Anita Anti is a self-taught portrait photographer originally from Ukraine but working in New York and a Broncolor Gen NEXT generation two winner. Having entered the Gen NEXT competition when her young career was just blossoming, Anti has gained an innumerable benefits from winning a prestigious Broncolor sponsorship. Resource got the chance to interview Anti about her experience as a young photographer and discuss the making of one of her favorite portraits.
Like many of the previous Broncolor Gen NEXT competition winners, Anti never thought she’d be a professional photographer, “My passion for photography started rather unexpectedly. I fell in love with it and started shooting the world around me, gaining all my knowledge and inspiration through social media and online photography communities… When I started doing photography, I did it just for pleasure and never thought I’d become a professional. Eventually, after I graduated from my university, they asked me to become a staff photographer and make some local photos of professors, classrooms etc. At the same time, my work became more and more popular in my home town and I got my first bookings for commissioned photoshoots. That’s when I realized I could be a professional photographer… At the beginning, I was more into non-portrait photography. I tried different things like city shots, landscapes, macro, etc. but not very seriously. Only after I started doing portraits did I feel like I found my style and now I’m not interested in any other genre. I’m a dreamer and I like to imagine other wolds, create beauty. My photography is a projections of my dreams, deep emotions, and myself.”
Anti had found her passion in female portraiture but was limited by her lack of resources and recognition, something all budding photographers struggle with. She turned to the social media and online communities where she learned photography in the first place to find the best way to advance her career, “While browsing the internet and searching for photography competitions I found Broncolor’s Gen NEXT call for submissions. I was unsure at first whether I should enter it or not because I usually don’t use much artificial light in my work. But applying was free of charge and after some hesitation I eventually sent 3 photographs on the very last day. After a month or so, I received a phone call from Joel Mayer, the Broncolor representative.” She had been selected to become a Broncolor Gen NEXT Ambassador, winning over $20,000 in lighting gear and gaining uncountable professional connections overnight, “Now I feel more like a professional and more confident about working on serious projects. I always wanted to work more with additional light, make my photos a little bit more cinematic. I feel like my work has really stepped up to another level.”
With the her new equipment, Anti began experimenting with a more surreal quality in her photographs, many of which were outside of the studio setting. The image and lighting diagram below exemplify how she has been able to evolve as a photographer, “This image is part of my Moon series, which I started earlier this year using a balloon light shaper. We went to a lonely beach not far from my house, waited for the right time of sunset then had only few minutes until it got completely dark. I used my Move 1200 kit with two MobiLED flash heads, one attached to the balloon and the other on the stand to the model’s right… I really love my Move 1200 kit. I feel like it was designed exactly for my purposes: light, mobile, and powerful… It was crazy windy so I couldn’t use any reflectors or umbrellas. The light turned out a little bit harsh so I had to soften it during postproduction.” The lighting digram below the image shows how she was able to get this beautiful mixture of natural and artificial light.
The 2016 Broncolor Gen NEXT competition will begin accepting entries soon, on January 15th, and will be open to any photographer under 30 years of age. Like past years, the winner will not only gain public recognition but a Broncolor sponsorship including gear worth $24,000. With many of their past winners becoming well known within the industry, this is certainly a competition to keep an eye on.