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Art & Life with Erin Marie Miller

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin Marie Miller.

Erin Marie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My story is such a long, winding road. Back in high school, I would photograph my friends’ bands but never thought seriously about pursuing it professionally. My goals back then were rooted in much different areas — I bounced from wanting to be an environmental lawyer to wanting to be a fashion designer, an illustrator, an art historian, a human rights lawyer, and finally landed on photography about a year before graduating from university.

I’d had some luck before and during college getting some very cool photography opportunities back in Detroit, where I’m originally from. My first photography assignment was with a weekly magazine called Real Detroit Weekly. They hired me to photograph the Detroit Lions in one of their biggest comeback years, which I think was around 2011. I also got to photograph the Foo Fighters for them later that year in concert at a huge venue, which was exciting for me. A couple of years after that, in 2014, Nylon Guys commissioned me to create a portrait of a local guitar-maker, and in 2016 Nylon Magazine hired me to photograph Lala Abbadon, a resident artist at the Red Bull House of Art, for what would end up being one of their last handful of print issues. In between all of that, I got taken on as a photo and editorial intern by Hour Detroit magazine, whose parent company owns several amazing magazines here on the West Coast as well. Interning with Hour was probably one of the most important milestones in my career, and after my internship ended, they continued to hire me for ongoing photo assignments. Throughout that time, I also took photos for a couple of local newspapers and did event and music photography on the side, as well as worked part-time as a waitress and bartender at several restaurants around Detroit.

I’m a very capricious personality type, so the idea of being my own boss and running my own business was never something I’d seriously considered as an option for myself until after my internship with Hour. It surprised me how seriously everyone at the magazine took my work and how supportive they were about my career. Sometimes that’s exactly what creatives need to help them understand the value of their work when they’re just starting out. It definitely helped me believe in myself and my work in a way I never had before, and it was around that time that I started realizing that photography could be a realistic profession for me if I wanted it to be.

Beyond photo opportunities, I’ve also been very lucky to have some incredible mentors along the way. The art director at Hour, Veronica Soderlund, gave me some of the most invaluable guidance I’ve ever received. And the year before I graduated, while living in Los Angeles on summer break, I had the amazing good luck to meet one of my favorite photographers, Edward Colver. He coached me through my senior year of college and taught me everything he could about photography — honestly, my work never would have matured as much as it has over the last several years without his guidance and instruction.

Since then, I graduated from college with a BFA in Photography and worked hard to develop my photo career. Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the amazing luck to work with some incredible, widely-recognized clients and am still working to gradually build my career working with brands and clients I love.

Working as a photographer has definitely had its ups and downs — and I’m sure it will continue to have its ups and downs, as that’s the nature of the industry. My passion has never waned, though, and every day I choose to accept those challenges because I love what I do and I’m incredibly thankful for having the opportunity to make photographs for a living.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
On the commercial end of things, I photograph a lot of custom social media campaigns and small advertising campaigns for clients that range from small local startups to internationally-recognized brands. I also photograph editorial content for magazines and private clients, which includes portraits, interiors, and food and beverage work.

On the personal side, my work revolves around celebrating people and places that inspire me. I currently have two fine art projects going. One is a portrait series called “American Woman,” which examines the difficult and often painful journeys to self-confidence experienced by the brave women who came into my studio to tell their stories. In order to celebrate the natural beauty of each woman in the series, I don’t retouch any of the photos and I photograph the women exactly as they look when they show up without changing anything about what they’re wearing, makeup, or anything like that.

The other project I’m working on is called “Somewhere Outside of Time,” which is a series of desert landscapes exploring and documenting the Mojave Desert — a region that seems to exist outside of time, untouched by contemporary society, which completely fascinates me.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
It definitely can. I’m honestly not a huge “networker,” but I am a member of some wonderful professional associations and have met some amazing fellow photographers that way. I recommend joining groups like the APA, ASMP, and APA, and getting out to their events to support. Also, going to exhibits and supporting other photographers is a great way to connect with people whose work you admire. I’ve met some wonderful friends that way!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
To see my work, you can visit my website: www.erin-miller.com — I post most of my latest work on my blog, and I try to keep my portfolio updated with new work as often as possible, when my schedule allows. To support my work, you can follow me on Instagram @erinmariemillerstudio.

If you’re looking for photography or need help developing your brand’s aesthetic, hire me! I love helping local entrepreneurs who are as passionate about their work as I am about mine develop their brands and aesthetic.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Modeln Credits: Courtney Taylor Burness, Sunny Dae, Julian Zambrano, Ariel Thompson, Madalyn Knebel, High Ruin, Zara Alyse, Avalon Rossi.

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.
 

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