Sometimes you meet people who for some reason you can't quite put your finger on, inspire you. Emily Stoker has that quality to her that simply inspires you to take life by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. Whether it is the vastness of the county side or the drip of a delicious cappuccino Emily's images put you in the middle of the action and cause you to feel as if you were there. We are delighted to introduce you to her as she shares a little of herself and Corrie Pocta of Recuir Leather.
Heirloom: Do you have any morning rituals or things you do to get the day started on the right foot? If so, would you mind sharing a few and why you feel that set you up for success?
Emily: I would love to say I wake up gracefully and fall into a yoga pose but honestly my two dogs, Charlie and Birdie are hounding me at the crack of dawn ready to be fed. I spend most of my mornings walking them near the little lake by our home before heading out the door for the day, life is too short not to have a dog or two by your side.
Heirloom: Tell us about Recuir Leather. How did y'all connect?
Emily: Recuir Leather is a brand started by Corrie Pocta, she hand sews and designs leather bags and accessories. Corrie was a waitress at a local restaurant where I was eating one night with some friends and she had a really beautiful look to her and a genuine smile so I asked her if she would ever be interested in being photographed. We became instant friends and our first shoot was a picnic shoot in a field of Texas wildflowers. We are collaborating to get her site launched, so right now we are photographing her timeless products.
Heirloom: How do you balance work & play?
Emily: Being a freelancer, it can be tough to know when to unplug since I don't have 9-5 hours. I am a photographer and bookbinder and there is always something to do. I try to pick one day a week where I do all the boring business work that comes along with being your own boss and the rest of the week is for creating, photographing, updating my website and blog, pitching ideas, editing and sewing books. I tend to always have a full plate but that's the way I like it so when it's time to relax I turn to nature to center myself.
Heirloom: Tell us your story. How did you get into photography? Who encouraged / influenced you most?
Emily: I grew up near Fort Worth, Texas and was always my happiest when I was creating something with my hands and I picked up my first camera in high school after seeing a book of Nan Goldin's photographs. My family has always been supportive of me wanting to be an artist and I wouldn't be where I was without them.When I was 18 I packed up my bags and moved to California and attended Brooks Institute of Photography. I knew what I wanted to be a photographer and found a school that allowed me to have a camera in my hand the very first day.
Heirloom: What’s the most challenging part of owning your own business and what advice would you give other artists?
Emily: The most challenging part of owning my business is learning when to say no and when to say yes. When I first started, I said yes to everything because I was just happy to have the work but really it ended up being more of an investment of time and money than it was worth so I am starting to find that balance to keep me on the track I want. I think it's important to always always always shoot personal projects to keep the spark going between you and and what you love doing.
Heirloom: As you prepare for a shoot or wedding, where do you turn to find inspiration?
Emily: I look to nature for inspiration, the outdoors is where I feel most at home. I am always in search for a natural color palette and symmetry that this world offers and I am lucky to call Texas home with all it's endless glory.