Emma Elizabeth Tillman, Photographer, Writer & Filmmaker

We are in awe of and immensely inspired by filmmaker, photographer and writer Emma Elizabeth Tillman. Following her Tumblr Love the Ghost is an evocative and personal insight into her life as an artist. Her captures are raw and enigmatic, at times sharp and at times soft, bursts of light onto private moments. You never feel a voyeur; her pictures bring you seamlessly into her world and hint at the warmth of a photographer whose subjects are so at ease. She is as much a part of the picture, behind the lens, as she is in front of it. 

Her responses here are generous and insightful and we are so grateful to her for sharing a little of her practice. 

What do you do?

It seems like all I do these days is run errands, but I also take pictures of people I love. I write everything down. I write films.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

Stay light.

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

Having a teenage affair with my best girlfriend. Spending a tough winter in Brittany in my early twenties. Getting married to my husband three years ago.


What is your dream project?

Making a music video for Rihanna.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I wrote a feature length film, starring my friend Stella Schnabel. The film is set in New Orleans and features a brother and sister trying to find their way back to each other through a bizarre set of characters and circumstances.

I am also finishing a book of my diary and photographs, due out some time this year.

If you could choose to hear any female contemporary present at Make Nice, who would it be and why?

Naomi Campbell. I would like to know how she has retained such consistent strength, mystery, and elegance for so many years.

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

Your perspective on everything will change; again and again and again.

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

I do, but they are women very close to me. Both are artists and I am lucky to have them. They understand what I am trying to do, and I think I understand them too.

What are you listening to and/or reading that is inspiring or entertaining you?

Rihanna – Anti
Andre Breton’s Biography – A Revolution of the Mind
Violet to Vita: The Letters of Violet Trefusis to Vita Sackville-West, 1910-1921

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?

I think every artist has a dream of life, and everything they do brings them closer to realising that vision. I have always wanted the life of a man for that reason; it always seemed to me that men have more room to explore the limits of reality. It would be nice for young women artists to not have to dream of being a man in this regard, I think.

How can we find our more about your work?

You can look at my diary online at www.lovetheghost.tumblr.com