Wandering far and wide with a camera in her hand – Emilie Ristevski is an Australian photographer and the creative mind behind @helloemilie. After literally having our breath taken away from every. single. one of the otherworldly content that she produces, we were SO eager to chat with her and how she brings the magic to life and onto our feeds.
Using natural light elements and her own curiosity, Emilie's work brings beautiful moments to life through meaningful storytelling. With a plethora of professional industry experience under her belt - she's partnered with some of the world’s leading travel and lifestyle brands including Adobe and Lonely Planet and has built a life on wandering.
A wild at heart wanderer, who is full of adventure-lust, creativity and wisdom of the natural world, her content is largely driven by her need to explore, a desire to conserve and to capture the fleeting details that often go unseen in our natural world. And whilst she's travelled far and wide, still nowhere feels quite like home in Australia. We're truly mesmerised by the endless inspiration created by this total dreamboat woman and we think you will be too!
Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about you - who you are, where are you from and what set your soul on fire?
"I’m Emilie, an Australian photographer, visual storyteller, author and creative mind behind @helloemilie – Currently based on the East Coast of Australia, between the mountains and the sea. I often find myself exploring far and wide to create and share slow and mindful wanderings within nature.
My work is about finding the beauty in our world and I am always looking to find ways to conserve and capture the things that often goes unseen. Over the years I have developed a strong focus on sharing meaningful content around sustainability and caring for our planet earth.
I hope my photographs have the ability to resonate with people in some way, that they can bring a sense of nostalgia, a sense of wonder, that they will make you feel something, anything at all. With pieces of my mind and heart scattered all over the globe, I’ve felt the urge for my images to do and say more with the hope that I can encourage a greater awareness of our earth’s beauty and ever present fragility.
It is through my storytelling that I hope to inspire and educate my audience on the importance of our natural world. I truly love being able to share the world through my lens and allowing others to see the magic of our natural world. Knowing I have encouraged others to see the world in a new light and reignite their connection with nature and our planet is something really special."
What’s your star sign and what does this mean for you?
I am a Scorpio and find myself very intuitive and spiritual in many aspects of my life. These elements also greatly drive my creative workflow.
We want to hear all about your creative journey so far - were you originally a photographer or did that happen organically along the way through your travels?
My love for photography first started years ago when I discovered black and white film photography in a tiny dark room. I remember the moment I saw my first photograph develop in the chemicals right before my eyes, I was immediately fascinated and it opened up a whole new world for me. Focusing on travel was never intentional and while studying design at university I always imagined myself somehow in the design world. However photography was always something I came back to and I fell more and more in love with the process behind creating imagery and the ability to tell stories. I love how these different creative pursuits merge together, with each set of skills helping to balance each other out and allowing me to create in a new way. At times I don’t think I could ever be defined as just purely a photographer or simply doing one thing as there are so many different elements which go into my work.
What inspired you to start this journey? Would you say you’ve always been a creative & where do you think this has stemmed from in your upbringing?
"I’ve always had an innate love of creativity. Growing up I experimenting with different art forms and mediums from painting, drawing, ceramics, anything where I could create and let my imagination become tangible. The combination of travel and photography helped to me create a strong sense of story, a way to create work which felt transportive and capture the untold wonders of our planet. Somewhere between the mountains and the ocean I have lived throughout several different regions along the east coast of Australia and in someway always surrounded by nature – This is where my love and connection to the natural world first began. Nature has always been a starting place for inspiration. The continual ebb and flow of being a creative and constantly being on the move forces you adapt and see things differently, a mindset which allows myself to appreciate the hidden beauty that can be found all around us."
You’re currently living a rather adventurous life that makes us want to pack our bags and explore all the hidden gems of the natural world -- talk us through what last year was like for you, being so limited to travel?
"My world has definitely shifted quite a bit and it has been a time full of uncertainties in many ways. I hope I can look back to see this as a time of growth, a time we all needed to move forward and accept the need for change. Ironically I have been feeling really grateful for the time which has allowed me to slow down from travel and in many ways the chaos of our world – Anything that allows us to truly slow down also allows for patience and the possibility to see how interconnected we all are on our beautiful planet. It’s the slowing down and having the time to reflect which has allowed me to work on more meaningful projects – I’ve also been keeping busy launching my debut internationally published photography book, 'Forever Wandering' last year."
When it comes to exploring new places for capture -- how do you go about planning your adventures? How do you decide where to go next?
