Through multiple creative avenues, Anna Fearon tells nuanced stories with “beauty, honesty and integrity”
The filmmaker and photographer talks us through her interchangeable process, one that creatively explores themes of Black identity and queerness.
- Ayla Angelos
- 10 June 2022
Anna Fearon, a photographer and filmmaker based in Lewisham, proves wholeheartedly that change can be a good thing. For one, she’s moved about a fair bit from Croydon to Kent, the latter of which she says gave her “quite a culture shock” before heading back to the capital. “I love the vibrancy of south London,” she continues. But it’s not just her home that’s been in flux: her creative process is just as interchangeable.
With a career that began in Kingston while studying for an art foundation, Anna soon moved onto a graphic design course at Chelsea before ending up assisting photographers and finding her feet in photography. It was here that she realised her passion and started spreading her wings into film, working on music videos and shorts including several for Channel 4 Random Acts and British Vogue. But now, she’s transitioned from moving image to a more analogue process, having learnt the ropes of hand printing and developing her own negatives in the dark room. “I have loved getting more hands-on and tactile in my creative process,” she says. “Exploring slower processes has re-sparked my love of photography as a medium.”
Testing out new techniques is indeed healthy way of finding out your interests – not least a method for determining your ethos and reasons for making work in the first place. Although Anna’s career has been somewhat angular, there are a few consistencies that have tied it all together: “As a Black queer artist, I do feel a responsibility to tell nuanced stories and convey my subjects with beauty, honestly and integrity,” she tells It’s Nice that. As a result, she strives to make work that makes her subjects and communities “feel seen”, achieved through honest, personal portraiture that places optimism and joy at the forefront.
GalleryAnna Fearon: Colour + Movement (Copyright © Anna Fearon, 2022)
Alongside a short documenting motherhood plus a series photographing local Black families, Colour + Movement is another of her recent accomplishments. Borne from a residency in Catford and presented as part of an exhibition, Anna felt inspired to photograph Black dancers “responding to colourscapes”, she says. The concept culminated in a magical, almost surrealist manner, to which she hand-painted the colourscapes crafted them from dyed fabric. Fluid and rippling with colours, the work protrudes a sense of energy and movement. One image of a subject named Ramario is a poignant example, in which she’d photographed Ramario for the second time – he was also the last dancer she took an image of in the project. “I was experiencing with movement as a form of self expression and motion blurring within the images,” she notes. “The project also enabled me to explore Black identity and self-expression in a more abstract way than in my previous works.”
Prior to this, Anna’s debut short film The Mues was commissioned by Channel 4 Random acts for a Black history month series and later screened at the V&A. She’s also the founder of Blue Magazine, a print publication celebrating Black beauty. To say that Anna’s work has been momentous for telling stories of Black experience would be an understatement; exploring themes of Blackness and queerness, she provides a vital and much-needed space in the industry. Currently working on an exhibition and a feature film, Anna has big plans in the pipeline that are sure to be making waves. Or, in her works, “striking a balance between narrative storytelling, art film and photography”.
Anna Fearon: Colour + Movement (Copyright © Anna Fearon, 2022)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.