Last Friday I had the opportunity to photograph Venice-based poet, and 2011 NEA-award-winner, Anna Journey in Topanga State Park. I met Anna when I photographed her husband, David St. John – also a poet, and a professor of English at the University of Southern California – for Poets & Writers Magazine last year.
Anna and David are a lovely couple whose Venice, California, home is full of books and has a bohemian/intellectual vibe that made me feel smarter as soon as I walked through the door. A red Olivetti typewriter and a cool jazz mix made me want to kick off my shoes and curl up with some coffee and Proust in their living room. [Side note: In an admittedly odd trait for a photographer, I tend to put writers on a pedestal. A love of literature, and the stubborn and naive belief that truth is found in books, leads me to be a bit insecure in the presence of published authors.] So when Anna wrote asking if I’d be willing to shoot some photos of her for her website, something with a touch of the gothic fable, and incorporating some vintage fox stoles, of course I said (hell) yes.
Together with makeup artist Aileen Hernandez, and several patient photo assistants, we braved bugs, deer, and possibly a Tufted Titmouse or two (I just like writing “Tufted Titmouse”), to shoot a portfolio of images. Her second book of poems, “Vulgar Remedies,” will be out this August from Louisiana State University Press, and she’s developing a website whose launch will roughly coincide with the book’s release. You can find her first book of poetry, “If Birds Gather Your Hair For Nesting,” on Amazon. David St. John’s most recent book of poetry is “The Auroras: New Poems.”