LA Art Scene: Tappan Collective & an Interview with Photographer Emily Knecht

Tappan Collective opens a new art show + a discussion with one of the accomplished artists, Emily Knecht.

Last Thursday night, online art platform Tappan Collective unveiled their latest exhibition, Wielding Now. Hundreds of art enthusiasts from across the City of Angels congregated in the Culver City showroom to celebrate eight artists and their new works. “The collection showcases a selection of original paintings, collage, sculpture, and photography by various Tappan artists. The exhibits demands intimate interaction of the viewer, which portrays how these diverse artists wield their talents according to their tools (weapons) of choice,” states Tappan.

One of those celebrated artists is Emily Knecht, a photographer known for her vulnerable, playful and undeniably intimate photographs. She first picked up a disposable camera as a kid and now finds herself filling gallery walls in solo and group shows. Last June, Emily showcased “Feelings,” a collection of 35mm film photographs of herself in one of humanity’s most emotional states: documenting herself each time she cried over the course of three years, and received high praise from outlets such as Refinery 29 and Huffington Post, among others.

Now, Emily’s photographs have graced yet another gallery wall with the opening of Wielding Now. Take a peek of the Tappan Collective opening reception below and keep reading to learn more about this exciting photographer/artist.






Where are you originally from and how has that shaped who you are today?

I’m originally from Los Angeles and it’s definitely a unique experience. I saw the ocean every day on my way to school, which is why I love water so much. It’s probably why I’m still here and can’t seem to move away. I also think I gravitate towards opposite landscapes in my work. I want to go on another road trip across the country so badly.

Does living in LA influence your work?

I love the colors. The sun. The water. The weather. The ability to get in a car and drive two hours or less to so many different landscapes. All of those things are huge influences for me.

When did you first start photographing? What was your favorite subject to shoot when you first started?

I started with my first disposable camera, probably around 11, when I went to sleep away camp for the first time. I took my first class at 15, and haven’t stopped since then. My favorite subject was my friends — always has been my friends.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Passionate. Anxious. Real.

How would others describe you?

A good friend.

Congrats on Wielding Now! What can we expect to see from you in this show?

Landscapes and naked girls and lots of water! My very favorite things.

I love that your photographs are beautifully raw and vulnerable but also have a playfulness to them. What is it that you are trying to communicate through your photographs?

Intimacy is important to me. I love getting to know the people I’m shooting. Everyone has so many stories and when you’re in a vulnerable situation like a nude photo shoot the things you end up discussing are wildly interesting. I want the viewer to see something more than just a body, their personality, the connection we have, the way the female body fits into nature.

What does your dream shoot look like?

A bunch of friends that want to get naked and hang out and be free and love each other and maybe a farmhouse and some water and trees and empty land.

“Feelings” is brilliant. How did the concept begin? What did you expect from documenting yourself?

I don’t think I expected anything because I honestly wasn’t sure if I would ever put those photos out there or what it would turn into, if anything. It started one night when I was saying goodbye to an ex boyfriend. I had already started dating someone new but he and I hadn’t seen each other since we had broken up and we had dinner as a final goodbye and I cried and I asked him if we could take a photo together. From there it moved slowly. I would fight with the new boyfriend (who 4+ years later is still the boyfriend I fight with) and I would take out my camera and snap one or two photos and put it back. There’s something about documenting these moments for me that is really important. It’s okay to feel that way. It’s okay to cry. It doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us stronger. There are so many fears about showing emotion, and I’ve always been horrible at hiding mine but it was something I was ashamed of until I decided not to be.

Favorite photographer?

Nan Goldin most of the time.

Favorite subject to shoot?

Naked girls and barren landscapes.

Who is your fashion icon?

Diane Keaton in the Woody Allen times, and Angelina Jolie in By The Sea.

What can we expect next? Any big plans coming up that you can share with us?

Books. Shows. Travel.

What does being “free” mean to you?

Being open. Saying yes. Not being so afraid. Having fun. Knowing that this is the one life we are given and never wanting to have regrets.

See Emily’s work below and be sure to stop by Wielding Now for more exciting work.







The exhibit is open to the public from 10-6pm, until May 14. Featuring artists include: Jonni Cheatwood, Luke Chiswell, Michael Gittes, Alice Lancaster, Emily Knecht, Jeff Kraus, Travis Schneider, Isaac Zoller.

Check out more of Emily’s work here and follow her on Instagram.

Follow Joanna on Instagram.

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