Emily Berl was born and raised in Washington, DC and attended Boston University. After college, she began her photography career as a news and feature photographer in New York before relocating to Los Angeles in 2012 where she currently works as an editorial photographer. Emily’s personal work centers on documentary portraiture, exploring people and communities rooted in specific cultural ideas. Her bodies of work tend to create cultural taxonomies of people with like dreams, aspirations and obsessions. Her first monograph, “Marilyn”, was published in 2018 through Swiss publisher Sturm & Drang.
Failures and Small Victories
Dozens of small things that had never crossed my mind before having a child now fill my consciousness. The contraptions, the toys, the appointments, the growth, the appetite, the routines. Verses from children’s books read on repeat run through my head all day long. I’m honestly amazed that my brain has made space for so much information that it never needed to hold before. These pictures originate from these small things. They are things that probably appear unremarkable from the outside, things that I sometimes question the significance of, but things that represent so much of my world now.
Before becoming a mother I never took pictures my life or my family. I tried a few times but it never felt right, never seemed necessary or sincere when I did it. After I had my son in 2019, I suddenly felt the need to start photographing him and the moments that fill our days together. Arguably trivial, these small dramas matter to me. Although I know they largely represent the monotony of motherhood and our tiny word together, it’s the only world he knows and it’s the world I’m striving to make into a good one for him.
I’m new to parenthood. I’ve been at this less than two years, and while I feel like I’m finally getting a hang of it, I’m also realizing that I never actually will, and that’s part of it. In the same way, this project is ongoing and evolving, it might always be.
To view more of Emily Berl’s work please visit their website.