Anne Mäenurm is an amateur landscape and nature photographer based in the Northern Italy (North-East, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia). She was born and brought up in the Northern Estonia countryside. For her, photography is not just a hobby, it has become a way of balancing life. She prefers photographing the natural world – spending time outdoors makes her feel close to the roots of life. She is in constant search for those fleeting moments of magic that turn our world into something extraordinary. In her images she strives to reflect the atmosphere, feeling, and sheer wonderment that our natural world evokes within us. Some of her works have been published in various national and international magazines as National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveller, Asferico magazine 2013 n°46, Asferico magazine 2016 n°51, article “I luoghi del cuore”, Viaggio Dolomiti december 2016, cover, Digital Camera Magazine, Meridiani Montagne. She has won many prizes in international photographic competitions: Overall winner - Palmarès Concours 2018- Montier Festival Photo, highly commended Bio Photo Contest 2018, ,Asferico Photocontest, Photographer of the Year (POTY),Estonian Nature Photography of the Year. Anne is a member of AFNI since 2013 (Italian Association nature photographers) and contributing photographer at PHOTOFVG.IT since 2012.
1. What was your path to become a photographer?
At younger age I was traveling a lot and I loved to photograph everything around me to show later to my friends and family, but seriously I started in 2009, when I took my first photography course. When I moved to Italy in 2003, I discovered the amazing nature and mountainscapes, so I developed my skills as a nature and landscape photographer. As I was growing up in countryside, I have always loved the nature and my solitude. Nature is the place where I feel peace and happiness.
2. Do you prefer to photograph close to home or do you find faraway places more inspiring? Are there any special places that inspire you the most to create new work?
As I’m living in Italy and here I have so many places yet to discover, I’m really enjoying the nature and variety of landscapes here.
3. Are you a meticulous pre-planer or do you prefer creating images spontaneously? Do you revisit your favourite places many times to achieve the required result? Can you tell us more about your method of working?
I’m a spontaneous photographer, it’s not very common for photographers, but I don’t make long term plans. My trip plans are made overnight, if I see that it is snowing in the mountain, I just go. Sometimes, when I plan and have an idea what to photograph, I'm still capable to make totally different things at the end. The only plans that I have is a list with the names of places to visit. Yes, I revisit the places to get the perfect picture, because the first visit is to study the location. Often, I come back without pictures, but it’s not important, what is important, is to enjoy and relax.
4. Terra Quantum displays themes and series portfolios; do you like working to the project/series/theme or find creating individual images more rewarding?
I like both. For a long time, I was creating single images. Few years ago, I started to create more images of themes and currently I work on a project.
5. Can you tell us a bit more about one chosen photograph – what is the story behind it, when/why/how it was created?
It was created near Bologna. The atmospheric shot captures the moment when tiny creatures created a magical woodland glow, as they use a process known as bioluminescence-light produced by a chemical reaction to find a mate. Lampyridae, they are winged beetles, commonly called fireflies. Fireflies were a source of great pleasure when I was a kid, but now, fireflies are disappearing on a much larger scale. The problem, as always, is human behaviour, including the use of pesticides and artificial lighting and the destruction of firefly habitat. They’re not only being harmed directly by human development, but indirectly by the effects of human causing climate change, invasive species that thrive in a warmer climate and drought destroying even more of their habitat. This image won an overall winner price at Montier Festival Photo in France.
6. Colour, b&w or both? How do you decide about the elimination or inclusion of colour and why. When do you decide about it - in the field or during the post processing?
I shoot always in colour and later convert some images to B&W, all depends of my feelings.
7.Do you find printing your images yourself as an integral part of image creation or do you use professional labs? How important is the choice of paper for you?
I use a professional lab close to home. I love Hahnemuehle Fine Art Photo Rag paper. But I think there are many very good types of paper. I love to stamp my images because only then they become live for me and are fully enjoyable
8.Do you think that social media is killing photography or playing an important role in promoting your work? How involved are you in your online presence?
Difficult question, the social media can be very misleading for nature images (images that have been over photoshopped or added a modificative elements on it). On the other hand, to promote my work, I do use social media like Facebook, Instagram, as well as to be connected with other photographers.
9.Do you have any plans for exhibitions, books or any interesting projects coming? Can you tell us a bit more about your artistic plans for the next couple of years?
I do have a dream, to publish a book, but it’s too early to talk about it. I have a few photo talks to come this year.
10.We are living on the most beautiful planet, yet it is over-burdened and over-polluted. As photography is an influential medium, do you use the power of your photographs to promote our Earth appreciation and environmental awareness? Any thoughts how photographers in general can become more involved in this important matter?
I don’t consider myself as a conservationist photographer, but I hope that my pictures contribute to more appreciation for nature and to convey a message of conservation.