Today we’d like to introduce you to Meredith Embry.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Meredith. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
For me, photography is about relationships and identity. The impact a high quality beautifully framed and placed photograph can have on a person’s life, or a blended family is immeasurable. Here is your daughter, at 16. We, the model and I capture a moment in time that the family can keep forever. And as she grows up, goes off to college, marries, and has children of her own, she gets to keep that moment as well. Photographs are an anchor. A focal point. Photographs keep us grounded in our own history.
On a more personal level, photography helped me recover from the psychological impact of an accident. I was a pedestrian hit by a drunk driver at the age of 25, and 15 years later, photography found me. Being able to take self-portraits and view them from a more objective place allowed me to better handle emotions that seemed overwhelming. Photography helped me reconnect with the world around me (believe it or not) and to move forward–to piece myself back together. Photography provided me the opportunity to explore my feelings and look at life more objectively. I then turned my camera to the outside world.
I also witnessed the impact on my daughters when they saw themselves in large portraits on the walls of Pearl Cup, my neighborhood coffeehouse, where my work was exhibited this past summer. When I saw my favorite images printed large, it hit me, “Oh! So THIS is what it is about!” Even as a photographer, I somehow missed the point of photography. It isn’t just sharing digital files or looking at images of people you love online. Photography is about seeing in front of you the people you love most and the places you adore. Looking at oneself in the mirror or on a digital image is very different from a print. Framed and mounted prints are tangible objects that can be touched and held. They communicate in a big way the importance of a person to someone else. They help to validate a person’s importance and sense of belonging. In this complicated, busy, crazy time, I do believe that people long for a simpler, more authentic art. Creating photographic artwork that you can see every day is a joy to me.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Has it been a smooth road? Not at all! Deciding to change my career at the age of 44 was terrifying, but also exhilarating. It was and still is a bit bumpy, but fun.
The “shoot and burn” method of photography I was providing previously was not very satisfying. Speaking briefly with someone on the phone prior to a photoshoot, taking a couple of hundred photos and then editing 50-100 of them and handing them off to the client felt like unfinished business. I felt like I was not serving my clients to the best of my ability. They came to me because they wanted a portrait of their family and I gave them a flash drive with 100 images. I found that people were either not getting any prints at all or were ordering from labs who provided lackluster images and had to crop them at awkward angles.
In the digital age, the photography business has become very complicated. Anyone with a phone can take and share their images instantly. That was not the case in the era of film. Defining the role of the professional photographer is the biggest challenge now. The post-shoot skillset has shifted from the chemical darkroom to Lightroom and Photoshop and computer programs seem less tangible to the client, less alchemical, less magical. Only the framed image is magical now. I want that for my clients.
Many hours go into providing custom artwork from the first “hello” to the actual hanging of the portraits in the client’s home. I work with a wonderful local framer, George Wallace Of George’s Frame & Art, who is an artist in his own right. The final pieces are amazing!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Meredith Embry Photography – what should we know?
I started Meredith Embry Photography in 2018 as a boutique art photography business. Because I provide such personalized experiences, I am only able to accept a few clients at a time. This way, I can devote more personal time to each and every one of them. My client being thrilled with the art piece at the end of the process is my goal: a beautiful archival-heirloom quality photograph hanging in your home for generations to come.
Each person and family is unique and special. What works for one family doesn’t necessarily fit for another. I take the time to get to know my clients and figure out the types of portraits and looks they are wanting. Often, they may not know exactly what they want, so the time we spend together during the in-person consultation and taking a look around their house to see which spots would work for framed fine-art, canvas gallery wrap, or a more contemporary look of a metal print with bold, vivid colors helps them get excited about their upcoming photoshoot.
I encourage people to decorate their homes with the people they love. Imagine having framed art of your six-year-old son missing his two front teeth? We capture that special time and celebrate it. The in-person consultation before the photoshoot allows me the opportunity to ensure that we are creating images the clients wants most and for the spaces in their home where the wall portraits will live.
What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc.?
I am an art photographer focused on every aspect of the process of the shoot from the initial discussion to the framed print on the wall. People take thousands of photos now, and then delete them, or lose them to a computer crash, and so on. I am dedicated to documenting moments in people’s lives and then producing a work of art that will last for generations.
My photography friends and I call this digital age, the “lost generation”. This generation of children is the most photographed and documented, but not actually visible in prints, and therefore “lost” to the future. Just thinking about it makes me sad. Remember going through old photographs of your childhood or finding that rare print of your great-grandmother? It is a rite of passage to explore one’s roots when older. However, if all of your images are online, the chances that they may be accidentally destroyed, lost, or the technology becoming obsolete, prevents us from seeing them and holding them in our hands.
We live in a fast-paced society and are online much of the time. I believe that people miss the times of being outside and spending it with family and for those who have never experienced it, getting back in touch with those simpler times can provide unimaginable joy. My goal is to provide individuals and families a way to get reacquainted and to create a tangible memory of a specific point in time. Being able to physically see a reminder of a day in the park or a few moments of silliness—is an authentic experience. It is real.
What are you most proud of as a company?
Building relationships with my clients is a very important part of who I am. It allows me to capture, for example, a high school senior’s personality and what makes her unique. I love getting to know people–to hear their stories and then tell their stories visually through photographic artwork. I get to know my clients very well. We become friends. That is part of my process and I am proud of it. That connection gives me access to an emotional level that comes through in my photography. The client’s personality shines through. You can see it. When your child goes to sleep every night and wakes up every morning to a love-crafted photo of their family hanging on their wall, they feel like they belong. That child feels loved. When a family sits in front of the crackling fireplace on a cold winter night and see themselves smiling down on them from the mantelpiece, it is a mirror of their past selves hoping for their bright future. That is very special to me knowing that I helped that happen.
What sets you apart from others?
Photography for me is about self-identity and relationships. In my business, it is important for me to build a relationship with my clients. I am here to help my clients capture memories and also to celebrate their children’s accomplishments (or their own). For me, this relationship is the key to creating fantastic artwork for my clients.
I start with an in-home consultation before I take a single photograph. We get to know one another and I get a sense of your personality and wishes. We take a look at the various areas in your home where you would like artwork and I help you envision that portrait in your home. We discuss attire, possible locations, and appropriate times depending on the location and light. On the shoot, I prefer natural, relaxed poses. That usually takes a bit of time and some discussion. We sometimes go walking about and just talk. Then we hit that moment. Natural. Authentic. Perfect. You cannot get that moment in a staged environment and certainly not with your phone.
I pride myself on being present with each client and I believe that shows in my photography. Being present with my clients allows me the opportunity to capture their expressions and show them a part of themselves that they perhaps had not seen before. As one client said, “Meredith is a gifted portrait photographer, but there is always something documentary or ‘storytelling’ in flavor in even the most posed photographs. Her candid photographs, especially of children, are simply the best.”
If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
I found my passion for photography at mid-life. It is a gift to me that I can share with others. I would not change a thing.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I believe that my ability to connect with people, and also to put them at ease plays a major role in my success.
- Website: www.meredithembryphotography.com
- Phone: 214.417.6003
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @meredithembryphotography
- Facebook: @meredithembryphotography