As we go into every new year, it’s always a desire of ours to take a moment to step back and re-visit our core beliefs and understand why we create and how our own stories affect the way we approach what we do. There’s a certain level of artistry and nuance when it comes to photographing a wedding beyond how it looks, but ultimately how it feels.
I was recently interviewed by Voyage Atlanta, a publication that tells the stories of local artisans and businesses. Grateful for the way that this challenged me to look deeper, and put into words the philosophies and feelings that have shaped me through the years.
VA: So, tell us about yourself! How did you get started and where are you now?
HF: My name is Hannah Forsberg and I’m a fine art wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Atlanta. I always chuckle a little bit when people ask how I got started. Becoming a photographer was truly an accident. Growing up, I loved using my hands and knew early on that I wanted to be creative. I just wasn’t entirely sure how. I tried many mediums, from illustrating, painting, music; even sculpting, but it wasn’t until someone said “my camera takes pictures in the dark” that I really discovered what photography really was.
After purchasing a camera to use as a hobby and creative outlet, I eventually found myself photographing my first wedding at 16 after a recently-engaged friend said that they couldn’t afford a photographer. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was from that day on that I fell in love with the artistry and pace of it all and realized that photography could truly become a career if I wanted it badly enough.
VA: Tell us about your approach and style, what makes you, you?
HF: What drives my approach and my artistic voice now has a lot to do with my past. I was born to two people that I’ve never met in China. I had no name, no birthdate, and no information about who I was. The police found me as a newborn on a bench where they brought me to an orphanage. By God’s grace, I was placed in a loving home here in America and I’m so thankful for that part of my story.
That being said though, I have grown up not knowing whose smile I share or whose laugh I have. I have experienced some of life’s greatest milestones and happiest moments without having my biological family being a part of it. I have had many moments of wishing for a glimmer of that part of my story, a photograph of where I came from, to better understand my past. It’s a surreal feeling and a longing that has found its way back each year and has given me a sensitivity for the gravity and weight that heritage holds, and the gift that photography truly is.
I now service clients with events taking place all over the country and truly feel grateful to be trusted for the way I see the world.
VA: Can you tell us about your journey? Has it been easy, or have there been challenges you’ve had to overcome?
HF: I think that anyone who starts a business will always encounter hurdles and struggles – without rain, there are no flowers, as they say. What I’ve noticed time and time again is that in order to grow I must learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and that what got me “here”, will not get me “there”. It is a continuous lesson of learning, unlearning, and giving yourself grace, and realizing that the same lesson will keep presenting itself until you make the decision to honor your own intuition and boundaries.
VA: What are you most known for?
HF: I’m a fine art photographer primarily known for my wedding work, but also regularly photograph families and corporate projects. A common theme that we carry throughout all of our work is a sensitivity to the gravity and depth of the day and those in it, telling a story with sentiment and nuance. Our work is characterized by rich colors, joy, and movement. I always have a hard time describing my work, but others have said it’s modern yet classic, intimate, with the occasional trace of an editorial feel.
VA: Have you had recent projects that you’re really proud of? What are some of the greatest strengths that you bring to the table?
HF: We recently had a couple of our corporate projects/clients turn into a fun partnership with Pottery Barn, and it’s been fun to lean into that aspect of commercial work; it’s a completely different approach to photography and challenges me in the best way to think as a marketer first, and artist second.
One of my superpowers is my overall demeanor throughout a wedding day; I’m known for being able to create an atmosphere that is calm, and unhurried, which gives our clients the freedom they need to be fully present.