We had a chance to meet virtually with Anna Capaldi, one of our very first Art of the Woman three-year members, to learn about her experience with photography, her passions, her creative processes and to hear her story. Anna is from the Levittown, PA area, the first suburb in the US, where homogeneity was the norm, driving her to want to create out of the fear of mediocrity. She says that all the houses there were designed to look the same, an aesthetic that promoted a culture and desire for sameness among the people who lived there. As she grew up, nature became an obvious inspiration; the way light creates shadows, the way a cat curls up in a ball, the “S” curves in the human form. She loves animals of all kinds, and has a special affection for horses, having been riding since she was eleven. During her college years, digital photography was still a long way off and the cost of film photography discouraged Anna from pursuing it. By 1998, however, she had an established career in technology and she took the plunge and bought her first camera; a Nikon N90 consumer grade film camera. From that moment, she has been hooked!
Anna’s other many talents range from drawing, mixed media, painting and writing. She has even started a new project utilizing a doll house in which she will bury “secrets”. She will use it to let go of the “magical thinking” that is often taught to young girls, and most importantly, to tell a story, that no family is perfect. We can’t wait to see the results. Anna has been working with Pfizer for the past 19 years as a clinical scientist and privacy steward. She makes sure their patients rights are protected and says that some amount of creativity also informs good decision making in her professional life. She loves having a “seat at the table”, the opportunity to organize things and to be able to educate students entering the corporate world with her knowledge of the history of Good Clinical Practices. Roshelle, Anna’s life partner for more than thirty years, described her as passionate about life, horses and injustice. Having lost Roshelle in 2021, Anna has been struggling with grief, feeling like a big wet blanket has been thrown over her ever since. The Dalai Lama says that “the best way to keep a memory of that person, the best remembrance, is to see if you can carry on the wishes of that person” or to live the life they wanted us to have. Anna says she is “OK enough," a phrase she learned from a fellow Art of the Woman member, Yevette Hendler, who also recently lost her husband. Anna has been part of a grief sharing group, which has been a help to her, as well as knowing that others who have suffered similar losses, and have also struggled under the weight of that wet blanket, have somehow been able to move on. This year she plans on traveling to Italy and Israel just as Roshelle would have wanted her to do.
Prior to meeting Anna at Dave Frei’s studio in Allentown, PA, back in 2018, Anna had taken photo tours to Font Hill, Death Valley, and abandoned locations with other groups, but she says that the finest work she has created has been during events with Art of the Woman. She has exhibited at the Vermont Photoplace Gallery, online, and in juried shows at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem and has won several awards. One of her images was published in Black and White Magazine in 2012. She also loves the personal photo work she has created to tell stories. You can see more of Anna’s work at https://www.annacapaldi.com Anna says she enjoys our events because it gives her the opportunity to build a story with a model, about their journey, and their comfort with using their bodies for creative expression. She has always valued collaboration, especially at our events, where communication and discussion brings a whole new dimension to the work being created. She expresses herself in black and white in her work when color is not a part of the story. She creates in color when it is necessary to the tale being told. She uses mixed media when 2D won’t work. Anna is very excited about participating in future events, continues to be an enthusiastic advocate for Art of the Woman and is one of the most positive forces among us. She is looking to spend more time with her art, showing up and letting more creativity in. We eagerly look forward to working with her again this summer.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Anna!
Cindy, Diane and Zinn
Above: Portrait of Anna by Cindy Karchner, with artist Tyrone Webb's beautiful painting. Tyrone is a resident artist at the Banana Factory.
See some of Anna's dramatic black and white work below.
Lunatic Asylum (published in Black and White Magazine, 2012)