About the Artist

Cultivating a sense of wonder
for more fulfillment.

Ann Newman
Photographer
Writer

Artist

Ann Newman Head Shot
Photo by Bill Marson

Hi, I’m Ann of Annstracts, an emerging photographer who sees the beauty in what might typically go unnoticed. My style of photography is close-up, and a bit out of context for a more intimate view.

Scripps Pier Photo Shoot
Mesmerized by waves hitting the pillars of Scripps Pier, San Diego, California. Photo by Bill Marson.

The blend between my name and “abstracts” occurred while collaborating with my best friend. As we discussed what I wanted to do with my photography, I realized my work wasn’t necessarily portraying reality on purpose. I think of my art as a way for the viewer to see the truth in their way, and to experience a moment of appreciation.

The definition of abstract art, at its simplest, is using forms, colors, and materials unusually to elicit thoughtfulness and feelings. If viewing Annstracts art helps in seeing the beauty that surrounds us, no matter how ordinary, we practice living consciously. Slowing down, we feel grateful for what is. Counting our everyday blessings helps us offer others empathy and forgiveness.

Grand Canyon Sunset
Sunset glow warms up the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Photo by Bill Marson.

More importantly, we realize that life doesn’t have to be perfect for us to be happy. Bringing our full attention to this moment, appreciating what is, we live a more centered and balanced life. Speaking from experience, I had a big chunk of my adult life in which I was not living consciously. While it took some time and a whole lot of effort, I was able to cultivate that mindfulness. The result is that I feel much healthier, my relationships are stronger, my imagination is flowing, and I’m grateful for all that I have in my life.

Coaster Train Speeds into the Night
Waiting for the Coaster commuter train to speed by with Torrey Pines and La Jolla in the background. San Diego, California. Photo by Bill Marson.

My photography journey isn’t about spending hours in a darkroom processing film back in my youth. Nor did I grow up listening secretly from the hallway while my parents had cocktails in the living room with Ansel Adams.

Photography wasn’t on my radar until about four years ago. Photography surfaced from a failure. I worked in technology sales “successfully” for 30 years, and after reporting to a cubicle for that long, I finally snapped. My soul needed out.

Desert spring bloom
Down in the weeds, or flowers, of a spring desert bloom near Bartlett Lake, Arizona. Photo by Nathaniel Smalley.

Everyone thought my plan sounded impressive: travel to exotic locations and make a living as a travel writer. I quickly realized that I’d need photos to accompany the articles, though. Readers weren’t readers, after all, they had become skimmers, and they needed a shiny object to capture their attention. I bought a camera. 

Black and white photo of a photographer looking up for a shot. Her arms are angled and camera pointed up. The setting is Graffiti Alley in Baltimore where other artists have left their artistic mark on the walls.
Covering all the angles. Baltimore’s Graffiti Alley is a treasure trove of inspiration from other artists. Photo by Sandra Thompson-Raney.

I signed up for classes. I tried to write articles and take photos for magazines. Fast-forward, I didn’t get the spark out of trying to fit myself into the travel writer square either. At the time, I deemed this a failure on my part.

Bosque del Apache Sunrise
Autumn reeds glow red in the rising sun at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico. Photo by Bill Marson.

What I discovered in the process, though, is that taking pictures and writing about the symbolism of what I experience while capturing the image excite me. So while spending time and money in one direction felt like a big waste, now I see that it opened up a path that is more soul-satisfying.

Dead Horse State Park overlook
Dangling at the edge of Dead Horse State Park near sunset, Utah. Photo by Bill Marson.

As I’d write about my photos, I realized that psychology, wellness, and self-awareness kept surfacing. While many people consume daily horoscopes, I read about Myers-Briggs types, psychology, and Taoism on a daily basis.  I’ve come through some significant life changes, which we all do. I found that understanding my motivations and emotions helped me to grow through those awkward moments. Paying attention to the ordinary, I became aware of the genuinely extra-ordinary nature of our lives.

Black Sand Beach in Iceland
Getting cold feet in the ice cube chilled Black Sand Beach on the south coast of Iceland. Photo by Nathaniel Smalley.

If looking through the images and reading through my site enhances your awareness, I’m humbled. If a piece speaks to your heart, I hope you’ll enjoy it as your respite. The fact that I created a work that you are appreciating connects us. Please reach out to me if you have some feedback. When I hear how someone experiences my images and writings, I am grateful for the connection. 

I wish you well-being and full attention to your everyday blessings. 

Ann

Globe in hand in Cusco, Peru
Got the whole world in my hand outside my favorite restaurant in Cusco, Peru. Photo by Connie Simmons Owens.