For this weeks interview, Katie got in touch with Irish photographer Emma Birkett. They worked together when Emma beautifully captured Katie’s Pure Harte clothing in a couple of different photo shoots. (You can see them here and here)
Emma Birkett is a Berlin based photographer, writer, and designer. She originally comes from Ireland, where she completed her BA in Photography and spent a number of years working as a fashion and interiors photographer, whilst simultaneously teaching herself web and print design. She is passionate about creating visually appealing images, whether it be through code, beautiful typography, or photography.
How and where are you today?
I’m taking advantage of a rare day off to lounge around my flat! Berlin living definitely moves at a more frenetic pace than when I lived in Dublin, so it feels really good sometimes to just chill out and do nothing. I’m a bit of a workaholic usually so today I’m feeling really content.
How would you describe the journey that has brought you to this place? And was this the destination you had in mind?
I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a destination in mind – even studying photography was pure chance because it was the only course I got into! Ditto moving to Berlin (which could have just as easily been Amsterdam or almost any other European city) and the things I’m working on at the moment; working on the Editorial team at an advertising agency, (which is lot more like ‘Mad Men’ than I would have ever credited) and working for The Illuminator, a new arts and culture magazine that has just been founded in Berlin.
But I could have just as easily continued focusing on freelance photography work, which is what I was doing when I left Ireland last August, or moved onto something else entirely! I find that so long as I’m busy, working on something creative, and learning new things, then I’m happy – it doesn’t necessarily have to be all about photography. For example, I’m currently teaching myself German and some programming languages; the latter is far more enjoyable and creative than most people imagine.
Do you have a process to ensure you are in the right frame of mind to create?
No, I wouldn’t say have a process as such; it’s more that I’ve learned to recognize when I’m in the right frame of mind to work, and when I’m not, and to let that dictate when I create. Previously I would just force myself to work even when I knew I wasn’t producing anything I would be happy with. Now, particularly when its sunny outside – Berlin is so beautiful in the summer, with everyone sitting out by the river, beers in hand – then I definitely allow myself time to go and relax.
How do you think your background and culture influences your creations?
Like many people, I had a difficult time throughout school, and left it heavily depressed, with almost no self-confidence, or anyone I would call a friend for that matter. Although I try not to be, I’m also naturally quite introspective and pessimistic. Which has led, in a roundabout way, to my creations becoming the exact opposite of that – I like to find beauty in unexpected places.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty, by definition, is simply something that pleases our aesthetic senses – nothing more. Culturally we are always told that one thing is ‘beautiful’ and another is not, but deep down, we all know these arbitrary rules are a fallacy. Since there is always a huge gulf between the opinions of the prevailing culture, and the opinions of the individual, ‘beauty’ is whatever we as individuals find aesthetically pleasing, which cannot be defined as any one thing – which either means that nothing is beautiful, or (as I believe) beauty is in everything, you just have to look quite hard for it sometimes.
If we had interviewed you when you were 11, what would you have told us you wanted to be when you grew up?
God only knows! I know at one stage I wanted to be a scientist, like my Dad. He even bought me a chemistry kit, and showed me how to make things explode.
What advice have you received that you want everyone to benefit from?
Advice – something that everyone wants to hear, and no one wants to listen to.
Actually, my favourite quote, courtesy of my boyfriend’s father was ‘Lads, I’m all warm and fat – do what yes like.’
thank you so much Emma, welcome to our family!
handsome and pretty