Urbanautica featured an interview I conducted with Emily Shur. Visit the full article here. Excerpt below.
Finding creative flow in collaboration and consistency has led Emily Shur down some pretty interesting paths. Her flexibility between digital and film mediums might not have come easily, but her ability to communicate nonverbally and find a home in a foreign land has lent itself to building trust in new relationships and an impressive body of photographic works. Here, Shur speaks to the necessity in allowing for good days, bad days and everything in between.
Your photographs have a fluid, conversational appeal to them. In particular, your portrait work highlights this quality. How much does the final image come from you or from the person you’re photographing?
It’s very much a collaboration. As a portrait photographer, you really need to be able to talk to all different types of people and create a bond where there is none. Sometimes that’s easy, and sometimes it’s not. The most successful images come out of shoots where that bond, trust, and interaction flowed easily. I depend on the subject quite a bit to bring something to the table, and if it becomes apparent that they won’t be doing that I resort to just making sure they look good.
The range of your portfolio, from celebrity, to commercial and your personal work is quite astounding. As a professional and an artist, do you treat each type as a separate entity or does the intention originate from relatively the same place? And what kind of advice would you have told yourself before you were more established?
The intention, which is making interesting pictures that I’m proud of, is always consistent. The method and approach are a little different between my personal and commercial work, but everything comes from the same brain and point of view. In terms of advice I would give to a younger me, it would probably be not to get too discouraged or too cocky at any one point in my career. I have had good years and bad years, good shoots and bad ones. I’ve booked jobs and won awards and then lost jobs and received absolutely no recognition at other times. Being a photographer (for me) is a practice and a journey. When I was younger, I just wanted to win the race, but now I’m a little more understanding about my role.
From a technical standpoint, there is a seamless level of cohesion in both your commercial and personal works. Can you explain your approach and execution of each including and similarities or dissimilarities? Does film play any role in your work, or have you fully embraced the digital medium?