Even though she always had a passion for the arts, a serious wrist injury in high school helped Emily discover a specific interest in photography. “I wasn’t sure if photography was something I wanted to go into, even until my senior year in college,” she says, “I decided to become a fine arts major but still kept up with my photography on the side.”
During her time at Luther, Emily won the Erdman Entrepreneurial Scholarship, a competitive monetary award that honors Luther students who create, develop, and manage a successful entrepreneurial enterprise. “The scholarship helped me start my small photography business, EV Designs, when I was a first-year student,” she says. ”It made it possible for me to buy a few lights and some equipment and I kept building my business from there.”
During the first semester of her senior year, Emily interned with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. “I spent time working both in the archives with her images and as her photo assistant,” she says. “I got to work on many shoots for Vogue and Vanity Fair. That meant spending time with top models and actresses and actors, which was interesting,” she says. “The internship was also an important time for me before starting my business. It helped me decide if I wanted to spend my life in New York City or return to Wausau and start my own endeavor.”
Emily’s internship made her realize how heavily the public is influenced by images and the extent to which many published images are retouched. “During my second semester at Luther, I decided to complete my senior project on over-retouching,” she says, “I took portraits of some of my friends without any hairstyling or makeup,” she says. “I then made them up according to how it might be done for a photo shoot. And finally, I retouched the photos to the extent that magazines retouch their images.”
Emily felt this was a very interesting project on transformation. “The girls were shocked by the results and the images hung in a series of three in the gallery,” she says. “I also created time-lapse videos on the retouching process. I spent about 20 hours retouching each image and condensed them into nine-minute videos.”
As a student, Emily was part of Luther’s Photo Bureau team. Photo Bureau produces thousands of images each year that are used in a number of on-campus publications, national magazines, and collegiate advertising/marketing material.
Emily’s business, VOSStudios, focuses on portrait photography.
I specialize in senior portraits with a little bit of a fashion edge to them. I also do a lot of corporate headshots in the winter, work with newborns and families, and do fashion photography with models from Madison and Milwaukee.
—Emily Voss '13