch the family calendar from March to April. A baby as butterfly! Inspired choice.
Needless to say, Anne Geddes has been a very serious part of my life as a very serious arbiter of taste. You might even say, had I not written about her work a decade ago, I may never have found myself writing about art professionally. And yet it was only recently that the idea popped into my head that I could actually speak to the woman who, for all these years, had enchanted me with candied visions of babies in every fruit and vegetable variety known to mankind.
More about: | Anne Geddes | Photography | baby | parenting | Children
There’s an image that I shot in 1993 of a premature in baby black and white in some very big hands. She weighed 2.2lbs in that image. In the US one in nine babies are born prematurely. So many parents have approached me to say ‘I had a premature baby and I had that baby on my fridge door or on my child’s crib and I’d stare at it and think ‘if she can survive and there’s hope for my baby’.’ She’s now 23. We stayed in touch with her over the years and she’s now a photographer and artist. I like to think I had something to do with that.
Geddes is the ultimate antidote to art world snobbery. Your life may not be changed by a schmaltzy image of a baby propped up in a sunflower pot, or slumped atop a giant egg, but you’ll probably crack a smile. It’s bizarre yet oddly inspiring to know that, despite being one of the most commercially successful photographers in the game, Geddes has followed her own vision every single step of the way.
This is a story about an artist who changed my life, who inspired me, albeit in a roundabout way, to embark upon the first piece of art writing I’d ever created. I was ashamed to say it then, but 10 years later, I’m ready. I love Anne Geddes and all her weirdly dressed babies. I love them. I love them. Oh my god, they’re so cute and weird, I love them so much.
Often it’s simplicity that’s very hard to achieve. That’s what I always strive for: to keep it simple. You can have the most beautiful props and everything is prepared but it doesn’t come alive until the baby is in the image. It’s really important to have a sense of being in touch with the child’s humanity and I think a lot of people miss that in my work. Nothing has changed since I first picked up a camera and the way I feel about what constitutes a beautiful image. It needs to be honest.
I got waitlisted at some very prestigious universities as a result.
9/1/17 – Anne Geddes Nursery Room Paint is now available at Mothercare!
11/3/17 – If you missed the launch of Anne’s new jewelry line on HSN last month, you can now catch the premerie on YouTube.
10/18/17 – ‘Protect Nurture Love’, Anne’s beautiful new jewelry range is out now! Available exclusively on HSN.
A photo posted by NANDI (@breakingcombs) on Feb 14, 2016 at 7:48am PST
Her work may seem commercial AF, but this artist has always followed her one true passion. (Babies.)
12/6/17 – ‘Protect Nurture Love’, the new jewelry range by Anne Geddes is now available at Kay Jewelers.
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Who is Anne Geddes? Is she self-aware? Sincere? Does she consider herself a fine artist? Is she in fact a bunch of babies stacked atop each other in a large trench coat, like that scene in “The Little Rascals”?
You probably know the name Anne Geddes. If you Google “famous photographers,” she pops up in suggested names, sandwiched right between Andy Warhol and Weegee.
Geddes, in her own photography, aims to capture the essence of each specific child at that specific moment. “If you’re bringing your 2-year-old, you’re going to look at that image in 20 years and you’ll remember what they looked like when they were 2.” Like a butterfly, I guess, or a vintage can of tomatoes.
9/27/17 – October desktop wallpapers are now available for download.
11/29/17 – Our December wallpaper is now available for download!
On how parents should try to capture their children in photographs
It can be hilarious depending on the age of the child. Now I’m photographing newborns and six-month-olds. Newborns are always sleeping and children who are six to seven months old just sit confidently and can’t crawl. So I’ve narrowed down the target area, but it’s very challenging to specialise in children of all ages and there are some very funny moments. It can be exhausting. There’s nothing you can do with a two year old that’s having a bad day. You have to be a psychologist when photographing little children. Over the years I have learned to deal with kids of any ages. There’s a vast difference between a nine-month-old and 12-month-old and an 18-month-old. You have to be quick on your feet. Children of course have no respect for the fact that you’re a photographer.
2/28/18 – Our March wallpaper is available now for download!
As a studio photographer, Geddes began with straight-up baby portraits, no frills. And then a greeting card company approached her to make a line, so she began delving into more experimental sets and costumes. “Once you start doing greeting cards, of course, you have to do seasonal images,” she said. And then came the calendars, and thus, more costumes. The more festive the threads, it seemed, the more attention Geddes’ work received.
