For this instalment of our 10 Questions series I want to introduce you to pro-photographer and all-round talented lady, Emma Gutteridge.
Shooting for the likes of Elle, The White Company and Style Memos, Emma’s clean aesthetic and attention to detail caught my eye this time last year whilst hunting down the perfect partner to shoot our AW16 Lookbook. Here she gives us an insight into her hectic life as a freelance photographer and a little advice she's picked up along the way.
You’re a former editorial picture editor with degree level nutritional therapy training. How did you get into photography?
I absolutely loved my time on magazines and my role as a picture editor involved everything from sourcing stock photos to organising and attending photoshoots. When I was made redundant I was glad of the break from the commute and being very interested in it I thought a good way to go would be to go down the nutritional therapy route and while I lived and breathed the course when it came to the end of it I just wasn’t motivated to promote myself. I really missed working with photography so I got another part time picture editor job in London. Coincidentally, there was a photography evening course being held minutes from my house so I enrolled and learned to use a camera myself and the rest, as they say, is history
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I am less about grand gestures and more about the simple moments, little things in life that is you take a moment to appreciate them they become so very tangible. A lot of people say my photography is quite calm which is interesting as shoots are usually quite hectic - but in my spare time I’m constantly hunting the calm so I guess it figures.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I walk miles with my labrador each morning before breakfast and I find a simple act like observing how the light sits on a landscape can inspire me massively. Also I keep who I follow on Instagram very streamlined and it means my news feed is a visual feast.
Seville by Emma Gutteridge
What would you say your biggest challenge is, both personally and professionally for your career path?
To have confidence in your aesthetic. I recently launched a new website and I removed all images from portfolio sections that I knew I was putting up to attract work rather than because they were images that make me feel proud - that was a really hard thing to do! I do find clients will ask me to light images in a certain way because it’s what they are used to despite coming to me for something different - it took a lot for me to say… ‘well, actually..’ but I realise now it’s counterproductive to not be bold with your style.
What’s the best memory you have of being on a shoot?
I used to do a lot of live music photography - I do remember one evening about 8 years ago at KOKO while photographing one of my favourite music artists from back stage the realisation of the doors photography could open for me. That’s a pretty vivid memory. More recently, possibly not the best memory but the one I laugh about the most, I was shooting stills on a TV commercial shoot - I’m not sure the film crew were overly enamoured with the idea of a photographer being on set so I was keen to nail it when I got a window to do the stills. When the window came, I grabbed my camera, held it up to the model and couldn’t work out why the exposure wouldn’t increase with the settings.. after some frowning and fiddling I looked up to see one of the film crew mouthing to me ‘lens cap’. A proper face palm moment.
Being a photographer you must get to travel a lot. Where’s your favourite place to go?
I’m really drawn towards coastlines but can’t say I have a go to place to shoot as it does depend on the brief. In terms of the place I’ve shot the most, its definitely Spain, as well as Ibiza a year or so back I’ve shot in both Madrid and Seville recently and the people really know how to let it go for photos.
Seville by Emma Gutteridge
Apart from taking beautiful photos, what’s your favourite way to spend your free time?
I have a huge affinity with the English countryside, I would happily spend my days walking or camping in it. I’m an avid cook too - but for me it’s all about the produce and how its grown. Luckily in Sussex we have some great, ethical growers. I grow a small amount of produce in my garden and it's hugely rewarding tending to that.
If you could collaborate with another designer or artist, who would it be?
Ooh, toughie. I am currently obsessed with Beyonce's sister Solange and think she would be so cool to photograph. Her recent videos are immense and love the photographic feel to them.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t churn it out. I would much rather shoot less and really nail it than taking on any old work that comes in and be too stretched. Photography takes a lot of mental mulling it over and if you don’t give yourself time to do that you’re just shooting what you’ve shot before, never thinking about how you can evolve.
I know you’re often running around for hours on end on long shoots. When you’re out and about what are your handbag (or maybe backpack!) essentials?
Protein heavy snacks! It is no good having h-anger when on shoots, and you also often don’t get a break so I make sure I have a constant source of nibbles that will keep my blood sugar steady and focus clear. The other thing is natural hand wipes - neither grease or chemicals are welcome around camera equipment!
To see more of Emma's work head over to her site: www.emmagutteridge.com
Brighton Home - Style Memos x The White Company by Emma GutteridgeGrace Gordon 2016 AW Lookbook by Emma Gutteridge
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