Emily Teague

"This lens exposes injustice."

A light in the dark.

As a fashion photographer in Brooklyn, Emily Teague often tells her own stories, crafted fastidiously, controlling light and location to create the perfect frame. But as she steps out of that role to document the people and victims of human trafficking, she’s speaking for those whose stories are often swept under the rug. 

With nearly 25 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, Emily shines a light in dark places, illuminating a global crisis. Through photography, she changes the way people see themselves and others.  

I want people to wonder what their life is like, what they've been through, their dreams, their fears. What makes them laugh? What makes them cry? I want the viewer to really be able to put themselves in the shoes of whoever's in that photo. I want them to feel empathy.”

“It's my job to tell someone else's story for them in the most authentic and beautiful way that I can. I need these images, these stories to demand to be looked at. I believe we all have this obligation to help one another. It's our responsibility. It's compassion and empathy, and it's really beautiful.”

“My hope is that someone's going to see these photos and it's going to force them to care, which is forcing them to have empathy and look at someone else and be like, Oh my God, how do I look away from this?

“I focus on portraits in the same way that I approach fashion work. I'm looking at color, I'm looking at lighting, I'm wanting all of my subjects to look the absolute best that they can. But instead of telling my own stories, I'm getting to document the stories of others. It's this obligation that I feel I have to do, and I absolutely love it.”

What does your lens do?

Share your passion and see what happens


Craving more perspectives?

Broaden your horizons with more stories and articles in your inbox.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Learn how SmugMug can help you share your photography and point of view: