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Mapp of London: Interview with Emma Mapp

We caught up with Emma Mapp, photographer and owner of camera accessories shop Mapp of London, who shares with us her inspirations and advice for aspiring makers.

Emma Mapp offers kits and courses on a wide variety of creative activities, from cyanotypes to botanical prints

Emma Mapp creating a cyanotype

What inspired you to start your brand?

The 2009 recession was a turning point in my life. Having been made redundant as a lawyer in the City, I resolved to take the plunge and pursue a career that would make me feel more fulfilled. I decided to return to my childhood passion of photography.

It’s a decision I’ve never regretted as it has led to some amazing opportunities, from co-founding the London Photo Festival to having my work featured in publications including The Telegraph and the Metro.

It’s also taken me in directions I never could have anticipated and my frustration at having to juggle a bulky, unattractive camera bag as well as a handbag led me to create my own range of stylish camera bags and accessories.  A chance visit to an art gallery in Antigua reintroduced me to cyanotypes, an alternative form of photography and this led me onto my current design path.

What else inspires you to create?

I take inspiration from a number of areas but my main passions are history, art & design (especially the art deco period), photography and architecture. I am constantly pouring over old magazines and design books!

 

Creating a cyanotype

What is the favourite project that you have worked on to date?

Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly interested in sustainability, with an emphasis on using eco dyes, natural resources and recycled material. I now run classes along these principles which have been featured in Country Loving and Breath magazines. These take places in my she-shed in Twickenham and range from Christmas wreath making to cyanotype printing – “nature's printing press” – a more eco-friendly form of photography that is particularly effective at capturing texture.

 

Making botanical prints on napkin

What do you do in your spare time?

I'm fortunate that I can combine my business with my passions and love to spend time taking photographs, visiting art galleries and browsing antique shops and fairs.

Pressing botanicals onto a piece of paper

What is some advice you have for aspiring makers?

• Keep an actuate record of your finances from day one.
• Know when to walk away from an idea if it’s not working, you can always return to it later.
• Enjoy yourself!

See Emma's courses offered on Yodomo, and pick up a kit to learn the how to make your own cyanotype, botanical print and more.