Anna Koblish taught herself Photoshop as a kid, now she's got billboards in Times Square.
@annakoblish's photographs make you wonder what was happening when she took them. They also make you want to buy the products in the them. Anna uses photography to tell stories that not only sell clothes but also exhibit attitude and energy. She's done ad campaigns for Playboy, Puma, Dr. Martens and Steve Madden. I recently caught up with Anna about everything from how she got started, how she broke through and her love for ‘Dawn FM’, the most recent album from The Weeknd.
J.E.: You got a billboard in Times Square!
A.K.: Yes! I’ve been working with Maude Latour for the past year, including creative directing the rollout and visuals for this EP. We made banners, canvases, press photos, artwork, posters, tracklist announcements and the billboard! I brought on my two best friends, Savannah and Michael, to style and animate.
A.K.: Maude is mega talented.. she’s gonna be a star. The idea behind the creative was ending her last era, and entering pop stardom. The title track is called 001, so I wanted all of the press and roll out photos to be glam and read as pop star, but still relatable. While the EP cover art is a nod to her past era, which was more low key. 001 is closing that chapter and opening a new one.
J.E.: How did you get here?
A.K.: I always loved image making.. I’ve been learning and practicing it my whole life. I was a Tumblr girl at 13 and taught myself Photoshop at that time. I began approaching photography as a profession while studying design at Parsons.
A.K.: The pandemic hit and I returned home to my family. I took pictures of my sister - like we were kids again. I worked tirelessly on photos. I spent my time researching photographers and replicating styles I liked. I worked a lot and continued by shooting pictures of my roommates when I got back to New York in July, 2020.
A.K.: I knew the only way to achieve success was to get eyes on my work. So, I started using TikTok. I started doing tutorials, Q&As, other types of videos. It was the first time people reached out to work with me. I booked a ticket to LA in January 2021 and did shoots with everyone who reached out. I began working with musicians doing editorial work. From there, things moved quickly, which was amazing but also scary. I’m still trying to figure out my voice and my why.
J.E.: And now you earn a living from photography.
A.K.: A big part of it for me has been making money. I had to learn what an “LLC” was while making invoices. I am a professional photographer now. That’s my choice. The deadlines people give me are challenging, sometimes I have to balance it, and just get a project done. That’s a problem I’ve been facing recently. Am I putting out my best work? And sometimes things I’ve thought were bad ended up being great, and vice versa.
J.E.: Playboy ended up being great. What other brands interest you?
A.K.: When I was 23, I shot a Halloween campaign for Playboy. I’ve done Puma, Dr. Martens and Steve Madden. I am so grateful for those who have taken a chance on me. My biggest brand I want now is Nike. I love shoes. I want a Nike campaign. Either Air Maxes, Dunks or Air Forces. A Diesel campaign would be crazy, theres a lot of overlap in our aesthetics and values, I think. Tiffany & Co. would be really cool. Some close ups of the jewelry, edited in a cool way - I should make that on my own. Zara Kids has also been interesting to me recently and Marc Jacobs.. I think thats self-explanatory.
A.K.: For me, the future is to get out of this box I made for myself and learning more about technical photography. I taught myself how to retouch. I’m working on my lighting. Editorial things. Self-portraits. I definitely slowed down in terms of what I’m making and what I put out, because I have big goals - to be signed with a big art agency and shooting campaigns. I’m also excited by the idea of shooting beauty, I love makeup and was a makeup artist for awhile. I love beauty campaigns, about-face, Bobbi Brown, Pat McGrath, or Byredo.. I think I would honestly murder a beauty campaign. Makeup is one of my favorite parts of photography. I also enjoy doing e-commerce, it’s like a performance.
A.K.: ERL is someone I really admire. For someone who’s really process-inspired, they have so much emotion. Selfishly, I’ve always wanted to work with Post Malone. His aesthetic, everything. It’s something the child in me needs to do. Same for Billie Eilish. I’d love to do something creative with Julia Fox. Be a little more intimate and animated with it. Close ups. Goofy. Like the way Jack Bridgland shot Robert Pattinson for GQ.
A.K.: My biggest fear is that I’m not going to make it. I grew up watching people online with these amazing lives and huge followings. I’m trying to dismantle this idea of coolness. I’m trying to find out what’s actually cool. What work do I actually want to do? I get nervous sometimes. There’s people who are killing it. Where do they come from? Who are their friends? My parents work in bio med and tech. I grew up in regular suburbia. I’m someone who’s never been in those circles, and a lot of that’s choice, but I battle with that, do I need to be outside more?
J.E.: You have your own newsletter, called 577. What’s that about?
A.K.: 577 is named after one of my favorite pairs of Levis that are hard to find. I love writing. I love personal pieces. It’s therapeutic. One of the reasons I got a response on TikTok is because I was sharing things with people. Like talking about an album I like. I will write a piece in defense of Dawn FM, it’s one of my favorite albums and I won’t stand for the slander. I also want to DJ. There’s so much to do.