My Story: A Look Behind The Lens:
My name is Emily Zamora, I’m a lifestyle and wedding photographer born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and now living with my husband and furbaby Riley in Portland, OR.
Most photographers would say that their love of photography started when they got their first camera in their tweens/teens/college years and haven’t been able to put down the camera since.
My story with photos goes a bit further back than that.
I was born Emily Jean Stephens to a teenage, drug addicted, single girl who just wasn’t ready to be a mom. And that’s okay. Because that opened the door for me (and 3 of my biological siblings) to be adopted by her grandparents, my maternal great-grandparents.
Like I mentioned earlier, I was adopted by my maternal great-grandparents. My own living family history. I can still visit my childhood home and grab my family photo album that documents my every milestone and accomplishment. But with this connection to my (well half of my) genetic pool, also came the knowledge of our family’s history of memory loss, dementia, and mental illness. Especially among the females.
And while I’m not guaranteed to inherit the disease, that doesn’t stop the worry that, someday, I just might.
Cue the part of my story where I get my first “real camera”, your mid 2000s basic point-and-shoot. I guess technically you can trace my VERY first camera back to the Kodak disposable film ones my mom would give me and my siblings when we did theatre plays in elementary school. For every new play/production we’d get a new camera to fill up. I even still have the physical images from those cameras. The content you get from an 8 year old with a camera…
But before I go too far on this tangent, I just want to explain how I’ve used cameras (and photography) since that first point-and-shoot. I took pictures of EVERYTHING. My food, family vacations, trips to the mall, my dogs, my feet…basically of anything to document the memory of what I was up to that day. Nowadays people get a bad rep for taking “food pics”, “shoe pics”, and basically over photographing every moment. But I say, take those photos! Preserve those days! And maybe refrain from the hundreds of selfies- those ones do get kind of old.
I absofreakinglutely LOVE that I’m the one trusted with preserving someone’s special moment. Whether that be the first look between a bride and groom, the sibling meltdowns that happen at basically every family session, or that special moment when someone asks their significant other to spend the rest of their lives together. I get to play the comic relief, the peacekeeper, the quiet fly on the wall, and so much more. How lucky can one person be?!
And because I feel like I started off this whole thing pretty heavy, I’m going to close with some of my favorite camera/photography related memories…
And with that, I’ll sign off. Thanks for reading!