San Francisco based film photographer and artist Ann Koch came to the camera as a creative outlet when working as a professional film and television editor in her native Hamburg, Germany. The keen eye for visual storytelling she brought to her editing is evident in her still photography today. Based in the Bay Area, Ann has a dark room in Oakland, where she develops and prints her black and white work.

Her work, entirely shot on analogue film, explores the themes of home, belonging and freedom.

Growing up Ann watched her grandmother swim in the Baltic Sea, no matter the time of year. She was a tiny woman but had incredible strength that allowed her to live through two world wars, breast cancer, raising 3 children in post-war Germany, two hip replacements and extreme osteoporosis. Her laughter would brighten your world. When Ann swims in the open Pacific now and is questioning her reasons to plunge into the cold water, she sees her grandmother march down the beach in her big frumpy swimsuit and rubber shower cap with little daisies on it. No hesitation, her smile never wavered. If Oma can do it, so can I.

Ann took up daily swimming in the San Francisco bay in 2020. Her latest project “SWIM HOME” chronicles her experience of finding a community in these unlikely conditions and finding your freedom in the open ocean.