Emma was born in Liberia, West Africa in 1967 and lived in England before arriving in New Zealand aged six, where she still resides in the beautiful twin-harbour city of Auckland.
A former nurse, Emma went to live in London in the early 1990s where she fell in love with photography at the Camera Club in Leicester Square where she learnt darkroom techniques and took part in her first group exhibition.
On her return to New Zealand, she became one of that country’s most adaptable commercial photographers, working freelance for over 20 years and winning awards. Emma’s diverse portfolio is testament to her compassionate, yet thorough, approach.
In 1992, Emma began exhibiting her art photography and has established a strong following. In 2016, she was the only New Zealand artist to be invited to appear at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in London.
Her two most recent collections - Imperfect (2016) and Embellish (2017) – are floral portraits that explore the nature of beauty. Lusciously seductive, the striking compositions also deliver a sharp bite of reality. In a world obsessed with perfection, these portraits of flora ‘on the turn’ or augmented with paint and objects find beauty in decline and demise, and question the authenticity of enhancements.
Emma explains, "I want to challenge our concept of beauty. For me, Imperfect frames reality; the flaws themselves are beautiful. In Embellish, I draw on the style of the Dutch Masters – and question the value of illusion.”
In this video presentation to the Image Nation Photographic Conference in Auckland, Emma talks about her early life and influences and how her career has developed: