If you’ve stumbled upon Anna-Alexia Basile’s photography and got an overwhelming feeling of joy — we couldn’t blame you. Her work is bright, colorful, and like a shot of serotonin for your visual perception, which is exactly what drew us closer to her. In her pursuit of color all throughout the world, she has managed to capture the beauty of one-dimensionality and give it a backstory. What we, the viewers, can take away from her photography is that it’s not just about utilizing a solid colored wall, it’s about giving it the opportunity to become more, and mean more.
In Anna-Alexia’s work, we get to see different geometrical shapes, as well as a lot of contrasting colors and shadows; yet somehow she manages to make the main subject of the photo be the model (which in some cases is herself) and everything else falls secondary. Her creative use of space and props is out of the box, and what gives her the cutting edge.
But, that’s not all she has up her sleeve. Anna-Alexia is a public speaker, and Adobe Ambassador, and provides seminars on photography, style, and organization in addition to her photography career. Her clients include Levi’s, The Coveteur, The Real Real, and Vogue Eyewear — just to name a few. Without further ado in the latest installment of Cool Face of Bastet Noir, we give to you the thrilling and always inspiring ray of sunshine, Anna-Alexia.
Who is Anna-Alexia Basile?
Hi! I’m a San Francisco-based fashion, travel, and commercial photographer. I grew up splitting my time between tropical Florida and vibrant Italy — two places that really influence my vision today and that are the root of my love for color. In addition to my photography work, I wear many different hats, creative directing and styling on a variety of projects. I also teach a series of really fun and accessible classes on topics like Phone Photography, Self-Portraiture, and Closet Makeovers. Last year my partner and I moved into an inspiring new space and I’ve been feeling a rush of artistic energy from the structures we design and build together to bring our home to life. This space has felt like a fresh block of clay, and it’s been really fun to mold it together.
What’s your morning routine like?
Morning? Never heard of her! If I could sleep until 11 am every day I would. Now that I wake up earlier (*cough* cue my 30’s *cough*), I try to use my time in the morning to be still. If I’m being good I’ll start off with meditation before looking at my calendar or my phone. Our backyard gets a ton of sun and is blocked by the wind, so on a nice day, I’ll throw on a bikini, slather on some sunscreen and grab a sun hat and head outside to answer emails from the garden or chip chat with my BFF (and yes, I mean eat chips and chat).
Your photography is one that easily captures the eye — it’s bright, fun, and colorful! And most importantly, totally representative of your personality and unique to you. How has your photography style changed over the years and has there been a turning point where you knew that you’ve reached a place in your style you’re completely satisfied with?
Thank you! Exploring vibrant hues is a big driving force within my work, but it took several years of shooting to realize that color was my calling. After a few trips to vibrant, bright places where I’d made personal work, I started to realize how inspired shooting beyond a neutral palette made me feel. This love of color in my photography also extends to my wardrobe, which looks like one massive rainbow, and is often a major touch point in each photo.
I feel immense creative charge when I’m traveling and experiencing a new place for the first time, so a lot of my favorite work is shot abroad or in spaces that are new to me. I’m drawn to the human form and I love clothes, so I’ll often turn the camera on myself while adventuring somewhere new if I’m wearing something interesting. Self-portraiture has been a significant form of self-expression, as it allows me to take up space and explore my identity. I make work that I love but I’m constantly inspired by the possibility for growth and change too. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year, it is that we are all constantly shifting and evolving. I never know what’s coming next.
You have been a part of many amazing projects and created numerous beautiful photoshoots and concepts. Is there one in particular that stands out to you when you look back? Perhaps one where you had to creatively challenge yourself, or where you worked with a dream brand?
It’s really hard to narrow it down to one shoot — it’s kind of like asking someone to pick a favorite song…it’s impossible! That said, my favorite moments of making work always happen when I’m somewhere really dreamy and collaborating with people I love. I’m incredibly inspired by architecture, repeating shapes, shadows, and obviously color. When you add a super talented group of friends to the project you always end up mixing a potent potion of creative juices, and that’s where the magic happens. Some places I’ve particularly loved making work are at Bonfill’s Muralla Roja, Chefchaouen in Morocco, and in open flower fields of wild mustard along the side of any California road.
Three things you wish you knew before starting out?
1. Relationships are everything.
2. Be firm in your boundaries.
3. The best jobs are born from the work you make for yourself.
Biggest failure/setback in life, and what have you learned from it?
Health has been my biggest struggle lately, and I’m definitely still learning how to manage my mental and emotional space around it every day. Being healthy has always been deeply connected to my sense of self, and when that space is disrupted for a really long period of time I notice myself feeling destabilized and sad. I do my best to live in the present moment rather than future-trip. I feel most like myself when I’m building relationships and making work, so when I notice that I’m going to a dark space I try to refocus my energy and move in a different direction. I often think about something Dr. Joe Dispenza says — “if you focus on the known, you get the known. If you focus on the unknown, you create a possibility”.
Books that changed your life
1. Becoming Supernatural by Joe Dispenza — HIGHLY recommend this to anyone even remotely woo and science-driven.
2. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman — Don’t we all wanna know?! Take the quiz BEFORE reading the book!
3. Pretty much every Clue book (if you know, you know)
Favorite female empowerment speech
I love Amanda Gorman's TED Talk from 2018. It’s not overtly about female empowerment, but it felt empowering to me. This beautiful part speech/part poem is about the power of telling stories, understanding that art is inherently political, and not focusing on having the right answers but instead on asking the right questions. She articulates this so clearly in much of her poetic work by always asking charged and challenging questions. It’s really worth listening to! My favorite point that she offers during the speech is “What past do we stand on as a people, and what future, as a people, do we stand for?”
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