Firstly, can you start with a little bit about yourself?
I’m a 35 year old mum of a beautiful two year old girl. I’m from a South African background but was born and bred in Newcastle, I did move away to Albury for four years for uni but came straight back! I couldn’t live away from the coast again I don’t think.
I’m a Speech Pathologist by day, who works with both adults and children and more recently I’ve done some work within the University of Newcastle Speech Pathology course.
Photography has always been a happy hobby but it has more recently led to photography work for me which has been really exciting as it’s been something I’ve loved doing for a long time.
Most people would probably say I’m loud and quite confident but I’m actually quite shy around people I don’t know so well. I’m a real home body and my family are everything to me.
Can you give a breakdown of the equipment you use to create your images?
I use a Canon 6D with a few different lenses - my go to ones are my 50mm, 24-105mm and 300mm. That’s it really!
What inspired you to get into photography?
I’ve had a camera in my hand for as long as I can remember! I actually don’t have many photos of myself because I’m always the one taking them wherever I go! When I was in primary school I remember going on a family trip to Kangaroo Island and taking my little film camera. When we got home my mum went and printed about 5 rolls of film for me and I think 3 of them were just of seals! I have a lot of old printed photos in albums from my childhood.
My daughter already has her own point and click :) I bought my first DSLR when I went to Bali for the first time in 2010 because I wanted to start capturing my travels on a better camera. I guess it all started again then! I’m one of those people who sees things and takes a snapshot of it in my head, even if I don’t have a camera, I see the world in photos a lot if that makes sense.
Which photographers have influenced you the most?
That’s so hard! There are so many people who have played a really big role in my journey! One of my all time favourite photographers is Darren Jew. His ocean photography is incredible, his photos elicit feelings that put me in awe of nature and he makes you feel like you’re there in the moment which I think is really powerful. It’s my dream to do one of his trips to swim with and photograph whales!
Two besties who have both influenced me in different ways are Jewels (@jewelszee) and Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath). Lauren once said to me, ‘you know you just have to do it’, I listened because I knew it was true, I’m always so full of excuses. It motivated me more than she’ll ever know and it really changed my mindset both with my photography and just generally in my life. I find it hard to explain what Jewels has done, just her very being makes you want to be the best version of yourself that you can! Her work is stunning and she’s given me confidence to share things that I love, not just photos I think other people will like.
Thanks JewLau! :)
What image are you currently most proud of?
I’m my own worst enemy with this... I have so much self doubt. Even some of my favourite photos I find fault in.. A recent shot I was proud of getting though was on a helicopter flight over Nobbys Beach in Newcastle. I’d flown over before and got a shot but it wasn’t sharp and it had annoyed me for ages! I really wanted to get a better one and on my latest flight I was proud that I did.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I don’t know what I’d say my style is, but it’s definitely based around colour! Pastels and bright colours are my thing for sure. My photos are usually of my travels, the ocean, sunsets or the occasional animal thrown in the mix! You’ll get a laugh from anyone who knows me if you mention my name and sunrise together! I don’t usually plan shoots or go out trying to get ‘dream shots’, I’m rather spontaneous and just shoot when I happen to have my camera, which is usually when I’m travelling or when I see the sky pop outside my window! My neighbour has been known to yell ‘runnnn Em!!’ as I’m strolling down to the river when the sky is on fire! I’m a bit lazy when it comes to shooting at times!
How has instagram shaped your photography journey?
Ahh Instagram has been a huge part of my journey. I looked back at my first posts recently, ones that at the time I was so proud of and thought oh my goodness my horizons aren’t even straight! I’m a fairly social person so I started going to Instameets early on and I learned so much from the people I met along the way! They motivated me to get out shooting again in a time of my life when I’d really stopped. I’ve never called myself a photographer but see myself more as someone who ‘Instagrams’. I’m pretty open about the fact that I still have so much to learn and I know I’m no pro! It’s just something I love that makes me happy and Instagram has been a great social platform for me to share my photos and connect with people who feel the same.
You founded several travel feature pages on instagram, it’s amazing to support other photographers what motivated you to start these?
I started a local page first, @mynewcastle. I’m really passionate about my hometown and I remember at the time thinking how much amazing local talent there was and that more people should be seeing the incredible work people were creating. It’s been a wonderful way to meet local photographers, I chat daily with a lot of them! It stemmed from there to @exploringaustralia because I thought, well why not showcase Australia too because my goodness I love this country and I was totally blown away by so many people’s photos that I just wanted to share them! It’s actually been a huge inspiration for me to travel Australia more and in the past few years I’ve made it my mission to do just that!
What do you hope people feel when they look at your work?
Oh that’s so hard! I don’t know that there’s a certain thing that I want them to feel, I guess if they feel anything at all about it then I’m happy! Whatever emotion it evokes is the right one for them at that time so if it makes them feel at all then that makes me smile.
What do you love most about aerial photography?
I actually don’t own a drone, a lot of people think I do but I’ve taken all of my aerial photos from helicopters! I’ve been really lucky in being able to go up a few times. I’ve thought about buying a drone so many times but nothing beats the feeling of flying by and seeing the view with your own eyes. I love the perspective from the sky, it gives you such a different take on our beautiful planet. I really enjoy seeing other people’s drone shots though, seeing rivers that look like paintings and unique geometric shots of what is so different to the eye below, is pretty cool. I might buy one in the future, watch this space!
Finally do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?
Get out there and meet like minded people, I’ve learned so much that way and created friendships for life. Find your style and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. There’s no wrong or right, if you love it then that’s the most important thing! Have fun and try new things. Also, practise (I should take this advice myself haha!!)