Deborah Anderson has had the privilege capturing celebrities and glamorous locations around the world. Born in London, Anderson’s creative destiny was set at a young age, her mother a photographer and her father the legendary vocalist of the band Yes. Anderson spent several years traveling as a musician, all the while experimenting with her second love of photography. Completely self-taught, Anderson’s work has graced the pages of albums and magazines including GQ Magazine, Playboy and Bazaar to name a few. Her book Room 23 features a single room in a Beverly Hills penthouse suite where she photographed over 100 celebrities for charity. Always pushing the boundaries, Anderson’s latest project Aroused is both a fine art book and feature documentary film focusing on 16 well known female adult film stars. We spoke with Anderson about creative freedom, sensuality and how Squarespace allows her to share her best work right now.
Your father was the singer for the legendary band Yes and your mother loved photography. Did growing up in such a creative environment inspire you to become a photographer?
“When you are given the freedom to be who you are in all capacities as an artist because of parents who understand what it is to be creative, you are given a limitless plateau of possibilities. My parents always saw me as a powerful creator, allowing me to explore that part of my being so I dabbled in all and everything art and continue to do so.”
Do you remember some of your first jobs as a photographer?
“When I first started shooting, I was using film and would always experiment with different types so as to see what kind of results I would get. I remember shooting for a lingerie company and after the shoot I develop the film and it was all blank. I was horrified yet in some way it’s part and parcel of the experience; you can never stop checking then double checking your equipment and the captured images. I never take one thing for granted on a shoot as anything can happen even with all the experience I now have under my belt.”
Not long ago you published a coffee table book with a lot of celebrities including George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, Moby, David Spade, Ludacris, Hayden Panetiere, and the late Dennis Hopper where you photographed them in one room at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Can you tell us more about this project and the process of working on a personal project with high profile people?
“Room23 was an incredible journey of literally pulling out all my self-learned tricks in order to make the book. I didn’t have a 1st assistant to help with lighting or cameras or a monitor so as to see what I was shooting. This made it all the more challenging when shooting some of the world’s biggest stars and at the same time this was my big transition to digital photography as I knew I could guarantee the outcome of the shots. Everyone could not have been more giving during the process and the collaboration with some of the stars was the most creative as we could get into story telling and capture something unique in just one photo.”
You recently released Aroused, a fine art book and feature documentary about 16 of the most famous adult film stars. What compelled you to make a film about these women and what surprised you most about their stories?
“Aroused was fascinating from the very beginning – from meeting these compelling adult stars to photographing them without their ‘porn’ facade. I learnt so much about the human experience, why we choose what we do in our lives and how we are judged for those decisions. I believe sex to be misunderstood as a ‘bad’ thing or an ‘immoral act’. Because of this sexual suppression the world has gone mad for it in all the wrong ways. Using sex in advertising as a tool to convince us that if we wear a certain outfit, drive a certain car or drink a certain alcoholic beverage, we hold a sexual power is such a misguided understanding of one of the most sacred acts known to humankind. The adult industry showed me that because of societies addiction to sex, these porn stars have a job and not the other way around. I wanted their stories to be heard.”
Your site includes multiple photo galleries, video, and a store. How did Squarespace‘s tool and templates help you create such a multi-media site?
“Squarespace is such a simple tool to use in order to get your work seen by the masses. I love how easy it is to add new content and move galleries around as I am not a genius when it comes to the language of computer programing. I had someone set up the content of each gallery and for a fraction of the cost of a regular website designer was able to create my site because of the ease of Squarespace’s design.”
What made you decide to offer prints on your site? What has been the best seller?
“The PAPERTHIN gallery has been the most popular so far. The way in which the purchase is set up makes for a very fluid ordering system.”
How often do you update your site?
“I am on the site at least once a month. I recognize I am getting thousands of new views weekly so I tend to take my time with changing the galleries however if I have something I just shot, I love the fact that I can literally upload it the same day.”
What do you like most about working on the Squarespace platform?
“The freedom of being able to manage my site without needing a degree in computer programing.”
All images © Deborah Anderson