7/6/18 – Just in time for summer, Kidzstuff clothing will protect your baby from the sun, heat and insects. Have a look at the range here.
In her three-decade-long-career, the Australian photographer who is based in New York has made – a very adorable – stamp on the world of photography by capturing the images of hundreds of children.
I hung up with Anne Geddes in something of a daze. She had given not a single knowing wink, not even the subtlest of hints that some part of her baby-tastic career was just the teensiest bit silly. Instead I got lines like, “Babies transform lives, they transform families, they bring so much hope.” And you know what? They do!
8/25/17 – The largest retrospective of Anne’s work has been compiled into a beautiful coffee table book by Taschen. Out now!
Now available for professional enquiries, special projects and private portraiture.
Growing up, the possibility that Geddes could one day become a professional photographer never occurred to her. Raised in the 1950s and ‘60s, before photography was an established part of everyday life, Geddes recalls only seeing two or three pictures of herself as a kid. “I grew up in an era where once a year we were taken to the photographic studio in our Sunday best,” she said. “I look at them now and I can’t get across a sense of who I was as a child.”
10/26/17 – Our November desktop wallpaper is available for download now.
One of the world’s most respected photographers, Anne creates images that are iconic, award winning and beloved. Like no photographer before her, her imagery singularly captures the beauty, purity and vulnerability of children embodying her deeply held belief that each and every child must be “protected, nurtured and loved”.
Anne Geddes, The Photographer Who Put Babies In Flower Pots, Is Still Making Art
In case you were curious, Geddes is still taking photos of babies today. In her most recent series, she transforms babies into symbols of the zodiac ― a baby lion for Leo, a cocoon of twin butterflies for Gemini. She’s also working on a series called “Baby Look at You Now,” where she juxtaposes ‘90s baby photos with pictures of her subjects all grown up. If you posed for Anne Geddes at any point in your life, you’re welcome to submit.
When I professed my teenage love for Anne Geddes, I did so under a veil of sarcasm. I was young and insecure ― paralyzed by the prospect of writing about something I genuinely loved and respected and too wobbly in both my tastes and ability to defend them to even begin to think about a work of art that had shaped me.
Don’t have everything too cluttered – it’s about the essence of the child in my portraiture. Don’t dress them up in their Sunday best. If you have a two-year-old who doesn’t want to wear the same colour socks just let them be themselves to get a sense of their character. Childhood is very fleeting, so photograph them as often as you can.
1/27/18 – Our February wallpaper is available now for download!
12/23/17 – Our January wallpaper is available now for download!
Anne Geddes: Small World published by Taschen is out in March 2017
Australia Brazil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb Mexico Quebec United Kingdom United States
1/26/18 – We’re excited to announce that a brand new selection of jewelry in Anne’s ‘Protect Nuture Love’ range will be released on Tuesday 30 Jan!
9/22/17 – We’re thrilled to announce the release of a new line of prepaid Visa cards! Now you can carry you favorite Anne Geddes image with you everywhere.
Although I did all I could to evade the question posed by that pesky common application, and any significant mental breakdowns it may have induced, my response illuminated what I’ve now come to recognize as a deep appreciation of bad taste. Stripped of pretension and ambition, schemes and strategies, “bad” art often lays bare the insides of both artist and viewer. In the case of Anne Geddes, it also lays bare those adorable baby bodies.
From babies in flower pots or asleep and cradled in the hands of their parents, and sitting in cabbage leaves, the work of few photographers is as recognisable as Anne Geddes’.
I asked Geddes where she considers herself on the spectrum of fine art to commercial photography. Although her work has been the subject of an exhibition at Qatar Museums, it thrives, for the most part, on calendars sold for around $14.99. “I think [fine art and commercial photographer] are pretty much the same,” Geddes said, shattering my brain into a million baby heart-shaped pieces. “And I know a lot of people would dispute that. I know there is a lot of snobbery in the art world, but you can’t tell me that every fine artist doesn’t want to be successful.”
The Independent spoke to Geddes in the follow-up to the launch of her retrospective book: Anne Geddes: Small World which features some of her most famous and as well as never-before-seen images of babies.
If, for some reason, you do not know Anne Geddes’ name, you most certainly would recognize her work. She did those photos of babies dressed up as bunnies and cabbages and gingerbread men and other harder-to-distinguish objects. She did those adorable yet slightly unsettling visions of teeny newborns stuffed inside very large pockets and, once, chilling in a faux amniotic sac with Celine Dion. She made the calendar that hung on your kitchen wall in the late ‘90s and the birthday card you hoped would have $20 inside it, but didn’t.
