At just shy of 400,000, Emilie Ristevski‘s Instagram followers could fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground almost four times over. That’s pretty damn impressive for someone who was just another full-time uni student a few years ago. Ristevski, who describes herself as a “photo-creator, story-teller and wanderer” is one of a new breed of travel photographers who share amazing photos of their trips directly with their audience on Instagram. And yes, this is a full time job now.
Ristevski’s Instagram feed to your eyes is like cotton candy to your mouth, and we can’t wait to see what she comes up with when she hosts some of the upcoming Qantas Instameet series which aim to capture what #FeelsLikeHome for different Australians. We caught up with her for a chat about travelling, photography and – of course – Instagram.
When did you start on Instagram and what drew you to the platform?
I started using Instagram fairly early, and over time it developed as a way to document and capture particular moment, as well as explore the things that inspired me. I have always had a love for photography and through using Instagram, I found my own creative outlet. I think what I was drawn to at first was finding a platform on which I could share small glimpses of my world; a place where I could really escape and curate my own world to tell stories and create meaning through my imagery. I felt like Instagram was a perfect place to share.
What were you doing before this?
I was studying full time at uni when Instagram really started to take off for me. I eventually became so overwhelmed with all of the incredible opportunities I was offered to travel around the world that I decided to take the risk to really focus on travel, photography and – of course – Instagram.
How would you describe your photography style?
Instagram has really helped to develop my photography style, and it has really grown over time. My Instagram feed seems to constantly be going through different waves of tonal palettes. I have always been drawn to particular colours, soft tones and natural lighting and have become quite selective when composing a collection of images together. I like my photographs to work together as a series and complete one another. It can be difficult at times. I am always searching for the compositions and the little details which I know will be able to tell a particular story or convey the mood I am aiming to capture in my work.
What’s your been your favourite place that your travels have taken you to?
There are so many places and moments I have experienced all over the world thanks to some amazing opportunities through Instagram. I did experience some of the most beautiful moments while exploring Jordan, especially in Petra. Another one of my favourite moments would be traveling through Milford Sound, New Zealand. It felt like we had the valley and all the surrounding mountains to ourselves. It was really quite a magical moment.
Are there any unexpected places that really wowed you?
My recent journey to Jordan was a trip I will never forget. I fell in love with the desert – Wadi Rum was beautiful. The landscape was so vast and surreal; it was something I have never really experienced. Petra is also a place I will never forget. I did not realise how large and in depth it was, surrounded with such beautiful culture and history.
What’s the biggest challenge about what you do?
The biggest challenge for me is really being able to take in every detail when travelling, as I always find myself looking at a location through a photography perspective. I guess it is a love/hate aspect of the job, as a large part of what I do is purely focused around capturing imagery or a moment. My mind often gets stuck in this mood, always observing and looking at a location through a lens. There are times I wish I could experience a location and really take it in without technology: just to enjoy being there right in the moment (but I still think I would secretly want a camera in my hand).
What’s your advice for people who want to start out in travel photography or make a name for themselves on Instagram?
I think Instagram is a great place for people to create a visual identity for themselves and their photography. I think developing your own style and having some sort of story to tell is really important and something I think your audience responds really well to. So many project opportunities can be found by finding and following people who inspire you and starting to develop your own creative community. I think the best way to start out is to be authentic and consistent. Simply sharing beautiful and interesting content is the most important and valuable way to gain an audience.
Where are you most excited to go to for the Qantas Instameet and why?
I am definitely most excited to visit Uluru! I have never been before and it has always been a location I have dreamed of visiting even as a child. The colours, the culture and the stories – everything about the location seems so magical.
(All photos: Emilie Ristevski)