Image credit Vicky Papas Vergara
To those of us in the photographic industry, Anie Zanazanian needs no introduction. Anie is The other half of one of the top wedding photographers in the world, she’s both wife and business partner of Yervant who is celebrated as being ‘the most influential wedding photographers of our time ‘ and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 by WPPI.
Outside of the Yervant brand, which Anie has helped build into a global name, Anie is a respected creative and business woman in her own right. Creator of Pink Marketing and owner of Anie Z Couture, Anie is a sales and marketing goddess who has passionately helped grow creative businesses. Anie loves nothing more than to share her knowledge and of course, get creative.
A huge inspiration to both myself and many other photographers in our industry, Anie is a powerful woman on a mission to create. Her energy is infectious, her love of love oozes from within, her sheer honesty is refreshing and her courage to keep growing and finding new experiences, creative challenges and share all she has learnt, with passion, is everything I aspire to be.
She’s inspirational, she’s driven, she’s at a point in her life where most would feel she was at the top of her game, yet she has this wonderful way about her that makes you feel she is always at the beginning of something new, always learning and exploring creativity. Her curiosity, honesty and openness makes her real and her fierce courage means she’s never afraid to throw herself out there behind her next creative adventure.
Anie Zanazanian – The Inner Creative
Tell me about your creativity – who and what inspires you? Anything ‘outside the square’, whether in fashion, photography, arts inspire me endlessly and allow me to expand my horizons and limitations to push further and come up with something more than I thought I could.
What is the life experience that shaped your life the most? I had to stop and think hard before I decided to answer this question as the truth is, it is in fact a highly personal experience.
Life experience that has shaped me the most – my imperfect relationship with my mother. For as long as I can remember, I was never ‘good enough’, ‘pretty enough’, ‘smart enough’ and any other measure of ‘being loved’ along those lines that a child yearns for acceptance, love and nurturing.
So, I strived harder than my peers at any age, at any time, whether in play or school, in uni and in career, as this had become my ‘way of living.’ I did not realise early on that this filtered down even to my hobbies, then to becoming a wife then a mother. I strived to outdo, I strived to do more than the rest, I strived to be the best or… nothing.
Just because I needed that one person’s acknowledgement, one person’s respect, one persons credit which is translated as ‘love’ at the end. It took me over my 50 years of age to finally dissect many profound experiences and to understand that at the end, it was not my fault, not at all. It was only my perception and translation of a lifetime of experiences which stemmed from an insecure adult in the role of a mother who felt and believed in their subconscious mind that they had failed, so she pushed her daughter harder and harder.
Now, having grown emotionally and come through the other side of this part of my journey I see the gifts my mother gave me; and am so grateful for who I am because of them. It took a long time to heal, to stop living with the guilt, the overwhelming feeling of never being enough, the blame. My Mother shaped me and continues to do that today. I’ve learnt (and am continually learning) to love both myself and my Mother for all of what she has shown me. Today, I see just how much our relationship has contributed to my vision and my dreams for my future. At the end, I have seen how my Mother was the power behind it all, how she challenged me to strive and be my version of more and I both love and thank her for it.
How has this reflected in your creativity? Usually as revenge. Do more, do better than the last, do better than anyone else and prove a point…. But the point was, I was Ok, regardless of the result and the comparison. It is Ok to be Ok, as long as one is enjoying the experience and does not need to ‘win’ at all costs.
What drives you to keep evolving creatively? Now that I have reached my own emotional adulthood, I create for the sake of letting go and not proving anything to anyone. I create in a different way, I don’t push for perfection, I just let creativity take its course and then sit back and actually enjoy the outcome for whatever it is. It is much easier and definitely more enjoyable. I do it all for me now and not for acknowledgement.
What are you really passionate about? LOVE ! Just love. See love in everyone and everything.
What is an absolute no for you? Child abuse! Mental or physical, an ABSOLUTE NO!
