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Meet Emma Nilsson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emma Nilsson.

Emma, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started working as a lighting assistant when I was 13 years old. I also loved fashion and photography and wanted to know more about it. I was an intern for a french fashion photographer for what was supposed to be one day to get to know what life was like on set, but almost ten years later, I still work for him when I can.

All those days, I skipped school to be on set were the best; I learned about lighting and how much hard work could pay off. I went from being an unpaid intern to a paid photography assistant. From there, I got a job shooting behind the scenes in a movie where I was able to meet and photograph the legends Gilbert Godfrey and Nichelle Nichols. (Two of the coolest people.) I shot work for a local jewelry photographer and was taking classes at Santa Monica College. Then I transferred to the University of Southern California, where I was able to focus on the artistic side of photography.

With a weird technical background and a school with great equipment, I was able to experiment a lot with what I shot. Working on set all those years, and watching women get retouched/ edited gave me a love for the raw. I shoot mainly on 120mm film and never edit the way my models look. Now I create more long-form works. I just finished an artist Residency in Oaxaca and am working on publishing a book about the magical spirit of the people there to contradict the presidential rhetoric surrounding Mexican peoples.

Has it been a smooth road?
I don’t think anyone has a smooth road. I have had to walk off jobs because photography is still a mostly male-dominated world, and still get discredited for being a woman. But I choose this, and I love it, and the lovely people that have helped me greatly outway the jerks. In art and photography, the door will be continuously closed in your face, and at the moment, it sucks, but you have to keep trying. I have applied for so many shows, but the ones we get are the most important and make it all worthwhile.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I believe I’m known for my unique way of storytelling. My art practice is about interaction, so everything I create is about engaging the viewer. I want to break the user’s obsession with their phones and get them to interact with reality. I am not most proud of any work in particular because everything I make is so different from one another. I have a handmade photo book about the spirit and beauty of Oaxaca that’s only 6 inches by 6 inches that I would love to share with the world.

I also have a 42-foot mural piece that outlines the exploitation of the world by fast fashion industries. I’m most proud of the fact that my art is different from many photographers because I don’t publish new photographs every day. I want to tell a story as thoroughly as possible to try to effect a change, or possibly get the viewer to question what they thought before they see the work.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I think the Art Industry will be shifting greatly in the next 5-10 years. There are a lot of new artists who have no interest in Blue Chip galleries. With the prevalence of social media, artists don’t necessarily need the same representation that they used to. Of course, galleries will still be present but with so many artists meeting, connecting, creating, and showing through social media the landscape for art is shifting. We will see where it’s going but the stronghold that galleries have as being so exclusive may need to shift.

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1 Comment

  1. Mrs. Decrow

    October 22, 2019 at 22:40

    What a doll!! Can’t wait to see here future work!

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