Anna Beeke was a student looking for a photo project when she decided to explore the San Juan Islands in Washington, after her parents mentioned she’d been conceived there. “The images that resonated the most with me were in the forest,” she says. She began photographing woodlands around the country. Aware of the importance of forests in myth, Beeke felt her artistic exploration followed the arc of a journey into the unknown, “and then eventually you come out of the forest and you have this better sense of yourself, or sense of the world.” Shelving her strict documentary education, Beeke included herself in the photos, encouraged by photographer Elinor Carucci, one of her teachers at the International Center of Photography.
To fund the “Sylvania” series, Beeke applied for a small grant from Daylight Books. She didn’t win the grant, but Daylight decided to publish a book of the work anyway. The Kickstarter campaign Beeke launched last fall to fund the book’s production raised more than $29,000, boosted by a feature on The New York Times Lens blog.
Beeke says applying for grants, scholarships and juried exhibitions has helped fund “Sylvania,” and her new project on the culture aboard cruise ships. The rest of her funding “comes from my own shallow pockets.” Beeke shoots weddings, takes commercial assignments and works part-time in a restaurant. “[I] am forever broke, because all of my spare money goes into shooting trips or gear.”