You might remember Anne Geddes, whose glossy portraits of babies dressed in little flower hats or posing like little sleeping fairies once ruled every Hallmark greeting card store shelf. But these days Geddes says she is struggling and the Internet is to blame.
Artnet recently published an interview with Geddes and she’s pretty candid about how the Internet has changed her work as an artist, making it hard to make a living and get credit for her work, in an age where images go viral without names attached.
“The thing that people don’t seem to get is that it takes about $250,000 to $350,000 to produce the kinds of shoots that I do,” she says. “It’s like doing a movie, for god’s sake. And if there’s no financial return, it’s like money out of my own pocket. Of course, there are more ideas I want to do—beautiful things that I know would blow people’s minds, but what’s the point? They’d just say, ‘Thank you, Anne, that’s adorable,’ and run off with it.”
The ways in which she formerly made a living, through greeting cards, coffee table books, and calendars, aren’t as big of an industry anymore and her royalty sales for those products not nearly as robust as they once were. She now runs a Patreon for the Geddes super fans who pay monthly for what she calls her “magic,” though the Patreon is currently paused.
One thing is clear, Geddes is immensely proud of her baby photos. “I think it’s been hugely gratifying that I’ve been able to lift babies into an art form,” she says. “There’s no such thing as a mean-spirited baby. It’s what happens to them after that changes everything...They take you back to the beginning, to the beauty of new life and to the magic of it. And that’s why I think the work matters. It’s why I do what I do.”
She just wants you to pay up to experience her magic.