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Guest Blogger number 2: The lovely Anna McGrane

Updated: Oct 1, 2018

Anna is an extraordinary young woman who is making a name for herself with her exquisitely intimate photography and film work and her passion for changing the approach towards mental health and recovery, especially in young people .She recently wore my very special Frida Medusa kimono at a talk she gave on mental health and young people at the V&A as part of the GurlsTalk project. I'm very proud to know and love her.

Here's Anna in her own words:

I first started making films and taking photographs at the age of 12.

I’d never felt completely comfortable after the transition from primary to secondary school and when a film competition arose, it felt like something I could really invest time and expression into. Hours alone in the art block, teaching myself to edit, turned into a passion for creating film.

It was around this time that I developed difficulties with my mental health, leading me to leave school at a young age . The visual art of film and photography followed me through this time, whether it was through forcing myself out of the car to engage in a shoot I’d organised or watching something to keep myself afloat. I eventually found my way out of the abyss and over the years have a renewed passion for using film as a channel for awareness of real issues eg mental health, addiction etc. I also have a particular love for capturing families.

An aim for me has always been to make people feel something through what I do. Photography and film has endless ability to entwine itself with the emotions, capturing a person; the elation radiating across their face when they laugh, the intensity of a moment between loved ones, passion, anguish, adoration, immortalising those who are no longer with us and cherishing the ones we care for the most.

Diane and I had been in contact with each other online before we met and when we eventually did, it felt like I’d always known her. She and her wonderful family have become particularly important to me. Recently we discussed the making of a children’s cropped kimono to celebrate the birthday of my young cousin. Despite her being all of 10 years young, she is a wise soul and a kindred spirit to me. When she was 5 she would say to me ‘I love you all the way out to space where the gold is’ which was magically included in gold across the back and her particular love for fluffy feeling material was added in the form of two bunnies!

Girl stands between two white dogs wearing a kimono jacket with bunnies on
The lucky recipient with her new art jacket. Photo by Anna

Diane is different to others in her approach as she asks for the importance of the piece, specific colours, words and imagery and then brings to life the most soulful clothing you will ever see, from only these simple descriptions. The finished piece was more than I could have ever asked for and everyone who has seen it is enthralled, the most common remark being ‘Every time I look at it, I see a new detail’. This mirrors the way I feel about Diane, who I now refer to as Diamond, I learn something new from her every time I see her. Creative souls have a way of finding each other and Diane’s creations have their own unique way of connecting others too, with so much depth. I love you Diamond.

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