We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Burks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
When I was younger, photography was a way for me to show those around me a perspective that only I could see and failed to know how to express otherwise. As I grew older, I was mesmerized by the magical ability of the camera and my own creativity to develop and construct feelings, other worlds, and points of view that otherwise might be overlooked or hidden to the eye. It became something similar to exploring the world of a novel with my imagination; yet I was the author and my camera the pen, and I could create whatever I could dream up. I was also incredibly passionate about capturing all my favorite people and moments so that I could hold on to them forever, even when my memory fails me. Not only the power of imagination, but also the strong love of my family, friends, and all the things and memories I cared about were intensely motivating in my desire to capture precious moments and timeless feelings.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I myself love to read and write poetry, and I strive to create works of photography that utilize the power of both the written and visual. I feel that using words alongside my work will give it that much more clarity of subject, tone, and the power to portray emotions and experiences, whose depictions can often be hard to illustrate. For my work with portraiture and families, I seek to take the way I interpret the poetry of life and weave it into how I capture and illustrate their loved ones and treasured memories. I would hope that I could create work that would create such emotion and feeling in those looking at it, that they would get lost in the worlds and imagery of my art. I want to make the type of pictures that people would put in their favorite room of their home to remind them of a feeling, time, place, or memory they want to have always. I long to inspire and encourage others, and I want to push my limits as an artist to create something impactful and deep, exploring the depths of not only myself, but the human experience.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, one of my favorite types of restaurants is Mexican food, and while I have yet to find the best in Phoenix, one of my go to spots so far is Popo’s for their chips and salsa and happy hour margs. I am also a huge country music fan, as well as a long time country swing dancer. My absolute top hobby is going to the many country dancing spots around the city when they are open. I love Denim and Diamonds, as well as the Buffalo Chip Saloon! Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek is also an excellent spot all year round for all sorts of activities and holiday celebrations. Strolling downtown, I could spend the day visiting the Grand coffee shop, the Phoenix Art Museum, and taking photos in a hidden park spot or on top of the parking garages. I also love seeing my favorite bands at the Van Buren and taking in all the sights and sounds of the State Fair! As well, being the book nerd I am, I adore the library, and any quaint bookstore I can find, such as Changing Hands, which has its own bar called “First Draft” inside.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be the photographer I am today without the dedicated professors and professional photographers at NAU, specifically Amy Horn and Eric O’Connell. As well, I have to shoutout my partner for many a creative project in college, and continuing source of support and inspiration, my best friend, Delaney Daniel of Delaney Daniel Photography. My family has also been incredibly supportive and encouraging, and I wouldn’t be here without them.