M E E T
Interview by Sophie Cottrell / Photos by Jessica Rule
Today we start our new series on the journal, interviewing and showcasing our contributors from Volume Three. This way, you get to know them on a deeper level and why they contributed what they did!
Jessica is an integral part of Volume Three. She not only shot on location for multiple pieces, but her and her husband created the beautiful sneak preview of Volume Three by video for us, which truly took our breath away. So grab a cup of tea and read about the story behind this travel photography expert.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do with yourself?
I am a travel blogger and photographer in search of locations that inspire my personal style. I like to capture landscapes, architecture and interiors that offer both authentic travel experiences and stylish escapes. When I’m not shooting I spend a lot of time curating the dream travel wardrobe and scouting new locations.
How would your best friend describe you, do you think?
They would definitely say I am unpredictable. My two besties have told me they wouldn’t be surprised if I rang them one day from Africa to say that I’d moved there. I haven’t even been to Africa but you could say I’m notorious for skipping the country at short notice.
What was your journey to where you are now?
I’ve always had an interest in photography since studying it at school and later dabbling in video at Uni. After completing a Communications degree I went into a year of work placement in broadcast television. I’ve since freelanced in the television industry, which is what developed my knowledge of cameras and lighting. Along the way I completed a styling course to satisfy my lingering interest in fashion. I started Escape Button as a way to combine both of these passions, focusing on travel style specifically.
Would you change anything along the way? And what advice would you give to someone who is looking at taking a risk and just starting out on their creative journey?
Aside from the obvious wish that I had started blogging earlier (which I think a lot of bloggers can relate too), I would’ve thought out my branding and look more thoroughly. I’ve changed domain names, logos and website hosts which can burn a lot of valuably blogging time. As for someone considering their own creative career path, I would encourage them to just take the leap. I’m yet to meet a fellow freelancer who regrets pursuing their creative passion. If you can take the discipline from your day-to-day job and combine it with the skills you are passionate about you are sure to make strides in your own endeavours.
How did you find your voice in the industry and what is the biggest challenge with this?
I’ve found it incredibly important to keep a narrow focus on covering one facet of travel in particular. For me, it’s where personal style and travel intersect. That way I can use an informative voice in the area I know most about. There are so many categories within the travel industry that it’s easy to feel like you have to cover them all and lose your unique perspective in the process. I am continually working on developing my voice in the industry as my skills and experience change.
How do you stay motivated when you are the only one responsible for creating content? What motivates you?
I think the constant thirst for discovery that I have as a traveler also motivates me to create new content. I am always looking for the next destination or holiday-worthy fashion trend so new discoveries encourage me to keep sharing my thoughts.
Who/What inspires you creatively?
I am inspired by female travel photographers who have a recognisable style in the way they capture natural light. I tend to gravitate towards film photographers specifically for the soft, pastel aesthetic that the medium brings. One such photographer is Kate Holstein whose travel portfolio is full of dreamy, light-filled landscapes.
If you had to do something completely different to what you are doing now, what would you do?
I would love to work in the tech world, more specifically with apps and developing a few ideas that I’ve had along the way. It would be a world away from the creative industries but a great challenge and learning curve.
At Sceen’ry we talk a lot about looking beyond your own backyard, finding places that take your breath away and remind you how blessed you are to live where you live. Tell us about where you live in Sydney and why you are based there?
I am based in Alexandria, quite an industrial suburb of Sydney. My husband had just moved there when we met so it was the first area of Sydney I came to know, having relocated from Newcastle. I love the way it has transformed since my move in 2010. Abandoned warehouses have been reawakened with chic cafes and shared working spaces. We have stayed in this location because of its proximity to the airport and the city, something that has been a huge benefit working in travel. It’s also reassuring to be surrounded by lots of other freelancers and young creatives gathering inspiration from the eclectic surrounds.
If someone had 24hrs in Sydney and they asked you what to do, what are your MUST visits? Whether it be food, coffee, beaches, national parks etc. And what is it about them that makes them in your top list?
I would suggest a walk along Hermitage Foreshore Track. The path winds from Rose Bay to Vaucluse, taking you past historic Strickland House and finishing at Shark beach (don’t be deterred by the name, it’s secluded and safe)! Along the way you’ll take in sweeping views of the Harbour Bridge and Shark Island, minus the city crowds. It’s a nice way to experience Sydney Harbour’s stunning inlets, bush land and coastal suburbs.
To explore the city streets in a unique way, I recommend wandering down the laneways behind George Street, from Angel Place to Bridge Lane. Here you’ll find well-worn cobblestones leading the way to hidden restaurants and bars. My favourite is Palmer and Co, a 1920’s-themed basement bar that will transport you to the prohibition era with its dapper barmen and classic cocktails.
What places are at the top of your travel list around the world?
Morocco is right at the top. The colours, textures and shapes of Moroccan architecture are a travel photographer’s dream. I would also like to explore Iceland for the sheer drama in its landscape. Plus, I know my husband would be more excited about that than sipping peppermint tea in a Riad.
What are 5 things you would never travel without?
1. Lucas’ Papaw Ointment. Sounds ridiculous to prioritise a lip balm but I wouldn’t even survive the flight over without it. It also has antibacterial properties so I keep it handy for any bites or scratches.
2. A nice set of pyjamas. I’ve included this because it’s the one item I tend to forget! Then I end up digging into my daytime clothes for something to wear to bed. A good set of pyjamas will also make you feel the most comfortable and relaxed while you’re away.
3. A notepad or travel journal. Because I’m working when I travel I often don’t have time to keep a full journal but I am always scribbling down notes along the way. It’s easy to forget the name of your favourite café or shop once you get back home so making notes will keep your memories fresh.
4. A good quality camera. You don’t have to splurge on an SLR but trust me when I say your iPhone alone won’t cut it. There have been a few times when I’ve ventured out with just my phone to save space in my bag and I’ve always regretted it. A digital camera will give your pics more clarity and accurate colour, especially in low-light conditions (hello sunset).
5. Comfy shoes. Whether its sandals in summer or boots in winter, make sure you pack the most comfy pair you own. Nothing will bring your plans to an end quicker than a blister. I’ve had a pair of Birkenstocks for three years that have gone with me on every trip and never failed. That being said, it might be time for an upgrade.