I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am a huge fan of Ben Hatke's. We own all of his Zita books, several other books he's illustrated, I'm planning on giving Julia's House for Lost Creatures to Resa this Christmas, and I know more than one Chestertonian who will be happy to see his illustrations in the new edition of The Ball and the Cross.
One day I was looking at his Facebook page (not in a creepy stalker way, okay? geesh!) and he shared an image from his wife's Instagram account. I was smitten and a little later I literally sent her a fan email via Ben's email account. "Hi Ben. Could you please pass this on to your wife? Hi Anna..." I'm totally not a weirdo. I promise.
But that's the story of how I found and began to follow Anna's IG account. It's gorgeous and interesting and, well, I'll let Anna do the rest of the talking and you can enjoy her thoughts and her gorgeous pictures.
What images do you try to capture for Instagram?
I try to capture moments of unexpected beauty that I find in the midst of the mess of daily work, mothering, etc. I like showing those moments because they happen alongside the other moments, the piles of laundry, screaming children, etc. and its a reminder to me and others that they exist in the midst of all that. I like to see that.
Do you have any sort of plan or set of rules for how you use IG?
Not really, I initially joined because as a sanguine/choleric I knew Facebook would be bad news for me and a major distraction. Instagram offered a way to share photos and keep up with my family. My husband and I made a pact: he does Facebook and I do Instagram. It's funny though, because for me Instagram has sort of morphed into a way to connect with other people who share a similar lifestyle and culture, i.e. natural foods, homeschooling, breastfeeding. Many of the folks I follow live in the country and keep small homesteads, but are part of this new young generation of back to the landers with iphones. I have also connected with some of my husbands friends, author and publishing professionals, and that makes me feel a connection to his world as well.
Do you filter? If yes, which ones are your favorites?
Yes I do. I use an ipad, and it takes grainy photos. No iphone here, so I just use just whatever looks best, captures the mood of the photo and helps with the graininess. I never use Kelvin. I just don't like it. (shrugs shoulders), not sure why.
Do you see IG as an evangelization tool and do you use it as such?
Ha! I actually made a conscious choice to be a public account at one point because I realized that it was one small way I could open my house to the stranger at the door. American life is very private, unnaturally private even, and as a Christian I have always loved how Christ encountered people, usually on the streets in the midst of their normal lives, and always first as persons. We don't have a lot of opportunities for that, especially those of us who stay at home raising children. So for me Instagram is like a little commons, a piazza if you will. We can encounter people "on the street." I like that Instagram offers me a chance to show my faith in my daily life and in a way that is natural and uncontrived. I do see IG as an evangelization tool but it is not my primary reason for using it. Lastly I do think the old adage holds true for this issue, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.
What is beautiful to you?
Oh gosh,where to start. . . Well, my husband is an artist so we talk about beauty a lot. I find beauty mostly in the natural world, in mountains and skies, in animal life and in the human body. And of course genuine human culture. I see beauty in the way a child plays and works when she is totally focused and absorbed. Children can be masters of play when we let them. It is beautiful to see that. I find beauty in books, in the sunlight on my morning cup of coffee, in my husband, in dear friendships, and in the high feasts Easter and Christmas in particular. Its everywhere! And now that we all have little cameras in our pockets we can share it constantly. Crazy huh?
What do you hope people come away with from looking at your pictures?
I hope that it changes, in whatever small way, the prevailing misconception that a woman who makes a home is somehow not empowered. I hope it makes the idea of a woman staying at home a more powerful image. A woman at home is not necessarily any one thing. She can be empowered by her home domain, or enslaved by it. It's all in how she chooses to use it. She can step back and let society tell her what to consume and how to behave, or she can take control and make her space productive and stimulating. It's an invaluable space that she controls. It is where the work of peace is begun. I think this idea applies to all women -not just those of us who stay at home. I hope my images paint life at home in an inspiring light.
You can find Anna...
on Instagram at @annamberto
You can find her husband, Ben Hatke at his website: www.benhatke.com.
I hope you're having fun and maybe discovering some new favorites for your IG feeds. I've got a few more Instagrammers lined up in this series and if you missed the first, please check out Nancy's interview here.