Lens On: Emma Breschi

The model and image maker takes us to South Africa.

Aside from appearing in campaigns for the likes of Monki, ASOS and Estee Lauder – as well as music videos for Chase and Status, Rag’n’Bone Man and Lapsley – young creative Emma Breschi is just as accustomed to being behind the camera, as she is to being in front of it.

Opting to define herself as an “image maker” as opposed to photographer, Breschi seeks to tell stories through her photos, a mindset that stemmed from a childhood when her father used VHS to capture her and her siblings’ upbringing. These days she’s telling stories for brands including Dr. Martens and Puma, as well as working on personal projects, fast becoming commonplace within international publications and across the web. Her Insta itself stands as the perfect portfolio for her dynamic photographic skills.

For Emma’s most recent visual project, and potentially her most exciting story to date, she’s documented her trip to South Africa (so jel!) alongside besties, the model Charlie Barker and musician Bella Latham. We caught up with the image making model upon her return to the UK, with a quick chat about the evolution of her work and her trip to South Africa.

You describe yourself as an image maker – what exactly does this mean? 

I guess the way I explore my creativity isn’t just limited to photography. I’m constantly learning new techniques within various creative subjects such as art, film, music, digital platforms and to a certain extent, maybe even social media. All these things benefit my work as an individual that expresses through visual and figurative language. The term “image maker” is basically another way of saying “story teller”, which is what I try to do throughout my work, tell a story.

When did you first get into image making?

My dad was really into being the first to get all the cool gadgets, so when he got a camera and VHS CAM that’s when all hell broke loose! He captured my every move and I loved all the photos/videos he’d take of my siblings and I growing up. So naturally I wanted to do the same! I used to make all kinds of funny little films and photo shoots with my friends; that’s what triggered it all. I think deep down I always knew I wanted to “visually create” and “tell stories”, but as a kid the idea of having a career being some sort of creative wizard didn’t come to mind immediately. 

You’re a model too. Do you prefer being in front of or behind the camera? 

For me the two go hand in hand. I randomly fell into modelling, but I wouldn’t be the image maker I am today if it weren’t for my experiences as a model. At first I was a bit weirded out by the fact people wanted me to model because I was like “ermmmm but I’m a photographer …”, but I gave it a go and from then on it just made sense.

So there’s some influence from the former on the latter?

Absolutely. As a model, I have had some amazing experiences and once in a life time opportunities to work with some of the industry’s finest! Modelling has taught me new things about myself, my craft as an image maker and the people around me. I personally love collaborating with other creatives as a model and feeling inspired by what everyone involved is doing. I think it’s an exciting time and we’re in a world where each individual’s creativity can inspire us all together. Despite what people say about our industry being so competitive and whatnot… If we, as creatives, are motivated by the desire to achieve, then we won’t have the desire to beat others – thats a saying I like to live by. 

Tell us about your recent trip away, where you shot this story. 

I went on a trip with my gal pals Charlie and Bella to the most mesmerising place (hands down!), South Africa. I’m fortunate to have travelled a lot throughout my life (having grown up in Asia), but never have I ever had a more magical time! Oh, and bearing in mind we went during their winter, so the fact we took time out this summer to go explore the wintery days of South Africa says something. There’s no place like it. I just want to go back and do it all over again. I mean, we got to see wild rhinos and elephants, whilst sipping Bon Courage –
Cape Town’s finest dessert wine.

How did you become friends with your travel companions?

Charlie and Bella are my FAVOURITE. I first randomly met Charlie at a party and told her something like “I love your hair” lol. Then she was like “come on my boat!” And I was like “lol what, I ain’t never been on a canal boat before!” We then met again at fashion week, this time with Bella (I’m spoilt when it comes to making friends), I think that day we just knew we were meant to be… because Bella asked me something like “why are you dressed in all red?” And I was like “I’m on my period… you know just incase I get a stain…” and the rest is history!

Cool. So the thought process behind your shoot?

It was all quite spontaneous. Bella is actually from South Africa, so she was going all along and I basically invited myself. They were telling me all about it and just like that I hitch-hiked on the back of their holiday plans! South Africa has such beautiful and vibrant landscapes of all kinds, so it really was a no-brainier for me to capture our moments together. 

And what’s your favourite type of image making?

I’m not the most confident in it, but I love moving image! Making films is something I really want to get better at and explore more as an image maker.

So finally, what are your hopes, dreams and long term goals when it comes to photography?

I’ve been playing with the idea of going to film school at some point, to study directing. I really look up to the women in film today and it’s something I’d like to be part of. Don’t know what the future holds, but I’m sure it’ll be epic! 

Emma Breschi
Ryan Cahill
Lens On: Emma Breschi

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