Grace Art Graduate Named No. 3 Product Photographer in Detroit
Emma (Hicks) Beson has been influenced by the Detroit art scene her whole life. Born and raised in the Detroit area, Beson has been expressing her creativity through photography since she was twelve years old. Today, she is a small business owner and professional photographer for her company, Fernwilder Photography, and she is ranked by Peerspace as the #3 Product Photographer in Detroit.
She got her start young, running around family gatherings with her small pink Kodak camera. Towards the end of high school, Beson decided to continue with photography as a hobby in college.
When looking for a college, Beson placed Grace College high on her list of options. She saw the strong friendships her brother formed there and knew she wanted to go to a school that valued community. So she followed in her brother’s footsteps and attended Grace as well.
From the time she arrived, she found that the community was valuable to her as an artist. “Learning alongside people I cared about and who cared about me, that was really formative,” Beson said. “It helped build skills in learning how to work with people and create friendships along the way.”
With a major in visual communication and a minor in photography, Beson wanted opportunities to express herself creatively while learning about branding. “I love figuring out more about who I’m working for, what makes them who they are, and creating content that really reflects that,” Beson said. “The branding experience empowers me to make sure the photowork I’m producing is really going to benefit them.”
After graduating in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, Beson was unsure where to go with her career. She took a marketing internship with York Project, a Detroit based clothing brand. After the completion of that internship, she returned to Lula’s Cafe – a coffee shop she worked at during her summer breaks in between college semesters. She worked as their social media manager and content creator for around a year, and Lula’s became what would be her first glimpse at starting a professional career in photography.
“I got to grow so much in that position,” Beson said. “I had a lot of beneficial conversations with the women in leadership there regarding the business side of things, and that was really formative. It gave me the chance to grow in confidence and professionalism while also creating deep friendships in tandem.”
At the start of 2021, Beson was ready to start something new. Thus, Fernwilder Floral was born: a business where Beson created, photographed, and sold dried floral arrangements. While she enjoyed the creative outlet, Beson did not intend to turn it into a career, so she decided to adopt the name to fit her photography brand. At the start of 2022, Fernwilder Photography became Beson’s small business, creative outlet, and part-time job.
Beson loves creating art in many different forms. She is constantly inspired by the world around her. “I’m a very enthusiastic and inspired type of person,” Beson said. “If I think something is beautiful or if I see the connection between two things, I want to create something to pull those things together.”
Beson has a variety of clients and businesses she shoots for, but among her favorite projects would be her niche of product photography, anything from food to skincare lines. Beson’s unique eye for beauty captures personality in everything she shoots, and her use of bold colors and bright lighting bring a new perspective to her subjects.
According to Beson, Detroit has been a catalyst in her art development. The city is alive with public art, from graffiti to murals to neighborhood-sized art projects like the Heidelberg Project. Beson has loved the way that the Detroit art scene can take unconventional mediums and make incredible art out of them. “Detroit is a very funky city,” she said. “It’s very colorful, it’s very vibrant, and it’s very, very diverse, which is really cool. People are kind and inspired.”
Beson intends to continue expanding Fernwilder, but she knows that whatever she does, she wants to create. “No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I want the creativity that I have to be an influence in a positive way,” she said. “The only reason I can create is because I am created in the image of the Creator. I would never want to lose that creativity.”
A degree in photography will encourage you to see the beauty in your subjects. Learn more about our photography major to see how you can harness your inner creativity and share your art with your community.