This week, Joelle and Sara are joined by our 2019-20 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide photographer Anjali Pinto. Anjali is a photographer and writer based in Chicago, and resident local to Andersonville! The new edition of the Neighborhood Guide will be distributed around Andersonville next week.
“I made much better photography when I made relationships with people and tried to tell stories over longer periods of time.”
Listen to Episode 62 with Anjali Pinto!
Here are some references from Episode 62 that you may want to check out:
- Anjali grew up in Peoria, IL, but she considers herself a Chicagoan. Her father is from Bombay, India and her mom is from Peoria and the two met while working at Cook County Hospital. Anjali went to school in Missouri for photojournalism and moved back up to Chicago in 2010. Learn more about Anjali here.
- Anjali didn’t discover photographer until age 15 or 16. Her father didn’t know how to use his new digital camera at the time, and Anjali commandeered it to teach him the ropes. After seeing her talent, her father encourage her to enroll in night photography classes at the community college to learn how to properly develop film the “old school” way.
- After school, Anjali worked for Lettuce Entertain You for six years in advertising before reconsidering her career path after the sudden death of her husband.
- She has lived in Andersonville for eight years now and originally moved in with her sister after college. Shooting for the 2019-20 Neighborhood Guide was the ideal assignment to Anjali; she loves being able to throw on a backpack and walk everywhere. She enjoys spending her weekdays here, but makes sure to visit friends elsewhere in the City on the weekends.
- Before shooting for the Guide, Anjali thought Great Lakes Clinical Trials (5149 N Ashland) was some kind of lab, but wasn’t sure what it was all about until she met owner Steve Saytek during his photo session. She was thrilled to learn about all of the clinical trials they conduct for Alzheimer’s research.
- Anjali shares a studio with six other women and co-collaborators and draws inspiration from all kinds of people in her life. She firmly believes in making work that she’s passionate about without necessarily waiting for a paid job, and stepping up and making the ask for those she wishes to photograph.
- Anjali recently released her photography zine, Body Talk, a 24 page full color publication of Anjali’s body positive nude photo project. Her friend, Adam Jason Cohen, curates a print zine festival each year at the Ace Hotel, and the first year Anjali gave away something she’d already published for free. Going into this year, she wanted a polished publication with a striking cover to sell at the fest in March. She put a call out on her social media for nude photo shoots, and immediately had over 25 inquiries. She made additional specific calls for a wider diversity of subjects after that.
- Much of the editorial content for Body Talk comes from Anjali’s followers on Instagram and prompts that she gave them to answer questions about their bodies and personal images. She found that followers loved to participate because it was anonymous, and “when you give them a platform to be honest, they’ll be totally and brutally honest.” Stay tuned to Anjali’s website for further information about future print runs of Body Talk!
- Sara asks Anjali what it’s been like to be so open and honest on social media in general. Anjali comments that it’s been a double-edged sword; she posted every day for a year memories from her life with her husband as a method to cope with her grief and needed an easy way to reach out when not wanting to leave her apartment. Sometimes, now though, she finds it hard to give so much of herself so often.
- Anjali is now contemplating going back to school to study psychology and social work. She’s starting to recognize the legacy of her Dad’s work as a social worker, and has been exploring that route.
- Her advice to young entrepreneurs is to make connections as early as possible. She strongly believes Chicago is a small enough market that people really want to support each other and pass jobs between contacts. One of the best skills to have in photography is, “open mindedness about where your next paycheck is coming from.”
- If able to trade places with an Andersonville business for a day, Anjali would switch with Lost Larson (5318 N Clark) and would love to work as a croissant baker. Anjali’s favorite thing to eat in Chicago is dinner at Cho Sun Ok on Lincoln Ave. She’s also a fan of Hopleaf (5148 N Clark), and Lulu Café and enjoys cooking at home.
Anjali is one of several creatives behind the new edition of the 2019-20 Neighborhood Guide: this year we welcomed back Michael Newman of estudiotres as designer, and we also used beautiful Midsommarfest photography by Starbelly Studios. Our local printer, Fisheye Graphic Services, INC., was the mastermind behind bringing the digital form to printed reality!
To request a mailed copy of the 2019-20 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide, please fill out our request form, or plan to pick one up in person at Midsommarfest, June 7-9 from the Andersonville Chamber booth!