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Daily Inspiration: Meet Emi Miller

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emi Miller.

Hi Emi, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I moved to Washington, D.C., for my first “adult” job after graduating from Hollins University in VA in 2018. I was pursuing a career in a politics-adjacent field and D.C. long felt like the place to be for that work, but I knew that what I saw on the TV shows “Bones” and “House of Cards” probably wasn’t the totality of the city. Moving here confirmed that. I quickly wanted to find a way to use what little spare free time I had to explore more of the city.

Trying new places to eat — coffee shops, dive bars, pop-ups, D.C. mainstays — got me into every corner of D.C. and often out into the DMV area. I wanted to share what I saw (and, what I ate) with friends back home in NC and from college, as well as meet new folks in town. All of this, paired with my life-long love of photography and a really silly pun, led to me creating my Instagram page, Carpe_DMV. Like, “Carpe Diem” but in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. Please laugh.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I’ve been so grateful for the chance to use a social media platform as a medium to expand my art form, grow my style, and try new things out. Even though I was highly resistant (privately) to the introduction of Reels into Instagram, I’ve grown to kind of like making videos for the platform. Previously, I avoided the “pivot to video” (IYKYK) in a real way, on every social media platform, but this time I really challenged myself and I like seeing what is coming about as my point of view shifts between a still and video format.

I’ve also been beyond lucky to make an incredible group of friends and be introduced to a really genuine, open community. I think so-called “influencers” get a bad rep because of the actions of a few bad apples but everyone in the DMV I’ve met is anything but the stereotype. So many folks are really committed to their art forms or uplifting their parts of the DC/DMV community, and it’s really great to see.

I can’t speak to any challenges because honestly, I feel lucky to get to make eating good food, hanging out with amazing people, and working with incredible restaurants a hobby rather than just a leisure activity.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a food and event photographer. I do menu photography, promotional photography, as well as more casual content creation for my own enjoyment. I like to play with bright colors, photograph interesting textures, and strive to present food in DC as more than just steakhouse meals and corporate coffee. I’m proud of my growth as a digital photographer and now a video content creator as well, since the pivot-to-video is one I’ve resisted for a very long time.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
I love that there’s so much more to the DMV area than just the National Mall, monuments, and governmental/military agencies. There are so many vibrant communities running delicious restaurants around here, that the idea of the “melting pot” of America actually feels less like a cliche and more like a reality. I love being able to walk a few blocks from an incredible Ethiopian restaurant to an incredible pan-Asian-inspired bakery for dessert. Or getting pupusas from a family-run food truck in an area known mostly for crabs and Old Bay. I think all the different foods and communities and histories create a really vibrant and energetic scene.

I don’t like that prices — especially the increasing costs of rent — are squeezing so many incredible joints out of our cities. It’s gotten worse since COVID, and every time I hear about another closing I get sad. Some of these places are beloved too, or mainstays, and it’s wild to see even those not be able to hack it.

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