Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Overbeek.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Hannah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I got into photography when my aunt and uncle gave me their old camera. I’d just gotten my driver’s license and was eager to do anything that involved driving and getting out of the house so I ended up taking that camera out to explore Grand Rapids, the city I’m from. My love for photography grew from wandering around the town I’d grown up in and realizing it was a whole lot more interesting than I thought. I got on Instagram around this time and started sharing the photos I took. Somehow, this resulted in people in the Grand Rapids area finding me on Instagram and reaching out. I started going out for coffee with people who got in touch with me through Instagram and talking with them about photography and whatever else came up during our time together. This was unusual for me because prior to this point I’d considered myself to be pretty shy. Getting into photography and using it as a way to meet people really brought me out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot about myself and made friends along the way. Over time I expanded the things I photographed to include paid portrait and event photography in the Grand Rapids area. This was all happening while I was in high school. After high school I moved to Chicago for college and continued to pursue photography as a hobby. I wasn’t seeking to make money off of it at this time, it was more about exploring this new city I was in and documenting it through my photos. When I moved to Chicago I was very interested in photographing landscapes from rooftops and abandoned buildings. I got involved in Chicago’s photography community and met a lot of really talented, inspiring people. Over time my photography began to shift to different subject matter. I became much more interested in unexpected objects in everyday places and the other quirky things you spot walking around a big city like Chicago. I also experimented more with portraiture. I did different photography jobs while all this was happening. That’s where I am today, just photographing the things that make me happy. Photography has impacted my life in a lot of ways. Once you start paying attention in the way you do when you’re out with a camera, you see the world that way all the time. I can’t turn it off – I notice everything now. I love that though because there’s so much to see, so many little things you can easily overlook if you aren’t really paying attention to the details.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has and it hasn’t. I’m not looking to be a full-time freelance photographer so I don’t face the same challenges as other photographers who have photography as their sole source of income. Right now the biggest struggle for me is making the ideas I have in my head come to life on a college student’s budget. I have concepts I Want to execute but I’m limited in what I can do at this point in my life which can get very frustrating. It’s like once you have these ideas pop into your head you don’t want to settle for photographing anything less than that exact idea. I want to rent a location and buy props and make things look the way they do in my head. I’ve been able to do this on a few occasions but not as often as I’d like. That’s something that’ll get better over time though. I also struggled with deciding whether or not photography was something I wanted to pursue as a full-time job. I realized that as much as I enjoy the photography jobs I get, photography would probably lose its appeal for me if it became my full-time job. At this point it’s a creative outlet, a form of self-expression, and stress relief. I value the purpose it serves in my life and I’m fine with the way things are right now.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Hannah Overbeek Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
What do I do? Good question. I photograph details and little snapshots of everyday life – forgotten objects, the decay of well-used places and things, the out-of-place things one might see walking around Chicago. I photograph people. Sometimes I do that spontaneously, sometimes it’s very thoroughly planned. As far as what I might be “known for” goes, I’d say it’s those things I just listed: portraits and, as I like to call it, photos of trash. I think what sets me apart is what catches my eye and what I consider to be worthy of being photographed.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I guess you could say luck has made me visible to people online who’ve reached out to me to meet up or work together. You could also say luck caused people who wanted to hire me to find me online. Luck, whether you believe in it or not, puts you in the right place at the right time. That’s not to say hard work isn’t important or anything like that because an artist/businessperson can make themselves visible to the people they’re looking for through hard work and strategic marketing. But I do think there’s a certain level of randomness to it all. Hard work is the foundation but part of where your artistic career takes you is those unexpected things that happen.
- Website: hannahoverbeek.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/hannahoverbeek
- Twitter: twitter.com/hannahoverbeek
All images by Hannah Overbeek