• Tumblr Tuesday: Emma Banks

    We’re always scouring Tumblr for up-and-coming artists, photographers and interesting people to follow. On Tumblr Tuesdays we dig a little deeper, introducing you to a new person whose point-of-view we’re reblogging this week.

    This week, we're taking a look at the work of Emma Banks, an Austin ex-pat who's currently living in NYC. Spreading her time between writing and photography, Emma's been our go-to girl lately for projects in NYC and Austin, including this Courtney Barnett feature and our recap of ADAMJK's celebration of his UO collab. Here, we chat to Emma about her background in photography, find out what she's looking forward to in 2015, and take a look at some of her pictures from a recent trip to Thailand.

    Koh Tao island.

    More from Koh Tao island.

    Hi Emma! How did you get started in photography?
    My dad used to take a lot of photos when he was younger and he gave me a couple of cameras that were his and his grandpa's. When I was around 16 I finally quit the whole sports thing I was into and became a real nerd as the editor of our high school newspaper. That was a defining moment for me; it was the first of many moments where I decided to do what I really wanted to do, regardless of how "cool" it made me. Talking about high school now seems weird and makes me feel so old... and, honestly, I never thought that being a photographer would become a career of any sort. I always assumed I would just be a writer with this hobby on the side. It’s become so much more than that.

    Boats on the water in Bangkok.

    View from our cliffside hostel on Koh Tao island.

    What subjects are you most drawn to?
    I love catching a glimpse of human interaction or emotion, totally uninhibited and unrehearsed. It's pretty rare these days to witness a moment of unawareness; everyone is so self-aware. Candid moments are the best moments. Specifically, I love girls in these because we're all taught so much about looking and acting a certain way as females... seeing a woman unmask herself is really beautiful.

    Favorite gear?
    I'm totally attached to my Nikon N65 at the moment, but usually I'm a Canon girl. At this point, I'm almost exclusively film, but I keep the digital around just in case. Plus, film is a terribly expensive habit.


    The roof of a temple within the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

    More Bangkok.

    What feeling do you most try to convey with your photos?
    Hm... well, I definitely want to convey what my subject is feeling, not necessarily what I'm feeling. And I like to keep things open to interpretation by the viewer. Everyone has a different perception of the world and it always informs how they view and interpret a photo or piece of art. I want to convey beauty, in any form, if that’s a better answer.

    Does your photography style translate to your fashion at all? What is your personal clothing style like?
    I've never thought about this but no, not at all, actually. My photos are much more colorful and involved than my clothes. I'm a very minimal dresser, especially since I moved to New York and had to fit everything I thought I needed in one suitcase. That experience definitely forced me to be super choosy and smart about what I wear. Probably 3/4 of what I own is thrifted, so that connects to the love of film somewhat... otherwise my rule of thumb is that once I find something I like, I stick with it. Right now, I'm especially into this Calvin Klein trench I just picked up at Goodwill and my 501s (always). Also, loafers and clogs with thick socks because it’s freezing here.

    Side street in Bangkok. The little yellow flags represent the king.

    Koh Tao island.

    View from my seat on a river ferry in Bangkok.

    Can you tell us a few of your favorite Tumblrs to follow?
    Jasmine Deporta

    What's one thing you're looking forward to this year?
    I just launched a new project that I've been working on for a while called girl plus ___. It's about cool gals, the spaces they inhabit, and how those places influence their style, creative pursuits, etc. It started out as a series on my old blog and has turned into a bit of a passion project for me. I'm really excited to see where it goes as the year continues to unfold.

    A parked tuk-tuk in Chiang Mai.

    Tigers in Chiang Mai!

    Buddha Statue in Wat Arum temple in Bangkok.

    Favorite food: 99 cent pizza and breakfast tacos
    Favorite drink: Paloma
    One band you could listen to forever: New Order
    One place you want to go before you die: Back to my childhood home in Glasgow
    Favorite song: "Hi-Five" by Angel Olsen
    Most-worn item of clothing: My CK trench
    Personal hero(s): My parents, for immigrating to the states from Scotland in ‘98 with two kids in tow, and handing down their crazy relentless work ethic, a love of good tunes, and their vinyl collection.

    Can you tell us the stories behind five of your favorite photos?

    My best friend, Jaimie, in town from Seattle for Fun Fun Fun Fest last year. Somehow she always drags me into the craziest escapades. We have the best stories.

    Paige; this was from the first girl + austin feature — we basically roamed around her neighborhood finding cool plants to pair her with. All I had at the time was B&W film but I’m so glad it turned out that way. I love the simplicity.

    Molly, another girl + austin feature and an amazing friend of mine who has the most wanderlust-ing soul I know. She’s traveling to six small towns this summer, three in the US and three in Cuba, to write a comparative thesis on the two.

    Me and my friend Morgan are really obsessed with Sharon Van Etten and spent one summer evening driving around Austin trying to recreate the album cover for Are We There. This was our best take.

    A little girl with the most beautiful blue eyes hanging out in front of me at a Lake Street Dive show, at Austin City Limits a few years back.

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