I'm Annie, a mother living in the New Forest in the South of England. I am part of the Unsplash team, building community and curating the thousands of photographs that are submitted weekly to the photography platform.
When I first dipped my feet into the world of photography I sought advice from my peers. The response I received wasn't encouraging, both as a new photographer and a woman.
'Advice' varied from "if you don't learn film photography first you'll never be a proper photographer" and "you can't call yourself a photographer unless you first shoot in black and white" to "just because you take photos it doesn't make you a photographer".
At the time I felt discouraged, but ultimately defiant.
I have been sharing my photography for free for a few years now and these days everything I shoot I share with others.
I don't want a career where I am employed to take the photos that other people want. I want to take the photos that I want, my way, when I want to.
Some people use my photos and never say thank you. Some people email me to say thank you. Some people mail me what they created with my photos. Some people send me money.
Sharing my photography for free doesn't pay my bills but it creates a whole network of connections that have helped, inspired and supported me. I've made new treasured friendships and I've grown personally.
Things don't need a monetary value to be worth something.
How I choose to share isn't for everyone, but it's right for me.
I don't want to follow a pre-defined career in photography. I want to follow my feelings and passion and see where it leads me. Ultimately if I don't have pre-conceived ideas or a plan I can never be disappointed with how my journey evolves.