Confronting Algorithms and AI: Tati Bruening & Anya Anti at Depth of Field 2023


Tati Bruening and Anya Anti are two rising stars at the confluence of photography, digital assets, and social influence. In this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we get the lowdown on their burgeoning careers in fashion / beauty and conceptual / fine art portraits in Part 2 of our chats from B&H’s 2023 Depth of Field Conference.

We start with Tati Bruening, who shares how her plea to “Make Instagram Instagram Again” became a global meme, ultimately prompting a response from the platform’s head. Learn how she spent the pandemic focused on daily DIY shoots with friends, allowing her to master her Canon 5D Mark IV inside and out quickly. Today, Bruening is supported by a powerhouse management team. Hear how she made these essential connections, get tips on working with a manager, and learn which pitfalls to avoid.

After a break, we shift gears to Anya Anti, who fills us in on the intricate set design and attentive compositing work behind her whimsical portraits, which seamlessly bridge fantasy and real life. She distinguishes between shooting self-portraits for a more personal approach and posing models as alter egos for more control behind the camera. We also tackle the elephant in the room—artificial intelligence in photographic creation—with Anti weighing in on both the significant ethical issues posed by AI and its positive aspects as incorporated in Adobe’s smart selection tools.

Guests: Tati Bruening and Anya Anti

Above photograph © Tati Bruening

Outtake from a series made with singer Alice Glass, commenting on the…
Maeve and Raven in the desert for an Adobe Lightroom campaign
Maeve and Raven in the desert, using an in-camera effect with a prism…
Neil on the snow, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Long exposure of Sarah on the beach, dressed in Llenuel Fro
Maeve on location beside the Los Angeles river
Collection of images shot from my balcony showing friends crossing the…
Dylan Mulvaney at Hubble Studios; lighting by Jon Sams
Sarah in Malibu during the California super bloom, wearing Llenuel Fro
Tati Bruening headshot
Tati Bruening

Fitting In
Waiting for the spring
Paint Me
Anya's Eyes
Light Up
Sail Away
Moon Bite
Last Flight
I Need More Space
Anya Anti

Episode Timeline:

  • 2:38: Tati Bruening’s offhand Instagram post that turned into an international viral movement, emphasizing the value of stills over video.
  • 6:13: Bruening’s preferences for lighting tools, modifiers, and lenses.
  • 11:52: Making an initial connection to a manager and assembling a wider team.
  • 14:04: Bruening’s 5-year plan to stop being controlled by social media algorithms.
  • 15:33: Bruening’s tips for seeking and working with a manager and pitfalls to avoid.
  • 18:50: Episode Break
  • 20:44: Anya Anti’s approach to self-portraits vs. photographing other people to use as alter egos in her pictures.
  • 25:20: Concept development and preproduction process for Anti’s portraits.
  • 28:27: Concerns about AI technology and its related ethical issues.
  • 32:31: The beneficial aspects of AI and using Adobe smart selection tools.
  • 34:22: Upcoming projects, a series of editing tutorials, and animation pieces.

Guest Bios:

Tati Bruening rose to fame by making personal portraits of some of TikTok's most recognizable stars, celebrating the individuality of her subjects. She made headlines in 2021 by posting a simple request to ‘Make Instagram, Instagram Again’ and the rest of the world echoed her sentiment by adding more than 300,000 signatures on her petition. She consults on Gen Z with various companies and has been a featured speaker on photography and social media at events such as VidCon 2022, among many other conferences.

Anya Anti specializes in on-location fine art and conceptual portraiture. An internationally published, award-winning photo artist, Anti strives to go beyond traditional portraiture to tell imaginative stories through her art and share her passion for beauty and a craving for everyday enchantment. An international speaker and workshop instructor for companies such as Broncolor, Adobe, and Nikon, Anti has been a featured presenter at events like Adobe MAX, Adobe Live, PPE, WPPI, CES, among others.

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Anya Anti Website:
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Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: Jill Waterman
Senior Producer: Mike Weinstein
Executive Producer: Yermy Weiss
Editorial Director: Shawn C Steiner