Emery was born in Germany and studied Fine Arts at Parsons Paris. She now lives in London.
Much of Emery’s childhood was spent traveling extensively with her family while living in different countries throughout Europe and Asia. Gifted with a generous familiarity of a diversity of cultures, Emery has cultivated a nuanced aesthetic that draws upon her itinerant background. Her personal work is often permeated with Japanese influences, stemming from her deep appreciation for Japan’s aesthetic and animistic philosophies. Her images are delicate, but probing and her approach is acutely poetic.
Emery’s photographs have been published by Gestalten, Rizzoli and Self Publish Be Happy. She was nominated for the FOAM Paul Huf Award 2015 and shortlisted by the Magenta Foundation within the Flash Forward Emerging Photographers 2016 Award. Her first monograph Rie was selected as one of the most engaging & exciting projects in photography by the British Journal of Photography and featured on their January 2017 cover. The book opened a distinctly feminine dialogue aiming to re-instill an innocence in the way that we view the body.
Emery’s second book Yuka & The Forest was exhibited within the Prix du Livre d’Auteur in Arles in 2019 and introduces us to the chinju-no-mori, the sacred forest. We are reminded that cultures like that of Japan, which are deeply embedded in nature, have been able to preserve much of their natural habitat by having fostered an interconnected value system. By embarking on a journey of reflection leading us through a remote village high into the midst of a vast landscape, we are prompted to contemplate nature’s profound serenity and as the last pages fall also its demise at the hand of our own.
“Lena C. Emery’s photographs are characterised by their elegance, sensuality and intimation of narrative. They are not realist, because her subjects can be seen to be performing – with subtlety or pronouncement – and yet they are not constructed. Instead they acknowledge that taking photographs, and being photographed, are true acts – taking a photograph alters reality. In Emery’s work, the effect of the photograph is to engender a moment of intimacy in which the self shifts from private to public.” – Lucy Kumara Moore, Claire de Rouen
“When I first picked up Rie, I immediately knew this wasn’t an ordinary book of nudes. This openess creates pictures much like a breath of fresh air. Lena C. Emery is certainly a portraitist and bookmaker whose work I will continue to keep an eye on.“ – Todd Hido
Chanel, Chloe, Club Monaco, De Beers, Dior, Everlane, Helmut Lang, Hermes, Lemaire, Nowness, Stella McCartney and Tiffany & Co
Apartamento, British Vogue, Dazed, M Le Monde, Pleasure Garden, Purple, Pop, System, Teen Vogue, The Gentlewoman and WSJ
Emery has directed films for Nowness, COS, De Beers, Everlane and various charities.
‘Rie’, published by Kominek, DE, 2016
‘Yuka & The Forest’, publ. by Art Paper Editions, BE, 2018
‘I Undressed To Climb a Tree’, publ. by Art Paper Editions, BE, upcoming
The Photographers Gallery (London), Librairie Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Dashwood (New York) and Daikanyama T-site (Tokyo).
‘Posturing: Photographing the Body in Fashion’, Asama International Photo Festival, JP
‘Posturing: Photographing the Body in Fashion’, curated by Holly Hay and Shonagh Marshall, Ground Floor Gallery, UK
‘Unuounu‘, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, UK
‘Vogue: Female Gaze’, Annenberg Space of Photography, US