“My name is Emery Becker and I love Photography.
A little over a year and a half ago I picked up a camera and life was never the same. I started shooting everything, from walks around the neighborhood, concerts and international travel, documenting tours I have been on and taking portraits of people I meet along the way.”
With a whole lot of something for everyone on every given night, Los Angeles is never at a loss for activities, entertainment or action – not even on a Wednesday – and there were a dozen and one places that every person at the Highland Park venue the Hi Hat could have been last night. But at Hi Hat is where they chose to be for an evening of memories of one of our own whom we lost entirely too soon at 25 years young: Emery Becker.
Most everyone knew Emery as a freelance photographer who spent an inordinate amount of time capturing life through his lens: from live music and artists that he loved (which he graciously did for High Voltage) to the natural beauty of a landscape to friends in candid moments to self-portraits to whatever caught his sharp eyes. But he was infinitely more than that to his LA family: he was a friend, a brother, an adventurer, a pirate,… a supernova. I may have mentioned once or twice how unusually fond I was of his hair…
The collective sense of loss felt among this artistic LA enclave and community – let alone that among his family and friends back home in Indiana – runs deep, and the gathering that took place could be used as a gauge for the depth and breadth of impact that a single individual human can have on their environment and the those within it. The Emery we all knew was a free-spirited, generous and sweet soul who gave great hugs and knew the value of his friends. Los Angeles is far from an easy city to exist in, but if you can find your place among the madness – find your tribe – despite the struggles, there can be magic. Emery surely found his tribe here in LA and we are all better for having been a part of it.
Making the trip from Indiana for the memorial were Emery’s parents, Susan and Vic Becker, and his twin sister Clara Becker who were able to see, hear and feel (as we basically smothered them with love) how much their son and brother truly meant to those of us here in his adopted home. Below is a collection of thoughts and memories of who Emery was, will always be and how very much his pirate spirit will be missed yet will live on.
Be like Emery…get lost.
“Emery’s gift was his heart: a heart that was so big that it could contain the whole world. It was his heart that could capture the Divine beauty of nature in his landscapes, his heart that could capture the sublime joy found in those engaged in their true passions, his heart that could capture the unique spark of the individual in his portraits of his friends, which we all were. Whether on top of a mountain in the desert we call Moonrise, on the porch of my home on a Friday afternoon, at the front of the stage surrounded by the community we call family, or on our road trips sharing our hopes, dreams, loves and life… Emery’s heart was at the centre of it all.
Emery by being in our lives, you have spread your magic, that big heart of yours will create love at every show, at every gathering, every moonrise and in every great big bear hug. Your friends love you so much, we will miss you so much, but I can feel you are still with us and we will meet again someday.” (Pip Moore)
“I first met Emery at the Ace Hotel for a birthday where I only knew people through proximity. Sitting awkwardly by a fire pit, Emery noticed me and sat down, told me about his latest photo project and immediately became my friend. He didn’t care how connected or cool I was, he saw I was a straggler and brought me into the group.
Anyone who has been the one on the outside knows how much this means and it’s one of many qualities that not only made him a great guy, but an exceptional human being. He took the time to care, to listen, to hug you until your heart settled and accepted the unadulterated love he so readily gave. The immensity of these gestures are often overlooked because they are so simple, but that never bothered him because he was also humble. His passing caused me to look back at our interactions and appreciate every little act of kindness he offered me. In the wake of this tragedy myself and the community he left behind will do the best we can to perpetuate the love he gave to us. I’m so sad but also so grateful.” (Jen Spazmaster)
“My only regret in this life is that I didn’t know him better. When I heard of his passing a permanent ball of lead settled into the pit of my stomach. But along with this horrible dread, something else grew next to it. The love, kindness, and community he himself created. A community has been born from this and it is a beautiful one that I will never stop being grateful to be a part of.
A friend of his posted a portrait series he made of himself being slapped by friends. What I thought was incredible was even though he’s being hit with actual force his face is still the same peaceful and open way it always was. But that’s just because of how he experienced the people around him I guess. With an open loving heart. He truly made the world a better place.” (Tess A. Zagorski)
“Emery was one of the best photographers on the LA music scene, he loved going to shows to take photos and he let it be known. He never asked for anything in return. As a friend he was someone who wanted to build up his friends. Personally, that meant checking in frequently with me to catch up or invite me out, or to let me know I was looking great and he was excited to hear new music I was working on.
