Blix chats to Emma Mapp and Kit Shah - the Founders of London Photo Festival

Blix chats to Emma Mapp and Kit Shah, the Founders of London Photo Festival – annual exhibition aimed to help new and emerging photographers display their art, network with fellow exhibitors and industry professionals.

Could you tell us a bit about yourselves.

Emma: I’m a self taught photographer specializing in architecture and night photography. I co-run the London Photo Festival with Kit Shah and have just launched my own range of leather camera bags and strap. 

Kit: I’m Kit Shah. I specialize in headshots and publicity photography. I co-run the London Photo Festival with Emma Mapp.

How did you start London Photo Festival? What inspired you?

Kit: Emma, you can tell this story better.

Emma: Kit and I met on a ‘How to exhibit your photography course’ and I had the idea idea to get a group of photographers together to do an exhibition of our own work. I found a venue and Kit was the only one from the group who was interested in planning something, so we decided to open the exhibition up to other photographers and the Festival grew from there!

How many times a year does it take place?

Emma: It takes place once a year but we also run competitions throughout the year – photographers can win up to £1,000 and an exhibition in London.

What is your career history?

Emma: I am an ex-lawyer but have always had an interest in photography.

Kit: I have what you would call a ‘portfolio’ career and do many things, such as being the talent agent for actors some of whom are in the Star Wars saga.

What are your hobbies and/or interests?  

Emma: Museums, art galleries, furniture up-cycling, reading, travel

Kit: My interests and hobbies change as I get older, currently I’m enjoying visiting places of interest throughout the UK with my family.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Emma: I contract for three days a week in event management, but otherwise my days are spent researching fabrics and designs for my new bags and camera straps.

Kit: My typical day is pretty hectic to be honest. I start the day feeding my three kids and getting my 5 year old to school, I then spend time juggling work and looking after my kids.

How do you unwind when you get some me time?

Emma: I like to play sport (netball and tennis), or have a quiet drink and a nice meal with my better half. 

Kit: I enjoy winding down at the end of the day watching films with my wife.

Where’s your ultimate holiday destination?

Emma: Difficult question – too many favourites to mention, but it’s a close call between India and Vietnam!

Kit: No, I enjoy exploring it all.

Do you have a favourite quote?

Emma: ‘Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.’ Winston Churchill

Kit: ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ – Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Next London Photo festival will take place 18-20th May and the theme is Travel Photography. The Festival is open to photographers worldwide, and free to visit.

For more info, please visit londonphotofestival.org