artist interview with hannah cross

by: the narrative society
lifestyle and documentary photography education
9 Oct 2017

Artist Interview with Hannah Cross

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Most artists have a point in their life where they knew this was meant for them. Do you have that moment?

I became obsessed with photography 8 years ago when my first daughter was born, but it wasn’t until I had my third daughter and was diagnosed with postpartum depression that I realized just how much I needed my camera. I am not a talker nor is it easy for me to express my emotions and feelings. But my camera became the medium in which I could express and work through my emotions. Not just that, but the process of picking up my camera and stopping to observe my life, literally made me see the light when I felt very much in the dark.

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Documenting our children’s lives is so important. What is your secret to not getting bored with your daily life?

I do get bored with my daily life sometimes. But picking up my camera usually gets me out of that funk. I can get overwhelmed easily with my never ending to do list or the constant cleaning and demands of my kids. I’m also in my own head a lot and have a hard time being mentally present even if I am physically. Grabbing my camera helps me focus on and notice all the awesome things around me. Also, my three year old wild child never lets things get boring for too long!

bath time pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photography

If there was only one moment you could photograph for the rest of your days, what would it be?

The relationships between my four girls. Photographing them together never ever gets old! I pray that my girls will always be as close as they are now and never take each other for granted. There is just nothing like having a sister, and my girls are lucky enough to each have three.

little girl and cat, Lifestyle and documentary photography

Personally I find more inspiration from things outside of photography. Where do you find inspiration most?

Different types of light inspire me. My children, doing their own thing in different types of light inspires me the most. I actually really love shadows and am always looking for the place where deep shadows and amazing light meet. Honestly, just watching and observing my kids being kids has me running to grab my camera several times a day.

maternity pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photography

We all go through periods of mental blocks. How do you push past times of not finding inspiration?

It’s tough. I usually try my hand at a new skill like free lensing, panning, or most recently, using a prism. One thing that has helped me too is to put together a collection of images. Sometimes it feels like the photos I’m taking don’t really have a point but if there is a more specific purpose behind them, besides just to document life, it encourages me to pick up my camera more. For instance, recently I was on a self-portrait kick to document my fourth and final pregnancy. I kept going after my daughter was born as well. I created a page on my site for all my favorite self-portraits and seeing them all together is incredibly satisfying!

bed time pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photographyfather and daugther pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photography

What inspires you more - light or movement?

Light. Anything ordinary can look extra ordinary in good light.

lunch time pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photographylittle girl coloring, Lifestyle and documentary photography

Do you regret any decisions you have made in your art?

I regret not learning to take self-portraits sooner. I hardly had any photos of myself (especially ones that I actually liked) until maybe a year ago. Yes my kids will love seeing themselves in photos when they’re older, but I know it will be incredibly important for them to see me with them as well.

baby pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photographykids jumping puddles, Lifestyle and documentary photography

There are so many parts to a photograph – shootings, culling, editing. What part of the process is your favorite?

Shooting is definitely my favorite. It is the process of observing and creating that really satisfies me. Of course seeing the final product is pretty great too but as evidenced by the thousands of photos on my hard drive waiting to be edited…I create way more than I edit right now.

inhome family pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photographylifestyle newborn pictures, postpartum pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photography

Everyone has a different shoot style. Do you do anything ‘funny’ while you shoot?

I always catch myself with a weird scrunched up grin on my face when I’m shooting. I can’t help it. Just like it’s impossible to put on mascara with your mouth closed.

bath time pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photographynewborn detail pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photography

A lot of mentors will tell their students to find one style and stay true to it. Do you think this is important?

I used to think yes. But lately I’ve been feeling really restless with the self-imposed box I’ve put myself in. I worry about showing a consistent style and if I should post something on social media or not that is a bit out of my norm. I don’t like feeling that way or letting those thoughts control how I shoot. I think each photo says something about the person who took it. We are complex individuals and allowing ourselves the freedom to express different parts of who we are in our art is important for our growth as artists.

painting nails, Lifestyle and documentary photography

Would you rather reverse one decision you make every day or be able to stop time for 10 seconds every day?

Reverse one decision every day. I feel like I am constantly saying “not right now” or “maybe later” when my girls ask me to do something. I sometimes need a reset button to change my attitude around and change that answer to “yes, let’s do it!”

newborn baby pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photography

Would you rather never be able to speak again or always have to say everything that is on your mind?

Saying everything on my mind sounds like the worst punishment ever, so I would have to go with never being able to speak again.

mom tickling baby, Lifestyle and documentary photography

Would you rather have eyes that can film everything or ears that can record everything?

Eyes that can film everything. I could make some pretty awesome videos from all that footage!

girl riding horse, Lifestyle and documentary photography

Would you rather win an Academy Award or an Olympic Gold Medal?

Olympic gold medal on the balance beam for gymnastics. I was a competitive gymnast for 10 years growing up – so this was my dream!

beach pictures, Lifestyle and documentary photography

Would you rather be fabulously famous and poor or unknown and rich?

Definitely unknown and rich. I really dislike being in the spotlight and having all the attention on myself.

three kids riding swinging, Lifestyle and documentary photography


Hannah Cross of Point Four Photography
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