This is the amazing thing about Anne Geddes. Those posed portraits in front of khaki-colored backdrops which I imagine most photographers would find dull and monotonous ― if not soul-sucking ― genuinely galvanize Geddes. Her chosen profession is more than just a gimmick or a way to pay the bills: It’s a lifelong passion. A dream come true.
I was born in 1956 and I lived on a cattle station in the far north of Australia, so I was very much in touch with nature. Pretty much all of the work that I’ve done is in some way connected to nature. I had plenty of time to be silent and to just be outside and think about things, and make up games and just sort of be in my own zone and enjoy my own company.
Anne also lives this message as a Global Advocate for children, working alongside the United Nation’s Foundation, the March of Dimes and campaigning for awareness of meningococcol disease.
4/24/18 – Today is World Meningitis Day – a chance to highlight the perils of bacterial meningitis, and the urgency in seeking medical care. As a global advocate for children I’m a proud Ambassador for raising awareness of this terrible disease. I’ve photographed survivors from around the world over the past few years and last month in London I photographed a large group of 24 mums (or moms for our USA friends) myself included, with the strong message that the first 24 hour period is critical once symptoms appear. There I am in the middle of the group, holding little 6 month old Ralph (such a cute name!). To learn more about bacterial meningitis and the symptoms to look out for, go to https://mumsvsmeningitis.tumblr.com.
Maybe not every, but certainly most. “Every fine artist wants to be commercial, and I’ve always found that a bit of a conundrum,” Geddes continued. “Most have an exhibition in a gallery, they sell some work, and then a book is published. I came at it from the other way. There was nobody going down the same road as me. I was just doing what I wanted to do creatively. Forging new paths.”
22 Adorable Kids And Babies With Afros That Will Make Your Day
Today there are too many distractions. People are constantly on their phones. What is so important that you can’t walk and look around you? When I do shoots in the studio with my crew I always say ‘no phones’. We have to concentrate on what we’re doing here and be in this moment. Nothing is so urgent that you have to check your phone every two minutes.
Keep the background simple, the lighting simple, and don’t use flash because it kills the atmosphere. If you’re outside the light in the early morning or late afternoon light is beautiful. And get down on their level because that’s how children see the world. And finally always try to include yourself in the image as often as you can. A lot of adults say ‘I’m the one taking picture or I don’t want be in photo because I don’t photograph well’. It’s going to be very important for your child when they are an adult to look back and see you when you were young. It will allow them to have opportunity to mock you for your hairstyle and clothing choices. I’m saying this from experience!
9/13/17 – Anne is thrilled to be speaking at this year’s M2Moms conference in New York on October 3&4!
I called a number. The phone rang. “This is Anne,” said a woman in an Australian accent. Anne Geddes is Australian? My first question: “Tell me about your childhood. Where are you from?” She responds, “Well, I’m Australian, obviously.” Right. Off to a good start.
How East London used to look before a tide of hipsters moved in
9/13/17 – Tune into Entertainment Tonight today to see an exclusive look at Anne’s recent shoot with Dancing With The Stars Peta and Maksim.
“There was very simple lighting, a very simple canvas backdrop,” Geddes said of the studio. “A pin dropped and I thought, that’s what I want to do. I want to dictate the environment and control the lighting.” Geddes volunteered to be the photographer’s unpaid assistant. “The moment I first walked into a photographic studio everything fell into place.”
I wrote my college admissions essay on an Anne Geddes photograph. The prompt was something along the lines of: “Write about a work of art that made a lasting impact on you.” I was 17 years old and most definitely not ready to answer that question. And so I made a joke. If you want to be in an Anne Geddes photograph, I thought, you have to sign up early. Like, before you are even born. And so, in my essay, I praised the ambitious babies of Geddes’ photos, their fearlessness and body positivity, and speculated on their commendable distance from the typical trappings of the modeling world ― sex, drugs and low self-esteem.
I think that’s fantastic that mothers are being honest on social media about parents. These days a lot of women, in this instance because women have to have the babies, it’s quite isolating. Families aren’t necessarily living in the same city or town like they used to generations ago. You don’t have someone like your mother there to come and take the baby and give you advice or say ‘don’t worry, it’s all good this is normal’.
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