CREATIVE WITHOUT FILTERS.
I found her account on Instagram during one of those nights you can’t sleep, sliding through photos while patiently waiting for my eyes to get tired and conciliate the sweet moment of sleep. There was she, lavishly contrasting from the cookie-cut bloggers, wearing a black sleek dress and a giant flower vase as a symbol of both femininity and strength. I immediately went into a positive shock, the one you can only describe as to when you meet someone who shares the same tastes as you and it’s like you both profess the same religion. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to fall asleep quickly at all that night.
Anna is one of those diamonds you find every once in a while on social media, the kind of people who recovers your trust and faith into believing art and integrity can still be found in a saturated digital world. I was lucky enough to be followed back by her, since then and after falling in love with her two adopted cats, I’ve been admiring her work and I anticipate her photos every time I open the Instagram app at the morning before my first trip to the bathroom.
So, when I had to think of someone to inaugurate this section I couldn’t think of anyone else than Anna. A section on which we will share women whose passion for their work, love, freedom and design inspire us day by day to create and communicate for a positive change; the women we meet by chance on the Internet, the office’s elevator or the friend of a friend. Women who maybe aren’t famous or perfect, and yet deserve a very passionate follow on social media.
Adriana: Hi, Anna! I’m so happy to have you as our first interview in GADRIANA. Could you tell us a bit of yourself?
Anna: It is my pleasure. Thank you for having me. My name is Anna and I’m from Poland. I’m 34, single and live with two cats and 82 vintage vases I collect. Some people still cannot believe me but I really am a very happy woman. I do like my job (internal communications), I work from home and in my spare time I buy flowers, vintage pieces and take pictures.
Looking at the quality of your content I honestly thought you studied art. What’s the motivation behind your Instagram account?
The motivation is as simple as it only could be -to share aesthetics and emotions that gets me. I’m not a fashion blogger. Modern art is my great passion so I join my pictures with various artworks. Pictures of me are in 99% selfies taken with my phone and self-timer.
I see you create each post thinking on a concept and we love it. I also see you don’t mind posting three blank images between each set of photos and I have the feeling that you don’t care too much about the engagement in these. How did you come to that decision when there’s so much pressure on having the best engagement on social media to stand out?
The blank rows in between my triptychs help to visually separate and differentiate them. I really like the way my photographs are presented and I guess this is my way to stand out – not the numbers. Satisfaction of doing things the best you can is the only thing that matters.
I‘m also very amazed at how you take your own photos, besides from styling and constructing the idea behind each set. How this set-of-three idea came to life? And what comes first: the flowers/vase, the outfit or the art piece?
To be honest, I really don’t feel comfortable when somebody is taking my pictures so self timer works best for me. I’m not a big fan of chaos. So quite naturally, I came up with the concept of posting my pictures in triptych – because this is how I look at my IG account. I don’t focus on particular images, I always see the bigger picture. Most of the times, I get inspired by flowers – their shapes, colors, structure, details, smell. Then I choose the vase and outfit that fit the flowers.
“I really like the way my photographs are presented and I guess this is my way to stand out – not the numbers. Satisfaction of doing things the best you can is the only thing that matters.”
On a more serious topic, let’s talk about objectification. You have a very clear idea about it and it inspires us to be more confident in our own skin. Is objectification a constant issue with your account?
I’ve experienced it but fortunately it doesn’t happen often. It mostly comes from men who don’t see me as a person but just a sexual object, although women also carry a lot of unconscious bias. Objectification is unnecessary and so destructing. My body and my pictures are really not to win men’s approval. They are not to win anybody’s approval. This is how I express myself and I have every right to do it. I think we could all try harder to stop labelling. We have this tendency to judge and categorise – too superficially, too biased, too fast. I believe it is just a matter of time. We are going to win this!
I totally agree with you, Anna. How do you manage these messages or do you just simply ignore them?
I rather don’t waste my time and my energy on responding to these messages but I consistently communicate my opinions and beliefs. If I manage to get even to one person, I’ll be very happy.
This confidence you have in yourself is contagious. Was this something you learned from your family’s values, friends or was it all by yourself?
I think that the biggest pillar here is my family. Unconditional love and support in doing things my (sometimes not that obvious) way. Nonconformism is in my blood. My friends are outstanding. I know how lucky I am. I feel grateful every single day. But I could still use some more confidence. I need to go easy on myself, give myself a break and accept my imperfections. Our culture states that being hard on yourself is the way to be. Well, I don’t agree. Self-compassion is the answer! It is an ongoing lesson for me and I don’t think it will ever stop.
“My body and my pictures are really not to win men’s approval. They are not to win anybody’s approval. This is how I express myself.”
I applaud the quality of your work ’cause you’re a one-woman-show like me and I know keeping up with constant content is not easy. What comes next for PaniAniAni?
Thank you! Quality matters, that’s so true. I don’t have any specific plans yet but one day I would like to create my vase collection. I can see myself as a creative director/editor – my head is always full of ideas. For the time being, I’m editor in chief of my own life and I’ll continue doing what is making me happy.
Lastly, we would love if you could share with us three women that inspire you day by day and why.
My biggest inspiration is my mom. She is my heart. I got the passion to flowers, cashmere and silk from her. If only I could cook and knit as good as she does!
Another very important person in my life is Polish veterinarian – Dorota Suminska. Her endless love to animals will turn even the biggest fan of steaks into vegetarian. Everything she does to raise the awareness about animals in our lives and also helping these poor guys in shelters is absolutely uplifting.
Last but not least it is Marina Abramovic, performance artist. She is the perfect combination of woman’s strength and sensibility. Also, Marina was born in Serbia – the country that I felt in love with years ago. I was studying Slavic studies and living in Belgrade. I won’t even start naming IG accounts I like because the list is too long!
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