"Many long hours, research, revisiting locations, early mornings and late nights are usually what goes into create a single image. Some images are thoroughly planned out months in advance, however surprisingly some of my favourite images have been captured spontaneously. I have always been drawn to the little things and I am constantly seeking out these moments in-between that you can’t always plan for. By chasing light and following weather, I’ve learnt how unpredictable nature can be, even with lots of time spent on planning. I am often seeking out places that have untold stories to tell and am drawn to the more remote locations within our natural world."
You have quite a distinct style of photography, are there any specific creatives or accounts that you look up to?
"There are so many incredibly talented creatives on this platform and I am always so inspired by the community here – Some of my favourites at the moment: @shadowontherun @niravphotography @frecklesnur"
We’d love your local insight! With international travel looking more like a distant dream than reality, what are three of your most treasured (and most photographic) places you have discovered on home soil here in Australia?
"Australia is full of diversity, from the desert outback to the untouched beaches and tropical rainforests, the snowy mountain ranges and all the wide open spaces in-between. I have formed a special connection with so many places here in Australia – The top 3 locations I love are the wild highlands of Tasmania, the heart of the Red Centre and the otherworldly landscapes of Mungo National Park."
And what about in wider parts of the globe?
"Traveling through some of the most remote parts of the world have left me with a whirlwind of emotions. From being in complete awe of the surreal beauty of our planet to contemplating the impacts of our choices and unfathomable reality that I am even able to experience such places with my own eyes. My most treasured moments are the travel assignments where I have ended up in places I never knew existed, connecting with local communities and leaving my heart in all corners of the world. Witnessing the northern lights in Iceland, camping under the stars in the Valley of the Moon, Jordan and meeting the Himba Tribe in Namibia are some of the highlights."
You released your first ever book last year ‘Forever Wandering: Our Natural World through the Eyes of Hello Emilie’ - congratulations, that is amazing! Tell us about it & what that process was like from initial idea to launch...
"Forever Wandering is a labour of love of many years and full of countless wanderings around the globe, I’ve poured so much of myself into the creation of this book and have never been more excited to offer a home for my photographs to be held in a tangible form. The process of creating my book was very surreal and overwhelming and became a learning curve for me in many ways. With so many uncertainties in the world right now, I hope my photographs are are able to transport your mind into the wilderness of our beautiful world and help you discover a depth of wonder and awe for our planet. At a time when our approach to travel is changing, and restoring nature’s balance is more pressing than ever, Forever Wandering is a visual insight into our natural world, telling a meaningful story of how we can find a deeper connection with our universe – and ourselves. I can only hope these pages will inspire you to re-ignite your connection with Earth and see the beauty that is hidden within every corner of our planet."
When it comes to your personal style, how would you describe it?
"Soft, dreamy & ethereal"
Where are you and what are you wearing when you feel most like ‘you’?
"Rising with the sun, wearing a soft & flowing dress, endlessly wandering somewhere within nature."
We know being environmentally conscious and reducing your footprint are just some of your intrinsic values as a travel blogger, can you divulge some of your tips to walking a little lighter when it comes to travelling?
"There are lots of practical tips you can consider to travel lighter, from packing less, carbon offsetting, choosing alternate forms of transport and supporting responsible companies – Although more recently I’ve been forced to reassess the why from a mindset perspective and the reasons behind our choices for traveling in the first place. Travelling in general is a privilege and feels like it has become more accessible than ever before, so I think we are in a time where it’s crucial to be conscious of our travel choices and the impact they may have. I’ve been lucky to partner with with clients who specifically focus on sustainable tourism, in the hope to inspire people to be open minded and consider our choices from a new perspective. My biggest tip would be to always try to connect with locals in anyway you can, aim to support local businesses or smaller boutique accommodation or guides which will be able to connect you with authentic experiences and most importantly give back to the local community – my favourite travel memories always seem to involve the incredible locals I’ve met around the world."
Where are you heading for your next adventure?
"My focus more recently has been to allow myself to sit still for a while to be able to slow down and work on more meaningful projects that are close to my heart. I have no idea where I will head once the world opens up but I have an ever-growing list of places I am dreaming of photographing one day and am drawn to the more remote destinations – Places like Bolivia and Mongolia are high on my list. Although I’m not in a rush as I’m actually really looking forward to slowing down and exploring more of my homeland – I envision lots of road trips throughout Australia connecting more to the untold stories found here. My next adventure is exploring the wilderness of Tasmania this autumn & winter!"