A Day with Sammy Emerson

Denver's City Park
The morning was picturesque. Late October, Denver, Colorado, sunny and a deep blue sky without a cloud-this is how we started the day. Gio and I looked over the equipment, perfunctorily. We drove to meet with Sammy Emerson. Travis met us there. On Columbine Street, in Denver's fashionable Congress Park neighborhood, the three of us collected our thoughts and our gear.

The exercise was simple enough. We picked a young photographer to interview and follow around for the day. We'd met with her once before, sometime in late August or early September. That initial meeting was nebulous at best. We asked her a few questions, and stumbled through our intention. Our intention at Rocket House Pictures was simply this: we needed content for our website, we needed material for our portfolio, we needed work. Just how we were going to do it, well, that was the nebulous part.

In her apartment, Sammy showed us her collection of antique cameras. She made us coffee (I drank three cups) and there were croissants with homemade jam. As Travis and Gio set up the lights and camera, I spoke with Sammy.

I think people who choose to be behind the camera tend to be more shy when posed in front of the camera. I could tell Sammy was a little nervous. A few days before we met, I sent her the questions I intended to ask. Still, she was a little nervous. Not shy, not in the least, she was just nervous. Sammy is a very outgoing and engaging sort of person.

Before the interview we started to talk photographers. W. Eugene Smith, and Ray Man proved to be common heroes for both of us. It was a pleasure to geek out a bit with her. For those of you who don't know, W. Eugene Smith photojournalist who brought images of war and Albert Schweitzer into the living rooms of America in the days before the TV took the impact of LIFE Magazine away. W. Eugene Smith also thought in terms of entire projects, the photo-essay, as it were. And Ray Man? Early 20th century, a surrealist, a pioneer.

It proved to relax her. The conversation swinging from the pioneers of photography to Pearl Jam and their new album created a calm in Sammy that made our interview fun and natural. Later, I watched Sammy as she spoke to her models and made them kind of forget the camera and relax. It was an interesting day.

The forthcoming interview with Sammy Emerson of Sammy Emerson Photography, will be available to watch soon. Either here at Rocket House Pictures or at Sammy Emerson Photography.
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