Zeum Issue 9 | An Interview with Anya Holdstock

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Photographer Anya Holdstock, is truly exceptional in her craft, and in our Issue 9 “Meet the Photographers” feature it’s easy to see why her introspective and finespun work makes her such a standout in her field. In our talk with Anya we discussed her stylistic preferences, how she handles working so often with fresh faces, and what’s next!
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Your recent portraits of bare faced beauties is a sight we adore. Can you tell us about this project and the concept behind it? It came about very naturally. I work with a lot of modeling agencies and the girls come in for tests with no makeup on. I would always take some images before their hair and makeup was done, as I love that simple and pure state. I ended up with quite a few images and it felt great to put them together and see them published.

Have you found there is a lot of pressure to change your stance or your style? With that, how important do you feel it is for people to do what they love? No, I don’t feel pressured, but perhaps I am lucky? I think it’s great to have your own style, but it’s best to let it develop naturally.
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Analogue photography has begun to spark up again amongst today’s budding photographers. As you primarily shoot film we’d love to hear your opinion on film and digital. I love the depth and the sharpness of the film images, they hardly need any editing. Working with film makes you think about the subject and take your time before taking a picture, it’s different to firing off a hundred shots on a digital camera.
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How do you create a comfortable environment working with fresh faces? I think it really helps that I’m a girl, that I’m quite young and that I used to model. My studio has got a relaxed environment and I make sure models don’t feel isolated from the rest of the team. The most natural poses seem to happen when the girls are waiting around and think that I’m not looking.
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Is there a message or a feeling you try to translate through your work? Ideally I like to achieve calmness, a moment of stillness and natural beauty. I hope that people get that from my photography. Shooting mostly with natural light, do you find that there is high demand for studio lighting as opposed to natural? Is this a burden on getting work? Studios are commercially viable, so I’ve worked hard on my studio lighting techniques to recreate natural light. Having said that, I love working with natural light and try to shoot outdoors as much as I can. Rain or shine, freezing cold or boiling hot, with good planning
it always works out in the end.
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Most memorable shoot? It’s always the same one that comes to mind… an editorial with the stunning Zlata Mangafic that we shot on a private island outside off the south coast of England. It was freezing cold but the light was amazing. What’s next for you? I’ve been developing an idea for a coffee table book and exhibition over the past months. I’ve had great feedback and it looks like it’s finally going to happen.