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Celebrating Magnificence:
Anna Morales: “A Visual Anthropologist in Love” – Photographer, Studio Manager & Yoga Teacher

By Sharonne Gracia

Let me introduce you to Anna Morales – smart, grounded, and endlessly kind. Spending time with her feels like a warm hug on a chilly day.

I met Anna only 8 months ago as we worked together at Still & Moving Center. I now often joke that I experience separation anxiety whenever I have to be away from her. It’s like her presence is this magnetic force that keeps pulling me back for more of her positivity. Have you ever met someone like that? They just have this magical way of making everything seem brighter. Anna is definitely one of those people.

Anna grew up on the East Coast in Pennsylvania where her childhood was filled with moments of curiosity and exploration. However, she often experienced what is commonly known as “middle child syndrome”. In a family where the focus was usually on her siblings, Anna struggled whenever the bright lights landed on her. Remembering those early years, Anna shares,“I remember throwing a tantrum if anyone in my family tried to take a photo of me.” She laughs at the memory.

At the age of 10, Anna’s father changed her world by giving her a small camera: a tiny red Nikon. Little did she know, this simple gesture would open the door to her lifelong passion for photography.

Discovering that she could escape the spotlight by being behind the camera, Anna recalls, “I would just go around the house and take little pictures of everything,” describing the joy she found in exploring the world through her lens. For Anna, photography wasn’t just a hobby; it was a way of expressing herself and connecting with the world around her. Anna’s camera redirected attention away from herself and put it into other people’s stories.

That’s why she decided to go to school in South Carolina: to study Visual Communications. However, she found herself questioning her path and seeking a more profound connection. She realized that Visual Communications did not align with her desire for a deeper understanding of human storytelling. This realization led Anna to explore other paths, such as Yoga.

One day while reading through a textbook, Anna stumbled upon the concept “Visual Anthropology” for the first time. Her reaction was one of surprise as she remembered exclaiming, “What is this?! Instantly, she felt a strong connection with the concept. “I thought, this is what I want to major in!” she recalls with enthusiasm.

Guided after graduating by her dream of using photography as visual storytelling, Anna created her business “A Visual Anthropologist in Love” where ‘Love’ with a capital ‘L’ is the focus. In a world with a lot of dark, gritty imagery, I feel really inspired by someone who tenderly photographs moments of love.

Here her purpose is to capture human relationships and emotions. She explains, “There is something to be said about the power of a visual. Looking at one picture can make you laugh, cry or make you feel angry.” Anna sees photography as a way of increasing compassion in the world through our feeling of empathy for one another.

Photography changed her perspective. She says, “By taking photos of other people I have learned how much fun it is to let people take photos of me.” Seeing others’ vulnerability and willingness to open up has helped her to feel more comfortable at being the point of focus herself.

Anna’s current role as our studio manager at Still & Moving Center deepens my admiration for her. In this position she easily blends her passion for human connection and her amazing leadership skills. She embraces every aspect of her role with care and authenticity.

In essence, Anna Morales’ talent as a photographer shows us the beauty in vulnerability and the power of human connections. Her journey encourages me to pursue my passions wholeheartedly and embrace self-discovery.

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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)