It's hard to pin down Annie Forrest's whereabouts. From London to Berlin, or more recently Mexico City, Annie defines herself as somewhat of a nomad. But when the pandemic hit, she came back to Canada. As soon as the Yukon border opened, she hoped on the road with her cameras, and some LomoChrome Purple in 35 mm and 120 and traveled for four weeks, across 4,465 miles. Although she usually prefers to work in collaboration with other artists, this solo trip was both energizing and invigorating to the photographer who ended up with an eerie body of work, inviting you to a journey through the wonders of the Yukon.
Hello Annie! It's great to have you here at Lomography. First off, can you tell us how you got started with photography?
In high school, I was introduced to analog photography in art class and became obsessed. I’d spend my lunch hours in the darkroom and fell in love with the analog process. Ever since I’ve kept a personal practice. Eventually, I made the leap to make it the primary focus of my career, and have loved pouring all my energy into it.
In such a digital age, why do you still shoot film?
I can be a very fast-moving person and I like that the nature of analog photography forces you to slow down. I feel more connected to my subjects and to the process. While there's still a technical intervention with the camera, I feel more present – so I guess it’s about a feeling. While the visual aesthetic of film can be replicated fairly closely in post, I didn’t become a photographer to sit behind a computer all day so I prefer to just get it right from the jump.
Can you tell us more about this series? When did you decide to shoot it?
For a long time, I’ve felt that I needed to explore more of my home country. I’ve roamed around so many places in this world, and it felt strange that I hadn’t explored my own backyard. When COVID-19 brought me home it was hard to think about the future or make plans, but I decided that I wanted to get a camper and follow the Gold Rush Trail to the Yukon. I didn’t know if it would be possible or if the roads would even be open. Luckily the Yukon border opened to British Columbia residents at the beginning of July, so I went for it.
Following the trail over 120 years after gold was discovered in the Klondike was a fascinating story to follow, giving me lots to consider as I explored the landscape, road, and towns along the way. As someone that loves working with people, traveling solo during a pandemic and strict social distancing challenged me to see and explore in a different way. These isolated places felt exponentially more so, with whole villages closed to the public, campgrounds nearly empty, and very little points of interaction. The sunlit the sky 24 hours a day at the peak of my journey in Dawson City, the dusty old towns looked surreal like movie-sets and the wild landscape appeared alien. The LomoChrome Purple really amplified this alien feeling of the experience.
After months of being confined inside, how did it feel to be out shooting?
It felt amazing to be out on the road, seeing new places, and really getting into the beauty of the north. The spring lockdown was the longest I’d been still in quite some time and I felt incredibly privileged to break out and be on the move. While I had been shooting during most of the lockdown, it was energizing to have new experiences and places to document.
How was it shooting on LomoChrome Purple?
I loved working with film that gives landscapes and architecture a bit of a psychedelic infusion. I really value having tools that can help alter the way we see things – without having to use photoshop. I had multiple cameras and film stocks going at one time, and it was fun looking for moments that felt ‘purple’.
From the photos you sent us, do you have a favorite? Can you tell us the story behind it?
The photo that brought me the most joy when I got my scans back was the image of the white dog bounding towards me. I was actually taking a photo of this little girl and her dog on the lakeside when I heard a sound and turned and caught this image instead. I had no idea if it would be in focus or anything but was so happy to see how it came out.
What are the next projects you are going to work on ?
I’m currently working on a new photo zine with images from my archive. I made a book last year of photos on tour with the band Orville Peck and really enjoyed the process and producing a tactile piece. Can’t wait to make a new one.