Photography Alumna, Emma Alexander, talks about why she chose to study at AUB, and setting up her own production company called Mother Bran.
What age were you when you first noticed a passion for photography and where did the inspiration come from?
I stumbled across photography during my foundation course: I had my heart set on animation, but fell head over heels in love with photography! It opened the door to a whole other realm of visual communication, and that just blew my mind.
What originally attracted you to studying Photography at AUB?
It was considered one of the best courses in the country, the facilities were great, and it’s by the coast – a hat trick of YES in my book.
What were the most important lessons you learnt?
The biggest lesson was undoubtably that I didn’t want to be an actual photographer! I loved reading and talking about photography, planning and prepping for shoots, discussing other people’s work – but actually shooting my own images became less important to me. At the time it was really confusing, but really I was on the journey into Production.
Can you explain a little about your career journey since graduating… what jobs have you had and where? What does your job involve?
I’ve done a full circle over the past 15 years: starting out in production, I’ve worked in press and syndication, with photographers and even had a stint in marketing and digital strategy. Over half my career has been in advertising as an art buyer and agency producer, but I now run my own production company, Mother Bran, which creates campaigns and content for clients directly. We work in the UK and across Europe, and focus on startups and scale-up brands.
Tell us a bit about your current role, what is the best bit about your current job and what attracted you to it?
I absolutely love production! I’m a facilitator, an organiser, an avid list-maker and production ticks all those boxes, while scratching my creative itch. I really enjoy building the perfect team for each job, hunting out the specialists and the fresh-faces alike. I’ve done this for some fantastic agencies and some wonderful clients, but in 2017 it finally felt like the right time to launch my own baby.
Can you tell us about the work you’re most proud to have produced so far?
I recently heard someone describe this as like being asked to pick a favourite ex-boyfriend. There is so much work I’m proud of for such different reasons, but waddling my way through a five-day shoot with Javier Bardem, Chris Evans and Don Cheadle in Canada while 33 weeks pregnant is a strong memory. It was the last hurdle on an incredibly long and overwhelmingly stressful job, but we got there, and it was an absolute blast. The whole team were just amazing and we had such a great time, it was a lovely swan song before going on maternity leave.
The first shoot under the Mother Bran umbrella was a special one, as is the last shoot we did for the coworking provider, Techspace – in Germany and on a shoestring, but the client was so, so happy.
Do you have any future career aspirations?
Grow the Mother Bran empire! Or at least, keep making beautiful work – we have some super-exciting jobs lined up for this year, which I’m really looking forward to bringing to life.
Finally, what’s your one piece of advice for the next generation of creatives?
‘Work hard and be nice’ is my mantra. Always give 110% to your jobs and be respectful to who you meet, whether they’re at the ‘top’ or the ‘bottom’: you never know where that person will go and where you will meet again.