Based in Southampton, England, photographer and music journalist Emily Young lives and breathes music with a strong passion and a lot of hard work put towards running her own publication Square One. Emily is definitely no stranger to a life consumed by music – as apart from running her own publication she spends a lot of her time dedicated to going out shooting shows, writing articles, and being an avid vinyl collector. The effort and dedication she puts into all of these things is what makes her thrive already at just 24 years old and we are so happy to be able to feature her for this year’s Women’s History Month. You can check out our interview below!
How did you first get into the world of music photography and journalism? Were you just drawn to it or did you have inspiration from somewhere?
A little bit of both, I suppose. I got into photography when I was young, after seeing my dad having photography as a hobby. I studied photography at school, but I absolutely hated it. I wanted to drop the class, but they wouldn’t let me – looking back, I’m grateful for that. When the time came for me to think about going to university, I decided to merge my two passions, music and writing. It wasn’t a straight road by any means, the original degree I signed up for got cancelled, so I ended up switching to Music Journalism, and now the rest is history.
I see that your publication Square One Magazine has been going for 2 years now! What made you want to start a publication of your own instead of working for someone else and how did you get started with it?
It was a result of university! During my final year, myself and a few friends made a magazine as our final major project. I loved every minute of it, and wanted to continue it after graduating. Less than 6 months later I had pulled Square One together, found myself a group of amazing volunteers to help me make it a possibility, and now we’re on our third print issue, two years later!
What do you think makes your publication stand out from others?
We’re not afraid to have conversations that other people would usually shy away from. As the editor (and a huge music fan), I want fans to have an insight into what it’s like to talk to their idols and know what it’s like to have a normal conversation with them. They’re normal people at the end of the day. I’d much rather have a genuine conversation about society, mental health, culture, normal things, than asking the same generic questions about single and album releases.
Running a publication requires a lot of hard work – how do you manage to balance that with everything else in your life?
I honestly don’t know how I pull it off! I suppose I’m great at time management, I always have a million things on the go at the same time, but I’m good at sorting out my priorities and sticking to deadlines. I make sure I stay on top of my emails. I set myself a day or two a week where I send out press requests, for example. It’s just getting into a routine of doing things. I’m fortunate enough to say that I’m reaching the point where I’m going to need to expand my editor team – it’s not going to be easy, because Square One is my baby, but I simply can’t do it alone anymore! So, if you’re out there and you want to help a girl out, drop me an email!
Whether it’s music photography, journalism or something to do with Square One, What is something you have achieved that you are most proud of?
It’s a little bit of all three. With Square One and my photography, I’ve managed to work with some of my favourite artists. For our most recent issue, I got to interview two of the bands I’ve been listening to for around ten years – that’s crazy to me.
If you could get a photo pass to any show – what show would it be and why?
This answer is going to be a little bit of a manifestation… but Waterparks. I’m hoping to shoot their show at Brixton Academy this June, so fingers crossed! Their live shows are insane all around, with great set designs and an energy that’s just unmatched.
What is your favourite photo you’ve ever taken at a show and tell us how you felt when you realized you got such a great shot.
I’d say one of my most recent shots from the Wargasm show in Southampton. I got a shot of Milkie Way where the lights hit just right. Tiny bit of editing and it’s easily one of my favourites so far. Both of them are a joy to shoot always!
Which female photographers inspire you?
There’s so many. I owe a lot of what I do to Isha Shah. She gave me the opportunity to give concert photography a try back in university, and I’ve been doing it ever since, so thank you Isha! I’ve always loved the work of Meg McCauley, Ashley Osborn and Corrine Cumming.
What advice would you give to people who want to start out in music photography?
Just give it a go! Check with your local small venues to see if you can take cameras in without a photo pass, and just practice! Build up your portfolio, and once you’re comfortable behind the camera, reach out to small publications who can help you get access to bigger shows. It’s all about perseverance!
Do you have any big goals for the future and where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
The dream has always been to work in photography full-time, but I’m content where I am right now. I can’t wait to see where both my photography and Square One is at in 5 years time, but hopefully with a slightly bigger team and the same amount of endless passion.