LAUNCHING: EMMA WOOLRYCH

Current Employer:

Emma Woolrych Photography

Time at the company:

13 years

THE BIG QUESTIONS

WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?

Fashion and Celebrity Photographer

WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?

There is no day-to-day in my world. Every day is different. I love that about my life. Sometimes, I miss a bit of routine so I get this by working out and meditating regularly.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?

When I was little I don’t know if I fully realised it, but I think I was destined to become a photographer. Even now, writing the title and whenever I have to fill in my occupation on a form (like on a visa at the airport), it makes me smile. It still excites me. When I was a child I wanted to be dancer. Then through uming and ahhhing as a teen I found out about Graphic Design and thought that could be cool. It was more of a stable option. But through university I was pulled into photography. I just loved everything about it. Now looking back however, my love for fashion photography and portraiture was stabilised really early. I would pour over my auntie’s magazines and my mum would save the big, amazing catalogues she would find on her travels from labels like Ralph Laurent and Armani, and bring them home for me. I would obsess over them looking at every inch. I kept them all for so many years till they were tatty and falling apart.

WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?

I have a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communications) and majored in Photo Media.

WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?

Don’t waste your time having an opinion on other people’s work, because they are actually out there and doing it. Spend that energy getting there yourself!
The other is…The world is a small place, don’t waste energy having negative thoughts on people you have never met or don’t know, like celebrities and public figures. You never know who knows each other and saying negative things about subjects you don’t know could find you needing to take your foot out of your mouth.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?

My mother is my biggest role model, I have been so blessed to have a women like her to guide me through this life. My aunties and grandmothers, oh and Oprah, Dolly Parton and Bette Midler... the list is long. Basically any woman who has not shied away from her individuality! It is not easy to stand out from the crowd.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?

OK hippy alert… at this very moment I am sitting on my bed listening to ‘healing female energy music’ (found it apt for writing this interview), soaking in the sun and answering these questions. So my current working environment is calm and beautiful and I feel like the ‘Princess with the Pea’ (at the end of the story of course). The best thing about my current general working life is that I have recently found myself surrounded by the most amazing women. In my industry, surprisingly that is not the norm. It can be shallow and still quite male dominated. I have surrounded myself with real warriors. They are all things soft and strong, all at the same time. I find it totally rewarding and am very grateful for it.

WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?

My worrying - about if it is all going to be alright. I am so close to being more financially secure (my industry goes through peaks and troughs) and I know that also comes with its own level of burdens but I still cannot wait I think that would be wonderful.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?

I just want everything to be bigger in 5 years - bigger shoots, bigger celebs, bigger budgets. To be able to create even bigger beauty.

DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?

Mostly yes I do.  It is what I have always wanted and I feel more and more at ease with this as the years pass.

WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?

There are only very few high end, top top female photographers, but that is changing and growing.

DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?

Well if you look at my work that is undeniable. I think diversity is the most beautiful thing in the world, and the most important.

HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?

I think really good at this moment. But it is a constant rejig and shuffle.

WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?

To be able to communicate as best you can. Trying to truly understand what another person or other people visualise and then represent that for them, as well as staying true to yourself. It is the most difficult and most important part of my job.

ANY FINAL COMMENTS?

I think it is so important for women to lean into their fears and dreams. We don’t have to sacrifice this for that or that for this. Somehow we find ourselves in a time where we have almost stepped back in equality. In the freedom of sexual expression we have found ourselves objectified. I believe in sexual expression, especially when you are young, but I think that popular culture, especially, has lost its step somehow. I grew up with Missy Elliot, Gwen Stefani, Bjork, Alanis Morrisette even Madonna. They had conviction, they were sassy and smart and different and that was the most amazing thing about them. As much as I want to bounce, bounce, bounce, to Iggy’s new song. I worry how this is interpreted by young women. Girls who are forming their own boundaries of what they deem acceptable. I want them to have less of the insecurity that I had, and they seem to have more. I hope I can change that for even one young woman, that would rock!

www.emmawoolrych.com

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