Meet the Artist

Capturing our outer world
differently to view our inner
world more clearly.

Photo art prints with an
abstract point of view.

Ann Newman, abstract photographer and writer.
Photo by Bill Marson

Ann Newman
Photographer
Writer

Artist

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 in San Diego with ocean waves crashing at the pillars.
Mesmerized by waves hitting the pillars of Scripps Pier, San Diego, California. Photo by Bill Marson. See the image from this day, “Breaking Patterns” in Seeking Simplicity – Black and White gallery.

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, to learn about themselves, 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. Seeing the beauty that surrounds us, no matter how ordinary, helps us to practice living consciously. Slowing down, we feel grateful for what is. Counting our everyday blessings helps us offer others empathy and forgiveness, something we need more than ever in our world.

The Grand Canyon glows in a rosy, orange hint of color as Ann Newman shoots the layers of canyon walls.
Sunset glow warms up the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Photo by Bill Marson. This is the moment that my “Shadow Traits” image was shot.

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 more 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 on the coast north of La Jolla and Torrey Pines while Ann Newman takes slow shutter photos.
Waiting for the Surfliner commuter train to speed by with Torrey Pines and La Jolla in the background. San Diego, California. Photo by Bill Marson. See “Slow Down” in Meaningful Moments – Acceptance gallery.

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. I am new to photography, a relative baby in a competitive pool of amazing talent.

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. Still, photography wasn’t in my plans.

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

My plan was to travel to exotic locations and make a living as a travel writer. Everyone thought my plan sounded impressive and many wanted to join me. 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. Now the story really unfolds.

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 photography classes. I tried to write travel 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. I felt like I was lost, that I was never going to “find” my purpose in life.

Bosque del Apache sunrise tips the reeds with a red tint.
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 experienced while capturing the image excited 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. And each step in our journey is what brings life to living. Even the parts of life that are the most challenging. In fact, those difficulties may be our best lessons.

Dead Horse State Park overlook, dangling on the edge for a shot of the Colorado River.
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 I turned to psychology, wellness, and self-awareness as inspiration. While many people consume daily horoscopes, I read about Myers-Briggs personality types, communication, motivation, psychology, and Taoism as a staple. I found that understanding my motivations and emotions helped me to grow through awkward moments in life. Paying attention to the ordinary, I became aware of the genuinely extra-ordinary nature of our lives.

Getting cold feet in the very cold ocean water at 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 you found a moment of calm in my art, you’ve tapped into your own strength. I am just a facilitator, and quite honestly, a benefactor of this practice for my own wellness. If a piece speaks to your heart, I hope you’ll enjoy it as your respite. 

If I created an image or a sentence that captures your attention, we have established a connection. When I hear how someone experiences my photos and writings, I learn so much more. We each have a unique eye, a way of interpreting, and I find it enlightening when you share that with me. Thanks for going the distance in reading and for meeting the artist!

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

Ann

Holding up the whole world in Cusco, Peru.  Colorful courtyard with vibrant artwork for a setting.
Got the whole world in my hand outside my favorite restaurant in Cusco, Peru. Photo by Connie Simmons Owens.
Logo of Ann Newman's silhouette and a photo inserted inside from the Grand Canyon called "Shadow Traits."