"Everything is changing around you - the seasons, your friends, your family, fashion, etc... so art should be no different. You have to go through highs and lows to create the art you love."
- Jill Emmer
Photographer Jill Emmer uses her Minnesota surroundings to capture more than just moments…she creates ideas that ignite the imagination. Her work has been featured across the United States in places like New York City’s Photoville show, the Mall of America, and has spread across the globe thanks to Instagram selecting her as a Suggested User.
How did you get into photography?
I have always been the girl with the camera. I brought it along with me on field trips in grade school and to the bars and football games in college. However I have never had any sort of class or training.
What message or idea would you like your photos to convey?
Some of my photos are created to make the viewer really think - or smile...And others are simply because I think the scene looked pretty. My favorite photos are the ones that tell a story... and even better if they tell a story that makes you laugh!
What do you find to be the greatest challenge when photographing? How do you overcome it?
Sometimes I look back at something I did a few months ago and think about how I never would do that now. I’m just in a different state now. But who knows, maybe tomorrow I will get back to that state. And each state is influenced by past states.
Once you accept this as an artist - then you will continue to grow. I think it can be challenging and limiting for a person if you don't let yourself grow and go with the natural flow of things. Perhaps you feel pressure to continue with the same sort of photo genre because that's what your Instagram followers like or because it benefits you for commercial purposes. However - everything is changing around you - the seasons, your friends, your family, fashion, etc...so art should be no different. You have to go through highs and lows to create the art you love.
Many of your photos feature an umbrella. What is the meaning or symbolism behind these images?
I love the color that umbrellas add - no matter how dull the surroundings are. I love that they tend to look old fashioned and whimsical.
About a year or so ago I started sharing photos with a rainbow umbrella that I had borrowed (stolen) from my mom. An Instagram friend asked where she could buy one. I mailed her mine. Soon many people asked for it and I had started a new project - the traveling umbrella! See #shineonyoucrayumbrella to see where they are now! The project has grown to 6 umbrellas and they're all over the world: Malaysia, Rome, England, LA, NYC, and Florida! I have over a hundred people waiting for it - some of the biggest names on Instagram - and I dream of turning this into a charitable project sometime soon!
“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” -Lewis Carroll
What are you sure to pack when you photograph or travel?
I can't spend a day without my Dr Pepper lip balm. Is that what you expected me to say? Ha! Of course my camera + family would have to come too!
If you could photograph anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
This question makes my eyes sting. I would photograph my beautiful relatives who have passed before me. My grandparents. My dad's younger brother. My uncle. Mostly because I want to spend more time with them!
What has been the biggest highlight or moment of your career so far?
I had a photo represent Instagram in the NYC show Photoville. The Dept of Tourism for Minnesota turned one of my iPhone photos into a 40 foot banner in downtown Denver. And I have curated large collections of art for shows that represent my community at prestigious spots like our local museum and the Mall of America.