His Story: Elijah Emerald

Tell us a little bit more about yourself.

I'm Elijah Emerald and I’m 16. I began making YouTube videos in 2009 (I was 10 years old), as a way to express myself. A few years into this journey, I fell into a deep depression. I found that I could use videos as an outlet and a way to encourage others going through similar things.

I graduated online high school in December of 2014 at 15. I'm currently taking online courses for video making & photography with the New York Institute of Photography.

What would you call your style of photography?

A young human documenting his daily life and the world around him.

If you could be an animal for a day, what would you be?

An owlphant. An owlphant is a cross between an owl & elephant, two of my favorite animals.

Do you have any quirky facts that our readers do not know about?

I have the same birthday as Elvis Presley!

Where do you currently reside in?

I live right outside of Russellville, Arkansas in the United States and I have lived here all of my life.

What do you love about this place and where do you normally visit to photograph?

Arkansas has many places reserved for exploring and I really love that.

I really enjoy exploring and shooting in these fields that are just a short walk from my house. I enjoy exploring this area because not only there are open fields, but woodland, ponds, creeks, layers of mountains in the distance, and I can't forget the wonderful creatures that reside there.

Tell us about a story about a moment that really captured you.

A few days ago, I was cooking veggie alfredo pasta, one of my favorite dishes. I was shaking up the jar that contained alfredo sauce and I didn't have the lid on tight. Alfredo went everywhere. Even though I had pasta in my hair, on the fridge, the floor and the counter, I was still laughing and having a good time. I think it's very important to not take life so seriously and just enjoy being alive.

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What challenges you in life?

Battling depression is a big one for me, but I've found that creating is a healthy outlet for me that helps me stay positive, happy, and motivated.

What is your motivation in life?

I'm motivated to tell stories that help people and that people can connect to, while inspiring them to follow their dreams.

Any cities in the world where you would love to live in one day?

There are so many people to meet and places to explore; I could find happiness in any city!

What is the proudest moment in the past 16 years of your life?

A video that I co-created with my girlfriend, won her school's film festival and that was probably the proudest I've ever been. I've never really won anything for my creative work and that was such a wonderful feeling, especially since I could share that with someone I care about.

Does anyone/any place/any items inspire you? If so, what is it?

I am constantly being inspired by every person/place/thing around me so it's hard for me to narrow it down to a few things.

You are so fortunate to be able to take an online course with the New York School of Photography. Do you plan to eventually attend any design school in the US/UK?

I do not. I plan to travel and tell stories!

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Moving on, do you plan to have a theme going on your Instagram feed?

Earthy tones are quite pleasing to me and I kind of loosely stick to that.

How do you think Instagram have helped you connect your audience?

I think people are able to see what I find beautiful, understand how I see the world, and when they share their thoughts, I understand them a little bit better too.

After exploring your feed, I noticed you love to take photos of animals. Why so? 

There are many reasons, but it's just simply because I love the universe and all of the creatures within it.

Every photographer tends to go all out to capture his or her image. What is the most awkward position that you had to be in to shoot a great picture?

This answer constantly changes, but I'd probably say this picture that I recently took while hiking. I was kind of half on the ground, half standing up, in the way of the trail and I didn't realize that someone was biking by.

Do you plan to shoot on film someday, or are there any new concepts you are planning to venture into?

Actually, I just started shooting a bit on film!  So far, it has been a fun experience so I'll probably continue shooting on film every now and then.

I've been experimenting a bit with minimalism, so I'd like to do a bit more of that!

What equipment do you use to photograph?

I currently use a Canon T3i // 600d with the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4, and the Minolta MC 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 with a Fotodiox Pro MD to EOS adapter.

What photo software do you use to edit and why that particular one?

Adobe Photoshop CC

I use Adobe Photoshop CC because of the almost limitless possibilities for editing photos!

Any tips for our readers?

  1. When you're out shooting, ask yourself what story you wish to tell and how you want to tell that story.
  2. Experiment. Don't be afraid to shoot things that you normally don't, or capture things in a different way.

What do you eventually hope your channel would be like?

I make vlogs and films that I hope encourage, entertain, and inspire deep thinking. I'd like to get better at filmmaking and storytelling, so I hope my future content will show that.

Do you have any filmmakers that you plan to eventually collaborate with on your channel?

I'd love to work with PJ Liguori (KickThePJ on YouTube) and shoot something completely amazing about space or time travel or something.

If you could promote your channel in less than 10 words, how you go about doing it?

I'd probably say something like, “It is impossible to explain my videos, just watch them.”

Lastly to conclude, what can we expect from you in the near future?

More art and positivity!