Tell us about yourself, Anna. What makes you, uniquely you? Can you tell me a bit about your background, your hobbies, your human experience?
My name is Anna and I’m originally from France. Ever since my young teenage years, I’ve had a thirst and longing for new horizons all my life. I moved to the United States alone, on the eve of my fifteenth birthday and since then have lived in Cambodia, Spain, China, the United States, and Panama. I discovered my passion for the environment while studying conservation in Cambodia, when I was eighteen. The climate crisis was already well underway, but it was the urgency of it all that really did push me to pursue a long-term career in environmental filmmaking and non-profit photography. I directed my first full-feature documentary, Pursuing the Monarchs, at the age of nineteen and worked for non-profits all around the world as videographer and photographer.
Can you explain your relationship with your camera? Where do you draw inspiration from and do you carry a core goal with your work?
My core goal with photography is to re-create visions and convey emotions. Many photographers will tell you their camera is an extension of themselves, my story is different. I see cameras as tools. A tool I have chosen to tell stories and to create art, in the same way that I could have chosen a pen if I were a writer. My camera exists outside of me, and lately, I’ve been trying to practice seeing the world anew through these tools. It can be so hard to reinvent yourself.
Your brand, Not Just Colour is a product that allows for photographers from amateur to expert to produce world class content. Where did this product come from and how did you identify this need?
Not Just Colour is the product of two creative minds, mine and Jake’s, my partner. We both are self-made photographers and filmmakers who have had no schooling in the realm of production and filmmaking. We have learned our trade from experience and also through the mistakes we have made and the challenges we have faced. We have no regrets when it comes to the way we have grown professionally, but we also know we could have benefited from a mentor at the start of our journey. This content creation business can be so elitist and un-collaborative and we would like to change that. Not Just Colour is part of the answer and we hope to continue growing to help as many creators as we can start their journeys with the right tools in hand.
Your brand is clearly focused on a few pillars. Climate Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility are clear with your 5% for the Planet pledge. It also appears that you are offering education and workshops for your community and sharing your knowledge as a humanitarian and an artist. Where do these pillars of your brand's identity come from?
Somehow, I cannot imagine creating a business that does not give back to the planet. We are in the midst of a very serious climate crisis and everything I do, both professionally and personally, somehow connects back to the earth. There is no good photography to be taken on a broken planet and right when Jake and I started dreaming up this project I remember saying: “Let’s do it, but let’s make it at least 5% for the planet. I won’t do it any other way”. It was that simple really.
Tell us a bit about your skills and some amazing projects that you are really proud of. Also, what are some of your film goals and aspirations you have with your talent?
I’m very proud of my first feature documentary, Pursuing the Monarchs, which you can stream on Water Bear at the moment. It came at the price of a lot of sacrifice and hard work, but I think it did a great job at raising awareness around topics such as the importance of pollinators and the adverse effects of deforestation and industrialized agriculture. I’m looking forward to finding the time to dream up my next project and this time, I would like to focus it more on the human aspect of the climate crisis.
When you look at the possibilities of a film or a photo's impact on climate change and world problems, where do you see these mediums making amazing strides?
We are undoubtedly living in a very visual society at the moment. We look around us and we are surrounded by pictures, videos, interactive screens and alike. Film and photography have the incredible opportunity to bring attention to subjects that so dearly need it at the moment, and I think the next big challenge is finding ways to appeal to the younger generations and instill some activism in their lives. In a way, to use screens and visual storytelling to pull them out of it, and take a moment to look around at what is at stake of losing.
Where can people find you or get in touch? How can people get involved in ultimately giving back to things you truly care about? What are some projects, productions and adventures you're really proud of and would like others to know about?
Anyone can contact me either via my websites greenwanderlust.org and notjustcolour.com, or directly via Instagram through the handle @annalechah. I love to collaborate with other like-minded creators so I encourage anyone to reach out with a project or idea! If you would like to learn more about me, you can also check out my Youtube channel, focused primarily on sustainability and low impact travel.
Pursuing the Monarchs // full-length documentary from Anna Chahuneau on Vimeo.