What are you most curious about in life right now? I am truly curious at how social media is shaping our youth. I am rather concerned about it. Much self worth is measured by the number of ‘likes’ on a post. It may have started innocently but I believe new generations regard as true what is on social media as a form of belonging, being loved, being OK. ‘Selfies’ alone play a huge part of this distorted belief. There are so many easily attainable apps now to make a cellphone photo look softer, slimmer etc that today’s young are growing up in a society of dangerously tarnished self worth and self image.
What are your biggest life lessons to date? Never judge anyone for the way they just behaved. It may just be that they have come through a ‘journey’ that makes them behave in a certain way. Never look at the result, look at the journey that shaped it.
How did your parents help shape you? Yin and Yang could never have applied more appropriately in my case. A mother who never saw positivity and a father who had no limits in providing me love and laughter, nurturing and wisdom to see through so much.
Who was the one person that influenced you the most and how did they helped shape who you are today? My father. I have learnt compassion through him, I have learnt about giving back, I have learnt about loving unconditionally, I have learnt to see love in everyone and most of all I learnt to hand back baggage people can give you. “It is not mine to fix” is embedded in my mind and I no longer accept the ‘gift’ of others’ baggage’s’.
What one thing are you currently working on trying to improve? Temper! I flare up all too quickly! I am still trying to breath deeper and take time before I react to something that upsets me deeply.
What has been your biggest obstacle in life and what did you learn from it? Being a ‘Yes’ person, taking on more than I can handle, taking others’ problems as my own and trying to fix them.
How have you used challenging emotional experiences to expand your creativity? In the long past, as vengeance in order to prove a point, of late, in peace and not expecting anything back like recognition, acknowledgement or any compliments.
What was your life defining moment that shaped you into the person/creative you are today ? Realising that one does not have to conform. When I learnt that being me is absolutely OK, it affected many factors of my life and not just creativity.
What is the one creation your heart is calling you to create? Costumes for theater or movies. I yearn to do this and if I had life over again, I would pursue a career path in this area.
What is your vision for your future? Your hopes, goals and dreams? Future is always pink for me, there is so much to do and not enough time. I hope to finish a series of watercolours and exhibit them. I long to work on the set of a movie and create a few costumes.
What do you want to be remembered for? Love. I love to love, it’s all or nothing for me, I love and I want to be loved back. I do anything and everything with love, I would like to be remembered for that.
How has accessing your authentic creativity impacted your life? It has brought such peace Into my life. Being able to create and have no boundaries have freed so many self imposed limitations.
What were you most afraid of when you started following your passion and how did you overcome those fears? I was afraid of not succeeding, I used to believe that unless I make a serious career out of it and run a business from it, it would be not worth pursuing. When I realised that my creativity, whether in my couture work or my artwork, don’t have to make any money as such, they are just because I loved creating them, I let go of fears of failure and became even more creative.
Do those fears still show up today? How do you keep pushing through them? Of course, the devil shows up every now and then, but I have learnt to not listen to his messages and go with what makes me feel good and expect no returns.
When was the last time you attended any kind of learning/development workshop/programme and what was it? Recently I did a course in Image Transfer, such fun! I transferred photographs onto surfaces like wood and metal, I transferred my watercolour images on canvas and fabric backgrounds. Gifted them and brought joy to the receiver and tremendous joy to me.
What impact has that had? That I can do what I want and there are no boundaries in creativity.
How important has personal development been to your life, creativity and business goals? 100% in every way! I strongly believe that if one can’t see deeply within themselves, they will never understand anyone else. This is important in work and play.
What are you celebrating right now? My 2 sons. I know I brought up balanced, happy, emotionally and mentally secure human beings who have no reason to doubt themselves, who can do anything they put their minds to and if they fail, it’s absolutely OK.
If you could speak to the heart and soul of all creatives what would be the words you would want them to know? There are no rules, no measures, no standards in creativity. It is all up to you and how you love it.
Have the last word … what is the one question I never asked that you really wanted to answer ?
How is it being married to another creative? This is challenging and yet can be fun, it is frustrating and yet fulfilling, you definitely learn that there are no rules in creativity, it is as wide, as tall as narrow or as small you want it to be. Creativity has no boundaries.
For every person inspired by you, including myself, THANK YOU for sharing.
Anie’s starting up her new facebook page – check her gorgeous designs