“Don’t sweat the whole high school thing, little babe,” is the advice that Aussie photographer Anna Mackenzie would give her 12 year-old self. This is fitting; Mackenzie is exactly the type of wonderFULL, quirky character whose brilliance could only be realized outside of the oppressive homogeny of high school.
When I first met Mackenzie on a rooftop in Brooklyn, she was positioned as the social observer with a camera in hand. At the time, she had just joined Opening Ceremony, NYC as their Online Photo Editor and Studio Manager, and was exploring how she could “bring it” to the world of fashion e-commerce.
We recently reconnected again and found ourselves frenetically raving about pictures, inspiration, and the challenge of navigating the e-commerce world as a photographer with robust artistic sensibilities.
In a nutshell, Mackenzie’s photographic work injects commercial “product shots” with playful elements of the ordinary. She lists an impressive roll of photographers who speak to her soul—Antje Peters, Annette Kelm, Shirana Shahbazi, Jamie Hawksworth, Nick Knight. But against this highly-cultured backdrop, Mackenzie also revels in the banality of the everyday. Let’s just say that her aesthetic interests are diverse and varied. When asked what she enjoys looking at most, she cites this blog, bad TV, and a whole heap of crap that she recently brought back from Japan.
This push-pull between consumerist and creative agendas creates a playful dynamic in Mackenzie’s practice: “I guess my commercial and personal work spill over into each other, which I feel is the ultimate dynamic.”
Rather than being constrained by the expectations that come with working for prominent fashion labels, Mackenzie has somehow embraced this environment while retaining her own artistic integrity. “I’ve been very fortunate, I’ve had most to all creative control on the commercial work I’ve done.” As a result, there is most definitely an element of tongue-in-cheek in Mackenzie’s work, a nod to the eccentricity of ‘fashun’ laced with a hint of Mackenzie’s own inner geek.
Basically this is joyful work, people. You know how photographers often play mood music on set? I asked Mackenzie to share her go-to song (expecting some sort of obscure trance-dub-step beat shrouded with the deep-breathing of a long lost Tibetan monk). Here was her response:
“I take my shoot playlists very seriously, I’m big on a themed list. But right now it’s Future Islands to pump everyone up and Angel Olsen to wind it down.”
That’s Anna Mackenzie, folks. Get around her work—it’s awesome.