ST: We’re very excited to welcome Emilie Szabo and her lovely photos to Style Tastemakers today. Let’s start in the usual way with you telling us a little about yourself and your background.
ES: I am a 20-something Minneapolis gal, married to a man who gave me a silent “z” in my last name. I’ve been married to Curt for almost 3 years now, and it’s been totally worth it. I’ve learned so much through the ups and downs of marriage and am so thankful to have a partner that has loved me so well through it all. I studied Sociology in college, I have always had such a fascination with people and why we do things the way we do. However, I haven’t exactly had a job using my major, even though I continue to read and think about people and culture. Growing up, our family did a lot of traveling, naturally I started documenting the people and culture I was experiencing. My love for using my camera to capture moments and memories grew, and I started making a little money on the side with my hobby. I took a few classes, shadowed many people and decided that this was my dream job. I have been doing photography and styling as a full-time business now for almost 3 years, and I absolutely love it! I have met such incredible people along the way and have been exposed to some incredible artists. I feel really privileged to be in the creative field and to create for my job.
ST: How did you get into styling?
ES: There is something so beautiful and authentic about capturing life and people as they are, no styling, no masks, no arranging. I love when I get to do this type of photography. I want people who view these photos to feel like they’re a fly on the wall getting let into an emotion, a sweet and still moment in time, a persons quiet place. This type of photography that I shoot is typically in the context of a wedding or portraits. The stylist aspect of my job emerged with an increase in doing product photography. I started realizing how much I loved thinking through how to set up a shot. I enjoy thinking through all the elements that go into writing a story for each product. Placement, composition, lighting, props, colors, detail, etc. I love the creative challenge of styling and shooting each product in a way that maximizes it’s beauty and potential.
ST: It looks like you like to travel! Does that influence your work in any way?
ES: I do love traveling, especially when I am able to capture people or product in a different place! Even though I hate looking like a tourist when I travel, I typically can’t resist carrying my camera around my neck as I roam and explore. My husband and I recently went to Japan which was an incredible experience. I loved the culture there and would have loved to stay for a month just to observe and take it all in more deeply. I would say traveling has opened my eyes to different people and a different way of doing things, which I have found extremely valuable. On one level, people are so similar wherever you go. On another level, being in a different culture even for a week will show you the vast differences in values you each have. There is so much beauty in the way God created each culture so differently, and I have so much to learn from others.
ST: What is your dream project?
ES: I think my favorite type of styling is when it involves a model. People are so full of depth and emotion. I love when my product shoots involve shooting a person. Because of this, I think my favorite type of shoot is a seasonal look book for makers and designers. I really enjoy the temporary nature of a look book, you can hone in and curate the shoot to fit a certain season or mood. It’s fun to work with clients and dream up a vision and feel for each look book.
ST: Who’s work inspires you?
ES: Nirav Patel has always been one of my favorite photographers. I really enjoy the way he captures emotion and depth in people. His work tends to be darker and more moody which I also really enjoy.
@Billyjackbrawner3 for his authentically beautiful capture of life, pain and beauty.
@Marte_marie_forsberg for her food and life styling.