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  • Written by: Sydney Cooper

Capturing the World With Cinematic Eyes

Photography by: Emily "EJ" McCartney

Passionate traveler, photographer/cinematographer, and director of photography, Emily “EJ” McCartney has herself planted in the United States and Eastern Africa.

Two years ago, McCartney took a trip to Uganda and Kenya; her purpose was discovered.

“I fell in love with the culture and the language,” McCartney said. “The trip solidified the need as a story-teller to redefine how the Western world sees Africa.”

McCartney traveled a second time in November with the intention to only stay for a month. But in the end she lived in Africa for five months.

Before her discovery, McCartney’s photography journey started with the music scene. For years, McCartney thought she wanted to be a music producer, but seeing album covers from jazz artist Francis Wolfe and others made her realize her passion was photography.

“Photography is for myself,” McCartney said. “It’s a very personal thing.”

The “cinematic” aesthetic gives McCartney the goal of producing projects that “could be a scene out of a short film.”

“I want people to be able to push pause and have each scene be able to stand alone as its own image,” McCartney said.

The freelance life at first was not the easiest for McCartney. There was the uncertainty of whether or not rent would be paid. She would also take any client that came her way. However, in present time, McCartney’s opportunities come from clients such as Nike, D Magazine, Art Con, other commercial brands and local people.

McCartney enjoys earth tones, the monochromatic scale, New Orleans, vibrant cities, environment and the juxtaposition of colors. McCartney looks to challenge herself and her work to live in a more tangible way (books and magazines), expand outside the Instagram box and to rediscover why she chose photography as a career.

Lovers of McCartney and her work can look forward to her journey in Africa coming in October. She will work and live in Africa for five months.


Instagram: @emilyjmccartney

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