documenting worlds
photography by annie appel
film-based work *
activism
refugee, germany 2016
the occupy portraits
exchanges I
exchanges II

voices
mexico
viva
uncle jay

work
l.a. theatre works
l.a. chamber orchestra
pro express
mandala
silent sisters
little bell

passages
spielberg
lucy
waiting
common descent

confidences
the gratitude journals
self-portraits
one day
three
notorious

about the artist
bio and resume
video interviews
field notes

mentoring
legacy workshop
individual tutorials
home
1987
At nine o'clock on a Sunday morning I set up my backdrop and 4x5 view camera at
Pershing Square, a park in downtown Los Angeles. A few people, roused from sleep
by my unloading of equipment, watched carefully as I transformed a corner of their
living place into an impromptu studio. In the fifteen minutes that passed between
setting up and waiting for the first person to approach me, I was filled with doubt.
What if no one wanted to be photographed?  Did I dare to approach individuals and if
so, whom would I select?

"Let go of control, Annie, and just have a little faith," I told to myself.

"What are you doing?" asked a friendly voice. I turned to see that the voice came from
a man, well over six feet tall, with a smile that seemed nearly as wide.

"I'm giving you a free photograph of yourself, what do you think of that?" I replied.

"Great, what do I have to do?" asked the man.

"I ask two favors of you: first, tell me what it is that makes you happy, and second,
think about that when I snap the shutter."

Using a polaroid back on my camera, I was able to give each person an instant print of
the image I captured. The only difficult part of my day was explaining that the
photograph was not a gift, but rather an exchange.

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