It’s always reassuring when people insist that you start a business to share your talents… and then to raise your prices, because you’re that good at what you do. 17 year-old Emma Skinn has always been artistic but as a kid, she didn’t think being an artist was a practical career goal. She decided she’d like to be a wildlife biologist and focused on science courses in high school. Then, with a random elective last year, she took a photography course and discovered that she’s awesome with Photoshop, and has found her passion capturing photos of wildlife.
With this discovery she started playing with pop art, leading her teachers to introduce her to Andy Warhol and rotoscoping, an art technique used in animation. Two teachers in particular have been great mentors—Mr. Andrew (photography) and Mr. Johnston (Com Tech). Their support, in addition to the Summer Company Program have allowed her to start ESkinn Media this summer, a business that provides photography, photo editing, as well as graphic & web design services. The Summer Company grant allowed her to buy the startup equipment and supplies she needed to get going. Now, she’s busy with a variety of projects and selling her prints at “Finishing Touches” on Mainstreet Wingham.
Emma said the Summer Company Program, funded by the Province of Ontario and Huron County Economic Development Department, has been a great experience and worth the hard work. She’s decided that she doesn’t love advertising and that she’s not even sure she’d like to run her own business. Her dream job would be an art director at a magazine like National Geographic, and she’s planning to apply for an internship with the magazine to get a head start. The Summer Company program has taught her a great deal about what it takes to run a business, and has allowed her to grow as an artist, but she’d prefer to do what she loves (photography), preferably while travelling, than to get bogged down with advertising, bookkeeping, and sales.
However, she plans to keep ESkinn Media going while she’s in school to help her save for a Photo Journalism program. She’s heading into grade 12 next year with a strong sense of what she loves and a well-defined path to get there. She’s also going to Cuba in January and Peru next summer, so she’s hoping to write and build her photography portfolio while she’s away.
When asked if she has any tips for those wanting to get into photography, she said “pick something that you want to capture—something that inspires you, and start with that. Don’t let anyone else dictate what you should do with your art. It’s your art. Do what makes you happy.”