Learn how photography went from a hobby to a full-time job for Emily Winiker, one of our 24 Best Travel Photographers. She describes her shooting style as warm, spontaneous, and authentic — which makes her a perfect fit for our series. See for yourself.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Brooklyn. My mother was an artist, and my parents were always encouraging pursuits related to the arts. My parents were actually heavily involved in some kind of counter-culture folk-dance movement in the '70s, so I spent my childhood surrounded by ethnic foods and folk dance camps in Upstate New York. I didn't discover photography as an artistic medium until my mid-twenties, but when I did, it instantly became an obsession, and very quickly, a full-fledged career. I currently work as a full-time lifestyle photographer, and am still in awe that I get paid to do what I love.
How would you describe your photography style?
Lifestyle, with a base in portraiture. Spontaneous, authentic, and a little ethereal. My style was recently described to me as, "Warm, natural and down to earth, with an ever-present feeling of magic in the air." I am also influenced by nostalgia for the film photographs of my parents from the '70s, and have a love of kitschy Americana.
What do you love most about photographing on the road?
Photography has given me courage that I didn't use to possess. I used to be very fearful of traveling to new places. But photography forces me outside of my comfort zone. It pushes me to explore — the need to make images overcomes the innate fear of unknown experiences. But mostly, I love the people I meet along the way! There are so many interesting stories to be heard.
Where are you headed next?
I'll be exploring more of the USA. Last year I spent A LOT of time in California — multiple road trips and camping trips to Joshua Tree, Sequoia National Park, Death Valley, and Big Sur. I plan on road-tripping through New Mexico and Texas and then through Oregon and Washington State — but there are so many more trips I want to do. We'll see how much I can fit in!
A QUICK PORTFOLIO
See Emily's photos of Haiti on Gentedimontagna