Emily, let’s start at the beginning, where did you grow up?
I was born in Ukiah, north of San Francisco, but we moved to Santa Barbara shortly after, so that’s where I grew up.
How did you get started in photography?
Visuals and storytelling have been part of my dance and film background and so I think the spark was always there. I took a photography class freshman year of high school and I loved that. I would come back to the camera as a way of getting outside and making something. After college I got a digital camera and that made things easier and I found I would go out and walk around cities and take photos. I took a lot of pictures. I had started to develop a strong tone to the photos and got a lot of good response but there were never any people in the photos. People totally scared me.
Then I started photographing ballet, and photographing people changed everything. That’s where I found what I had been looking for and what I got back from that was so much more immediate than writing and trying to create people in my head.
I was a fan of the sport of cycling and I wanted to write a film that was located around early cycling history. I wanted to get a tone for the film and I decided to go photograph it. I was really happy with how that turned out and those photos got noticed. From there I built contacts and jobs came in and ultimately enough things came together than have kept me involved in cycling for four years and photography has become my primary focus.
Who was the first cyclist you photographed?
I shot the 2011 Tour of California with credentials and I think the first person I took a photo of was Andy Schleck. It was at least the first picture of a cyclist I took and liked. I shot 4 days of ToC and it was different then, there were a lot less people shooting cycling. I knew that what I was getting wasn't what other people were getting and to a degree I thought I was failing because of that and then I looked at the images all together and there was such a strong tone because they had come from what was interesting to me. That's one of the only times since then that I've shot completely how I want and whatever I want and I still like those pictures for that.
"The ultimate goal is for the photo to feel like a cinema film still from a movie you haven’t seen but are now intrigued by."