the cottage

I never used to understand when photographers I admired told me to shoot for myself… “to do more personal work.” My business is me. Is my relationships. Is interwoven into my life. It all felt personal to me.

As I look through these images I took a few weeks ago of my grandparents at their summer home in Canada, I understand.

In the midst of a week where I am feeling overwhelmed by every little mistake I make and each new problem to solve, these images push me forward. Past my weakness and failings, they remind me that I am an artist.

They remind me that photography is more than business. It is documenting the things that we want to hold on to. To make them beautiful and keep them safe. These images speak to me. They say Keep me. Protect me.  Share me. And I will live forever.

Life is heartbreakingly short. I want my family to live forever. The truth is they won’t. But my love for them in these images, that will. And I pray that it honors them. Forever. It’s all I have to give.

I doesn’t feel like enough. There’s too many already lost, that I never had the chance to honor. These are for them too. With all my heart.


all images shot on Canon eos-1v, fuji 400h + fuji neopan black and white

  1. Pure. Amazing. Beautiful. Perfection!  Thank you for posting something so personal & beautiful.

  2. Andrea Brown

    amazing. thank you for sharing. 



  4. Aaron Scott

    Beautiful pictures honey, wish I could have been there.

  5. Shathaway50

    These make me smile. You really have a good eye Em. Thank you.

  6. Blasier205

    Beautiful…each and every one of them!  You have a gift, Emily, AND are blessed with wonderful family from both your Mom and Dad!!! Love you Em the Gem!

  7. Wendy

    Oh yes.. I love this new you.  Fan. Tas. Tic. 

  8. meiyen

    I love your personal work. Your grandparents’ home looks like a peaceful haven.

  9. Jennifer

    OMG Em, yes please keep doing “personal work”.  These photos are fantastic.  You make me feel like I”m right there at their cabin.

  10. Amy Hathaway

    This defines the cottage for the past 22 years of my life for me.. thank you. this is amazing

  11. Katie

    You inspire me. More and more all the time. LOVE these.

  12. Pingback: the things I learned from Sally Mann | Em the Gem

  13. Pingback: kate + charlie : belle river, ontario | Em the Gem