Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Hoghton.
Anna, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am an award-winning poet and filmmaker, who is passionate about people and the environment. I used to live in Bristol, England where I was part of a two-person film production company called Pixillion. I worked with the company director Remco Merbis. We met a lot of amazing people through our film projects and got to see inside these people’s worlds and learn about their stories. But these stories were rarely featured in the films we made and we always found it disappointing when we weren’t able to share the amazing insights we’d had from these people, most of whom were creative craftsmen and women.
We wanted a platform through which to share what we’d learned from the people we met and allow others a peek into the places these inspiring people exist within. In a world full of darkness and despair, it felt more important than ever to share stories of hope, creativity, and joy; to share stories of how people make lives, not just livings; and to show what drives these remarkable people to keep striving to make their world, and the world at large a better place. We didn’t want it to be about companies or organizations, these were inspiring individuals being driven by something inside them.
So ‘Make a Place’ was born. M/A/P is a photo-journalism series about makers and places. Through maker’s eyes, we look at the places that shaped them, the places that stayed with them, and the place they now make from. The focus is on lifestyle and philosophy. We started the project in the U.K. I interviewed people and Remco shot the photos. I’ve since been traveling in the states and M/A/P has gone global. Here I met Teri Bocko, a phenomenal photographer, who has been shooting with me in L.A. We’ve met some amazing people with wonderful philosophies and inspiring lives here from a Hawaii-born surfboard shaper in Venice Beach (Guy Okazaki) to a creature-making ceramist in Highland Park (Linda Hsiao).
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
M/A/P has been fairly smooth-going so far. I have been amazed at how positively people respond to the project! Everyone we show it to seems to get something from it and that’s wonderful to me. It’s exactly what we wanted. I’ve often heard people describe the photography as soothing and the stories as refreshingly human and needed in the capitalist world we live it. These are hopeful stories that focus on the good in life and in people and I love that that’s how they come across. When I first started traveling I was worried about finding another photographer whose style would complement Remco’s.
More than this, it was important that the photographer had a certain personality too – we go into people’s homes to do the interviews and they have to feel relaxed and comfortable with us so I needed someone who was respectful and personable. I was so lucky to find Teri Bocko. Her style is so perfect and she’s one of the loveliest human’s I’ve ever met. That’s something I do relish about the project – all the great people I get to meet! We’re still working out how to make enough money from it to cover our travel and time but for the time being it’s just a joy to be part of it and connected to and connecting a community of makers all over the world!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Make a Place – what should we know?
“Some people look for beautiful places, others make a place beautiful.”
A place is much more than geographical coordinates. We make pilgrimages to places, remember the dead in places. We gather for celebrations in places.
A place can matter to lots of people for different reasons; or to one person for only one. Places can evoke powerful feelings – feelings as individual as our own fingerprints.
M/A/P is a photo-journalism series about makers and places. Through maker’s eyes, we look at the places that shaped them, the places that stayed with them, and the place they now make from. We’re interested in how someone makes a life, not just a living. It’s about individuals, not companies or organizations. The focus is on lifestyle and philosophy. An online platform for makers to share their thoughts and inspiration.
I think the company is different from others because of this philosophical focus and because of our commitment to making it about makers and their places. The photography is distinctive and the writing is poetic. The makers we profile are carefully selected because they share an aesthetic. I’m proud of the people in our collection. I’m proud of the platform. I think theirs a wholesomeness to it that is sort of magic.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My colleagues Remco Merbis, who co-founded the project with me, Teri Bocko, who is M/A/P’s L.A. photographer and Lara Candido Porter who has written some of the English stories.
- Website: https://www.makeaplace.net/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_makeaplace/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/_makeaplace