Fame arrives in the blink of a shutter
HPHS junior's photography hobby turns into international exposure
|Photo by Helen Williams
Ann He reads the recent issue of PaperCity that features her work on the cover
Photos by Ann He
|If you ask Ann He what it's like to see her fashion photography published in Nike ads and in Elle, Vogue and PaperCity, this is her answer: "It all happened by mistake, really."|
Happenstance may have played a role, but Ann's impressive portfolio and track record reflect both amazing talent, imagination and a considerable amount of elbow grease.
Ann, a junior at HPHS, says the snowball of success started rolling in 2011 when she was selected as one of five finalists in Seventeen magazine's "Pretty Amazing" Contest. Ann was just 16 at the time, and she had already done professional work for Nike and created a website promoting her work. The door of opportunity swung wide open. Ann's work has been published in Vogue Girl Korea, Elle Girl Korea, The Wallflower, and several other magazines and websites. Most recently, her work was featured on the Bravo TV show America's Next Top Model and on the cover of PaperCity.
It's enough to make anyone's head spin, but Ann's balance remains firmly in place. In fact, she says she considers photography to be a hobby, not a career choice.
"It's funny because now everyone thinks I want to be a professional photographer," she muses. "But that's not what I want to do for a living or study in college. I want to study neuroscience. The area that interests me the most is the work on regenerative brain function."
Ann credits HPHS photography teacher Chris Fullwood with her love for the art form.
"Mr. Fullwood showed us how to explore new techniques like using emulsions, in addition to experimenting with different shutter speeds to create amazing light and motion effects," she said. "He pushed me beyond what I thought was possible through photography, and it really captured my imagination."
Ann's interests range far and wide. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post's teen edition, she runs cross country, dances hip hop, reads voraciously and has a special weakness for Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky's YouTube videos on brain research. Ann said her work at a special needs camp over the summer in San Antonio made her even more interested in studying neurology when she heads off to college.
"I'm actually considering colleges close to New York so I can do some work for fashion agencies there while I'm studying medicine," she said. "I'd like to stay involved in fashion photography - it's very exhilarating."
Another thing about Ann: she's a planner. She already has her retirement plan mapped out.
"I want to convert a van into a portable darkroom so I can go on road trips to New Mexico, California and around the U.S. national parks and take pictures in those beautiful settings," she said. "I want to bring lots of people with me and share that experience."
Whether it's in the field of medicine or fashion photography, there's one thing for sure: Ann He is one to watch.
A photo gallery of Ann's work is available here.
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