He was one of a kind, a great hang, a great person all around.” (Kat Meoz)
“Emery was like little brother to me. We were friends, we worked together, we laughed together, we walked around the city together, we went to shows together, we cried together, we had late night vent sessions over the phone together. He was supportive beyond words…he believed in you and had a way of making you feel beautiful.
Something I will cherish always…we both loved mountains. My unofficial slogan for ON3 (management company) is ‘Moving Mountains’ symbolizing the paths we make as musicians when obstacles stand in our way. Emery would travel far and “get lost” often. He would pick a spot on the map and go explore it. He made me feel like he knew more about my own city than I did sometimes. He definitely knew the geography of it better…and he would be super excited to go out and shoot photos of everything and anything he found beautiful. When he shared the beautiful shots he got of the mountains, I asked if I could use the images as the background for our logo. He was thrilled about it! Because he loved supporting everyone so much! And just like that ‘Moving Mountains’ was complete.” (Mary Ambartsumyan)
“I met Emery when I was still pretty new in LA and didn’t know many people. Over time, Emery became one of my closest friends, maybe the best I’ve made since moving to LA. Every time I went to a show (which was often) we’d hit each other up. I saw him more than almost anyone outside of my band and my roommates.
One of the last times I saw Emery was at his housewarming party, about a week before he died. I was actually planning on not coming because I was in a bad financial spot and couldn’t afford the Uber. Emery, generous and kind soul that he was, said ‘Fuck that. dude. You’re coming over and hanging out with me.’ and called me an Uber himself. I’m so glad he did that. Not only was it the last time we got to hang out properly, one on one, but it was a night that will forever stay with me in the most bittersweet of ways. I had the rare thought that I was so happy he and I were friends, and how much I looked forward to knowing him throughout my life, into the future. I’m forever grateful for meeting Emery.
I’m happy to say that I have no regrets from our last interactions, for I actually thanked him for being there for me and said that I loved him. I don’t normally think to tell my friends these sorts of things, but his tragic death reminds me how important it is to express yourself openly to the people you care about. You might never get another chance to tell them how important they are to you.” (Josh Loney)
“Everyone should know Emery was not only an amazing photographer but a Pirate. Pictured here last October in front of the ‘Tree of Life and Death’ in the Anza Borrego Desert. The Neon Cave Pirates is a group of adventurous individuals who explore different cave systems using glowies and guts.
My quote for Emery is from Mark Twain: ‘Now and then we had the hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.’” (Nicky Alice)
“Emery Becker was not only our favorite live photographer but also an utter gem of a human. It’s a true testament to his magnetic energy that even in death he’s bringing people in the LA music scene closer together.
We feel blessed to have been seen through his lens and even more blessed to have known him.” (Gabby Wortman & Jason Rosen of Smoke Season)
“Emery was a special kind of person. In my opinion, he was the coolest of them all. He had a quality about him you don’t find in most people… this light that was effortless and infectious. He was kind, genuine and gentle. I’m gonna miss his hugs so much. I always looked for him in every audience because I was so excited to see him. I remember at one of our shows he told me he left in the middle of Nina Diaz’s set at the Satellite to make it in time for our show that same night and he seemed out of breath and was worried he missed us. I couldn’t believe it… but he was always like that. Another would be when he said he was flying home the day of our show and was heading straight to the venue which of course I said he was crazy and that he didn’t have to. I don’t even see that kind of care and friendship even in my closest friends. He was so supportive and selfless.
He captured the best moments of everyone and never asked for anything in return. The moment I met him I knew I never had to question who he was or what he really thought of me or anyone. He was real. This world has lost an amazing soul and I will never ever forget him.” (Katherine Pawlak of Holy Wars)
“I met Emery Becker very shortly after I came back onto the music scene after a series of accidents, the final one taking away my ability to continue my successful photography career. He was sweet kind, honest, gentle in spirit, full of love, but his talent! What a prodigy!! Watching him work so passionately and furiously made me smile. Seeing his joy gave me joy. I completely lived vicariously through him and his images.
Emery loved the rain and shooting in it. As a photographer, I laughed and told him he’d get sick of it. He responded “Never! Rain forever. Bring the flood.” That was Emery. So passionate! Boy did he bring that flood as he has left us all in tears in this community. He’s left a hole in my heart no one can fill. I’ll miss him greatly.” (Jeanne Rice)