Get To Know Anais Gallagher: Photographer and '90s Rock Progeny

The first thing you see on Anaïs Gallagher’s photography account (@a.gallagher.photos) is the bio reading “Not bad for ‘an entitled child with no talent.’” Gallagher is the 20-year-old daughter of British musician Noel Gallagher of the band Oasis, which is what her Instagram bio is in reference to. While she is no stranger to claims of nepotism, she is keenly aware of her privilege and uses it to her advantage to pursue her dreams and love for photography. 

HerCampus (HC): Since you’ve been surrounded by artistic people for what I’m assuming has been your whole life, was photography always a passion of yours?

Anaïs Gallagher (AG): Instead of it being a real "passion" of mine, I think it was more something that was innately in me. I'd always loved art, drama and English at school, all very creative subjects. My parents encourage creativity over academia, maybe not consciously, but because they had a greater understanding of artistic practices, it was easier for them to give advice or give praise over. I'd always loved taking pictures, but like most Gen Z children, didn't really see the artistic side of it, rather just the practical side of having a camera application on most devices. It was only when I started my A-levels* that I decided to delve into photography and really push myself to try it. Out of this came my love for analog photography and darkroom development.

HC: How did you get involved with photographing bands in particular? 

AG: I'd always been around musicians as I'm sure most people would assume, so I don't think it really surprised me when I woke up one morning in my late teens and realized most of my friends were musicians or worked somewhere within the industry. Like most young aspiring photographers, I started taking photos of what was available to me, and that so happened to be my friends. 

musician playing guitar and singing on stage Photo by Melanie van Leeuwen from Unsplash

HC: I feel like it would be pretty special to capture such intimate portraits of people while performing because it’s such a magical moment. Are there any photographs you’ve taken you can only describe as capturing magic? 

AG: I've never really been a huge fan of live performance photography. It just didn't appeal to me, mainly because I shoot on film and tend to use 100% natural light, and you have to be incredibly skilled in order to get those three things to work together. I like capturing people in environments they're not used to being seen in. For example, if they're a musician, that environment wouldn't be on stage. But yes, capturing someone on stage is akin to capturing a moment of magic. You immortalize a moment of serenity in a quite often hectic reality. My favorite live photo I've ever taken is this one. 

HC: How, if at all, has this past year with quarantine impacted your career since a lot of your photos rely on capturing people? 

AG: It's impacted me a lot as a student since I still am at university studying photography. My education and ability to learn new tools and practices have been stunted. I obviously haven't been able to meet or catch up with as many people face to face, so taking photos of friends or new musicians has become rather difficult. But all clouds have silver linings, and it's meant I've been able to do a lot of research and reading about artistic theories and catch up with my history of art studies. I definitely believe that the greater understanding of your medium that you have, the better. It's important to know the background, influence and history of what you do, to know who has paved the way for you and to read about other artists’ experiences. 

woman typing on laptop in cafe Photo by Bonnie Kittle from Unsplash

HC: Who are your biggest influences when it comes to not only photography but your overall life? 

AG: Jill Furmanovsky and Linda McCartney’s photographs to me embody the ideals of the kind of portrait photography I aspire to create. Sarah Bahbah's use of color and narrative has always inspired me to push the notion of storytelling within my work. But of course, I have a huge love for the big names in photographic history such as Cartier-Bresson, Don McMullin and Martin Parr. I think it's worth noting that artists tend to be romantics and people who inherently like dreaming about the past, whether you're dreaming of 17th-century literature or 1970's rock, wishing you could've been there to capture it. You can't always look back. To not look forward or to the world that currently surrounds you would be forcing yourself to be narrow-minded. There will always be inspiring artists and movements you can draw inspiration from. Two photographers whose work I adore and equally like as people are music photographers Tom Pallant and Lewis Evans, who both create incredibly beautiful images. 

HC: What is the most rewarding part of creating art for you? 

AG: I think the idea that you're creating memories, having the idea that maybe, just maybe, people will be viewing your work in 50 or 60 years saying "wow look at the haircuts they had then" or creating a snapshot of a certain point in time, a moment in history. 

HC: Did you have a rough time starting out, or did you find you’re more naturally gifted with a camera? 

AG: I hate to say this because I don't want to undermine the work I've done, or the work other people do in finding their feet when starting out as a photographer, but yes. I think I always had the ability to take interesting images and the ability to look at my own work and realize what wasn't that interesting and what wasn't that good.

*A-Levels are subject-based tests taken by U.K. students when they’re between the ages of 16 and 18. 

You can find Anaïs on Instagram @gallagher_anais and @a.gallagher.photos. 

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