Sunday, January 8, 2012

Interview with Emily Gilbert, Interior Photographer

So here we are, Twiggy and Lou's first interview is here!! And from now on we'll see more interviews. I was always curious about knowing who is hiding behind success and always dreamed that I could talk with someone and discover how they got to the place that they are today. Well, it is not a dream anymore, I am doing it. I am asking the questions that are filling up my curiosity. I am on my way to meet some great people and so are you.

My first guest is the Brooklyn based Interior Photographer Emily Gilbert. While she was born and raised in northern New Jersey, Emily chose to get closer to the great city to perform her job. Through her camera and with a natural talent, she is showing us what a beautiful interior exactly is. After she accepted to do this interview, I thought about what I would like to know about her and her job and put all the questions below in order for her. You are about to discover what it takes to be a good interior photographer.

Emily Gilbert photographed by Tory Williams

T&L:    Did you always know that you wanted to become an interior photographer?

Emily:   Not only did I not know I wanted to be an Interior Photographer, I didn't know I wanted to be
             a Photographer. The path I took to get to where I am is a bit of a roundabout path, but I'm
             happy I explored all the other areas I did before finding Interior Photography. I entered
             college as a Fine Art major interested in collage & sculpture and ended up graduating with
             a degree in Experimental Theater. Upon graduating I was introduced to the Film & TV
             industry where I worked for a few years as a Set Dresser. After deciding that the Film industry
             wasn't for me, I decided to give Photography a shot. I bought a 35mm film camera and enrolled
             in an Intro to Photography class at ICP and took on 2 internships- one at a commercial still life
             studio and the other with a Fine Art Photographer. After a few months at the internships, I was
             offered a Studio Manager position at the still life studio and while it didn't involve taking
             photos, I decided to accept it because a) I needed the income and b) I felt it would be an
             opportunity to learn about the industry. After a few years, and a lot of thought about what type
             of photography I wanted to pursue and by process of elimination, I decided to take the leap &
             tell everyone I was an Interior Photographer. I'd shoot the home of anyone who would let me,
             and soon I build a portfolio and went out on my own.

T&L:   What inspires you?

Emily:  Collaborating with others. Walking my dog. Doing yoga.

Photo by Emily Gilbert
Stylist Meagan Camp

T&L:   Do you find it hard to shoot in a space that you do not find appealing?

Emily: Yes. I consider myself a bit more of an editor than a photographer sometimes.
            I take other peoples art & make it into my own- which is why it's harder to shoot spaces that are
            not as appealing. Those days feel more like a job, than my art. I find I really need to step outside
            myself in order to deliver the same quality images as when I shoot a space that I love. It is
            definitely challenging and while I may not enjoy it as much, I do learn more about the craft of
            capturing a space. I also end up learning more about myself since shooting an unappealing
            space is not the easiest experience.

T&L:   Since you proved that you are a great Photographer (yes you are!!), do you feel like you 
             still have to search for work?

Emily:  (Thank you.) Yes, work isn't always lined up outside my door.
            Some months are jam packed and the phone doesn't stop ringing, while other months I spend a
            fair amount of time in the office working on the business side of things. However, I have been
            pretty lucky & have not had to do a lot of advertising or direct marketing.

Photo by Emily Gilbert
Designer Studio Riga

T&L:   What do you love most about your job?

Emily:  I love that every space proposes a new set of challenges. When I show up to a shoot, it's like
            showing up to the first day of a new job... minus a lot of the anxiety. I have some clients who
            are true artists & I love spending the day (or days) in their works of art. I love spending time
            in new spaces with new people. I get bored with repetition so working with new people in new
            environments keeps me motivated and inspired.

T&L:   How would you describe your work on a day to day basis?

Emily: My day to day really varies. I'm either waking up early in the morning & spending all day on
           location shooting, or getting to the office at 10am for a day of retouching, writing estimates,
           updating my portfolio, marketing, organizing receipts, etc. And some days I get  really excited
           that I can choose to go to yoga or food shop in the middle of the day!

Photo by Emily Gilbert

T&L:   When you start a new job, what is the first thing you do (beside packing your   

Emily:  A new job actually starts way before the morning of a shoot. The first thing that happens is
            having a conversation with the client & learning about their needs and what they are hoping
            to get out of the shoot. I then write up an estimate based on our conversation. Once we
            discuss the estimate and it is approved, we set a date for the shoot. Once we decide on a date
            that works for everyone, I secure an assistant. The morning of the shoot I make sure to eat a big
            breakfast & also make sure my socks don't have holes in them because I usually take my shoes
            off when shooting in someone's home, and then I pack up the car with all of my equipment.

T&L:   We all like different styles, what is yours?

Emily:  My personal style is rustic meets modern, with an emphasis on comfort. I like the imperfections
            of wood but I also love clean lines. I love old elements mixed with something fresh & new.
            I wish I was a little more bold with incorporating color. I tend to stay in the greys and neutral
            tone world- I'm trying to break out of that & add some color.

Photo by Emily Gilbert

T&L:   You are about to purchase your dream house, what do you want your future home to 
              have and not to have?

Emily:  A working fireplace, wide plank wood floors, lots of windows with old window panes and
            pocket shutters, exposed ceiling beams, lots of closets & a washer/dryer (I have 1 closet & no
            washer/dryer now!) would be top on the list of needs. My dream home wouldn't have any
            carpeting or any massive grey metal air conditioner units.

T&L:   In life and in general would you say that you are a sensitive woman?

Emily:  Yes. I used to be way too sensitive. Owning my own business has toughened me up a bit, but
             I'm still quite sensitive.

Photo by Emily Gilbert

T&L:   On an early morning, you are standing alone atop a mountain hill covered with snow.
             Looking around you, what do you see?

Emily:  A massive flock of birds endlessly circling overhead. Tracks of unknown animals at my feet.
            An old (but beautiful) vacant white barn in the distance.

Thank you Emily for answering all these questions and thanks to all for reading. Feel free to leave a comment.

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