A conversation with Kansas! photographers about their lives in photography

Emily Barnes began her photography journey at a young age as she experimented with her parent’s film camera in the 1980s. Her love for arts continued to grow into her school years as she began taking classes in high school and college. Though nature photography was her first love, as she grew in her abilities, she started her own business and branched out into photographing families, seniors, weddings, and events. Emily has been photographing for more than 20 years and professionally for the past 8 years. The Abilene-based photographer enjoys the challenges of photography and capturing moments of emotion and beauty in all things. She enjoys finding beauty in all types of landscapes and in capturing simple joys in relationships within all people.

KM!: What was the moment you wanted to become a photographer?

EB: I remember capturing pictures at the farm I grew up on as a young child. I fell in love with capturing those moments of happiness. I was 10 years old.

KM!: What was your first camera? What did you like about it?

EB: My first camera was my father’s 35mm Pentax film camera. At the time I didn’t know what NOT to like about it. I was just thrilled to have a camera.

KM!: What are some uncommon objects that you like to photograph?

EB: I love to photograph micro images… snowflakes, frost, small insects.

KM!: What is the hardest thing to photograph badly?

EB: Photographing flowers during golden hour. The lighting is perfect. What is the hardest thing to photograph well? Indoor newborns.

KM!: Tell us about the shot that got away. 

EB: I try not to think of the shot as getting away, but only a shot meant for our memories only. On my recent trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, there were dolphins everywhere and I didn’t have the correct lens to get the shot. They were beautiful.

KM!: What is your favorite Kansas landmark to photograph? 

EB: My favorite landmark to photograph is definitely sunrises and sunsets. Nothing beats Kansas skies!

KM!: Tell us about your best chance photo taken in Kansas. Where was it?  How did it come about? 

EB: Some of my favorite images by chance were capturing farmers with their families in a wheat field or a grandpa in overalls holding his newborn granddaughter. Both of these were family photo sessions.

KM!: Who would you name as an “Honorary Kansan” for their photography? Why?

EB: Josh Junghans is phenomenal. His talent goes beyond what he can do within photographing people, but also what he can do in nature photography.

KM!: Where in Kansas? Pinpoint three Kansas locations (towns/cities) that have significance for you or your career. What are they?

EB: Abilene, Manhattan and Wamego

KM!: Rank these Kansas icons (from favorite to least favorite) in terms of your choice of photography subject:

1. Open skies

2. Fields of sunflowers

3. Prairie flowers

4. Buffalo herds

5. Seldom-heard discouraging words

6. The Kansas River

7. Cottonwood trees

8. The ornate box turtle

See more of Emily's work on her website