Neil Craigan Photography | Portrait of an Immigrant: Anna

Portrait of an Immigrant: Anna

November 20, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Anna is a Russian immigrant. After several years of waiting Anna’s family emigrated to the United States in 1996. Anna, the second of three children, was twelve years old when her family arrived in Illinois. She said, “It was hard, but at that age you make friends fast.” She remembers the move being more challenging for her older sister who was already a teenager at the time.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Anna said she enjoyed a “happy childhood.” She played with her friends and attended the Russian Baptist church without any concerns of persecution. She was educated at the local public school; she also attended a music and an art school. It was at art school that Anna began to find the focus and passion for her career.

Anna’s family moved to Minnesota. While attending high school she began working for a photo studio where she learned the art of portrait photography, eventually becoming a trainer for other photographers. Anna continued her education at the University of Minnesota where she focused her study on art. It was here that Anna would refine the artistic vision that brings to her photography.

Reflecting on her life in America, Anna says she loves the U.S.A. with its respect for other cultures and religious freedom. At the same time she values her roots and heritage as a Russian immigrant and, like many first generation immigrants, feels a there is a small disconnect in her life that others cannot relate to her childhood.

Anna has found her niche in wedding and portrait photography preferring to shoot with a medium format, film camera. This allows her to create a look and feel that is slowly disappearing in the world of digital photography. She notes how she is, “Passionate about what I do,” and “enjoys capturing emotions.” This is evident in the beauty of her art, which can be viewed at It is also apparent in the way she comes alive when sharing about her art. Anna believes there is joy to be found in “letting your creativity out.”

Viewing her art as a means of, “helping people,” she values the importance of connecting with and getting to know her clients. She hopes that through her interactions with them they will, “see the love of God through of me.”

Aesthetics and beauty are important elements in finding true enjoyment and pleasure in life. Through her work, Anna is able to bring joy and pleasure to the world.


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