Take Five with Emma Mapp
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Take Five with Emma Mapp

Emma Mapp is a photographer and designer.
Initially a City lawyer, she lost her job at the height of the recession in 2009, declaring it now as “the best thing that could have happened to me”.  Giving up the law, Emma acted on a long-held dream to turn her passion for photography into her career.  In just over 6 years, she has become an award winning photographer, selling her own photos under the brand A Bit Off The Mapp.  She is due to launch her leather camera bag and camera strap range in May 2016, which uses her photography and design skills and is inspired by a pattern taken from an antique Chinese raw silk kimono that belonged to her great-grandmother.

Alongside her own work, Emma is supporting other photographers.  She helped found the London Photo Festival, which gives aspiring photographers a place to showcase their work (held this year on 19th - 21st May in Southwark) – and also the London Photo Gallery, which helps sell the work of newly emerging photographers.  

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
Having the flexibility to plan my own working day (and I get to meet the most interesting and inspirational people!)
Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
Thomas Heatherwick - an English designer and 'clever creative'.  I went to hear a talk by him about 4 years ago after I was made redundant, and I found it to be one of the most inspirational talks I've heard to date.   
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
Building up a business takes time and patience!  Patience is not a characteristic that comes naturally to me, but I've had to learn to develop it along the way because you cannot control every process and there's always a natural order at play.  It took me two years to find a business partnership for my camera bags and straps but the patience paid off and I realise I had to undertake the creative journey I went on in order to get to my current stage.

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
Park it.  Forcing something is a waste of time and emotion - you can always go back to it at a later date or move on to something new.  Not every creative journey needs to come to fruition but the process is important and you will learn invaluable things along the way.
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
I'm quite tall and hardly wear high heels, so I'd like to be a nice, sexy pair of strappy stilettos!

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