Her images first transfixed me back in December. I was scrolling through our #FPShineALight hashtag, and there it was in saturated, beachy tones: a perfect structure sitting atop white sands, pillows arranged just so, with candles strewn about. Naturally I clicked through to see who the creator behind this dreamy image was, and as I scrolled through @Fieldnotes__‘s feed (all the way to the end) I was hit with the sort of wanderlust that takes you by surprise, the kind that has you researching airfare and train tickets into the early hours of the morning. Her forest-bound and beach-side shots conjured memories of travel’s past, and dreams of future adventures. I had to see more. I had to know more about the being behind this incredible imagery. Turns out, the person behind the Instagram is just as inspiring; @Fieldnotes__ is Rachel Claire, an Australia-based photographer, wanderer and adventurer with a lust for the unknown and a passport filled with stamps. Learn more about her, below:
Tell us about yourself, where did you grow up?
I was lucky enough to grow up all over Australia. I spent time in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory as a kid, and moved back to Perth, Western Australia before starting middle school and I’ve been living here ever since.
From your Instagram feed it seems as though you’re constantly on the road, where is home base for you?
I’ve been very lucky to travel a great deal since finishing high school and I’ve loved every moment of it, but nothing ever quite beats that feeling of coming home. My home base is in Perth and it’s my favorite place in the world (although I haven’t seen everywhere yet). In my teenage years I began to resent my hometown for being so small but after several trips overseas, I grew to love the place I grew up in more than anything in the world. I have a friend in Germany who calls me ‘the unofficial ambassador for the wheat-belt region’ because the first time we met I couldn’t stop talking about how incredible Western Australia was. Growing up in Western Australia is a wonderful blessing. So much of it is about the outdoors, from the oceans to the hills – the huge sun-burnt deserts and ravines in the Kimberly – to the cool sprawling forests of the South West. It’s truly perfect. It’s an adventurer’s dream. I couldn’t love any place more.
What advice would you give to someone who has a desire to travel, but doesn’t know where to begin?
I get hit with the question “how do you afford to travel?” so often, and I think that’s always the main concern when someone wants to travel and doesn’t know where to begin. I managed to save enough each year working a part time job and photographing while studying by not worrying about it at all and then going into full-fledged panic mode in the months leading up to a big trip. Somehow it always managed to come together. I think it’s important to plan well and realize that travelling isn’t about extravagance. It’s been said many times before, but it’s so true – it’s never about the place you stay, but the people you stay with, and the journey it took to get there.
I would imagine that there is no ‘typical day’ in your world, but could you give us a snapshot of what a day in your life looks like, morning to night?
My day-to-day life can get pretty hectic as I try to manage my creative life around an incredible day job for a local tech start-up. My workdays are very diverse and are never quite the same, which I love – but a typical day involves a 5:30 a.m. wake-up to train at my local personal training studio, followed by several cups of coffee. I’m on the road for work a lot, so my day often involves driving to a number of meetings while trying to reply to creative emails and organizing adventures in between. These past few days I’ve been juggling meetings with organizing a mid-week hike with some friends – and getting ready to travel down to the South West for a long weekend. In the evenings, I’m usually working on some photographs and exploring Flickr– or I’m reading a book. Weekends are usually pretty spontaneous – I have some wonderful friends who share a love for adventure.
What time of day do you feel most productive and inspired?
It’s funny actually – I always seem to be the most productive and inspired when I’m stuck in early morning peak hour traffic. I’ll be at a stand-still in bumper to bumper traffic when I’ll have some kind of creative epiphany and have all these wonderful ideas that I’ll feel the need to pursue almost immediately. Unfortunately, I seem to manage to always forget a notebook – by the time my work day’s done, I’ve often forgot what it was I was so excited about. I’m lucky that I often feel inspired – especially when I’m surrounded by talented and creative friends.
Your Instagram account so beautifully captures your life and adventures, did you always have a love of photography?
I used to run off with my mum’s Nikon Coolpix camera growing up and take so many photos of my brother and my best friend and our animals. I’ve always had weirdly photogenic pets! They were the perfect models – although I can assure the photos I took were terrible. In my teenage years I developed a fluid interest in self portraiture – and I soon discovered Photoshop. You can imagine the scene that followed. It wasn’t pretty. Although I credit that creative exploration for my self education with post-production. I learned how to use Photoshop before I learned to properly use my first DSLR camera (A Sony Alpha A350 which lasted less than a year before I switched to Canon). The year I switched to Canon was the year I went on my first big trip overseas. That’s when I truly fell in love with photography. I was naïve and very young on that first trip – and somehow, it’s all there in those photos still. I love looking back at them because they mark the beginning of something huge in my life.
+ Where are you dying to go? Taken any incredible trips lately? Let us know in the comments!