Emily Cooper is a photographer and illustrator from Vancouver, Canada. This talented artist is our go-to photographer for all AinslieWear product shoots. If you see an AinslieWear photo, chances are Emily took it! Emily is also the artist behind our beloved Nutcracker print, exclusive to the 2018 & 2019 Holiday Collections.
We caught up with Emily to learn more about her photography work in the dance and theatre industry, and how her captivating art style came to be.
AW: How did you start photography?
EC: My dad is an amazing photographer so as a young girl I would take photos, sometimes without any film in the camera, and practice my timing and composition. The first time I photographed a play, I only took 15 pictures and the publicist picked one of my images and published it in the paper. I was beyond thrilled and accompanied my Dad to his shoots as much as possible after that.
What drew you to dance and theatre photography?
Growing up in an artistic family, with my mother also working in theatre, I spent my childhood backstage. I was surrounded by actors, dancers, designers, and I was always watching dress rehearsals. What I loved so much about the theatre and dance world is that it was always so big and beautiful, and often times surreal. I think it had a major influence in molding my future career.
Do you have a favourite style or genre of photography?
What I love so much about being a photographer is that I’m always shooting something different. Being able to bounce from a live shoot to a fashion shoot, it’s what keeps me on my toes. I couldn’t pick a favourite genre of photography because they all have their challenges and rewards. At the core of it, I love photographing people. There is a magical feeling photographing dance, when you capture the perfect moment in a quick and beautiful movement. It is the most challenging, making sure your eye is quick enough to capture that millisecond.
Do you have any tips for aspiring dance/theatre photographers?
The most important thing going into photographing theatre and dance is having the passion for it. If you know someone in the arts that’s a great place to begin. Start collaborations and the work will speak for itself. Practice your timing, and shooting in low light situations.
Your illustration work is equally as beautiful! Tell us a bit about your art style and how you came to do photo illustration work.
Thank you! I started photo illustrations when I was learning about Photoshop and realized I could use it as my canvas and create surreal worlds that I was unable to draw. My hobby became scouring antique stores for beautiful old photos that I would transform into illustrated stories. I’ve built a library of vintage photos and have even flown to Portland to archive glass plate negatives which have appeared in various pieces. My travels were incorporated into my artwork and much of my inspiration came while I was traveling.
What inspires you?
The best moments where I feel incredibly inspired is watching a play or a dance piece that moves me in a way I can’t explain. I leave the theatre feeling as if I’m floating in a cloud.
See more of Emily’s work –
A big thank you to Emily for sharing her story and being part of the AinslieWear creative team!