Medical researcher by day, photographer by night, Hannah Gross is a Pittsburgh native whose photography business is taking off as she captures unique weddings, local critters, beautiful landscapes, and more.
Tell us about your artistic background. When did you first pick up a camera?
I picked up a camera probably in middle or elementary school. I have albums upon albums from when we used to still print out pictures. On family vacations, I would document literally everything. I was formally trained during high school in the Fox Chapel area. We had a fantastic photography class. The first half of the semester was traditional film, so we got to develop in a dark room. The second half was digital, so we got to have fun with both sides, which was a blast. Then I took a photography class at Chatham during college. It was always a hobby until I learned that I could do it and make a little bit of money.
What event photography have you done?
This past May, I did a friend’s wedding. It was super fun. I also have done a couple freelance projects. In early Spring, there was a muscular dystrophy event at the Pittsburgh Zoo. I got to do some work for them. It was a blast – there were so many families and animals were everywhere. It was nice enough that they were all out. It was a really fun event. I love the hustle of event photography.
You’ve done a lot of travel photography. What were your favorite places to visit and what was the experience like?
My family and I are really big national park enthusiasts. We have been to the Mighty 5 in Utah. We just did Acadia National Park in Maine not too long ago. They are truly beautiful and mesmerizing. Grand Canyon, of course, and we saw Lake Powell. We love national parks and that’s where a lot of the travel photography I do comes in. I have huge collages from both places on my wall. Even in the digital age, I am still printing pictures.
You are a multitalented artist – you can sing, you can dance. Why is photography your preferred art form?
The reason why it is the preferred art form is because I like to call it a “Grab-and-Go” art. I don’t have to wear special shoes, I don’t have to be in a theater – I can literally take it anywhere. What makes it enjoyable is that it can be anywhere. Anytime, you can capture a picture. You can capture a special moment or something totally bland and boring. It’s on the move.
Are you originally from Pittsburgh and, if so, how did it impact your photography?
I am from here originally. I have Italian roots and some German, as well. Very big Italian family – stereotypically large, loud, Marinara-loving family. And Pittsburgh has, definitely. It is perfect for every art form. It’s perfect for theater. It’s perfect for photographers. It’s perfect for dancers and singers. It’s not nearly as big as New York and it’s not small enough where we’re not noticed. We have everything here. We have everything an artist could want. We have the rivers, which are beautiful. You can drive twenty minutes outside of the city and be in beautiful forests and woods. So being in a place that is so culturally and ethnically diverse, it’s perfect. There’s scenes all over the city that artists can utilize and explore, and it’s growing. A lot of awesome and rich history has happened here. It cultivates art itself.
Are there any artists or photographers that have influenced you?
If I could take pictures like Annie Leibovitz, I would love that. Ansel Adams and his black and white work… Those two definitely are fantastic. National Geographic also has a community called Your Shot that I joined. The photographers on there are inspiring in and of themselves. Although there is always the big celebrities, being inspired by other people is also huge, even if it’s other amateurs.
Where do you hope to take your photography from here?
Concerts I haven’t done yet. I think that would be really cool, especially the lighting and lasers and everything. Photographing a baby shower, I would love to try. Anything in the city where there are lots of people. Wherever there is lots of energy and motion, I would love to try. I think doing art shows and being featured in a gallery would be absolutely phenomenal.
Why is photography so meaningful to you?
I think it comes down to these great trips I have with my family…We’re really close and travel as a unit… Because I’ve had these great family moments, my heart is so full of adventure and love for these people I got to be raised with, I want to give it to others. Let me capture that for you. It comes down to my family and a spirit of adventure, and if I can give that, even on a small scale to somebody else, I think that’s amazing.
To browse her art or even contact Hannah for an upcoming event or headshot session, you can check out her official photography site here: https://hannahgrossphotography.smugmug.com/
Photos courtesy of Hannah Gross Photography.