Today, we’d like to present you the story of an amazing travel photographer who recently became Photler’s user – Natalia Horinkova. The girl from Slovakia who fulfilled her dreams of traveling the world, currently living in Sydney, Australia. When we first heard her story and then talked with her, we couldn’t resist sharing it with you – so you can feel inspired and encouraged to conquer the world starting just now. Because that’s what Natalia does – she never waits for another chance to come, she creates them.
Plus, check out her amazing photographs! All come from her website NataliaHorinkova.
Q: What was the first photography assignment you got?
It goes as far, as when I was living in Dubai (about eight years ago) and I started off as a wedding photography assistant. I was called for a wedding outside of the town. I remember it well, because the wedding had two brides. No one of course told us before and we only found out when there were two brides sitting on a bench and we were told to only take photos of one of them. Despite our confusion, I must say, it was one of the nicest events I have ever been to.
Q: What was the first camera that you used? Was it your phone? What is your favorite one at the moment?
Haha, definitely not a phone, I am 80’s child. 😀 I remember always playing with my dad’s camera Minolta X 300 (film camera), but never thought of it much more than a nice hobby. My first camera I bought was Canon 5D Mark II and I still shoot with it, alongside with my Olympus OM-D E-M1. Those are my favorite two at the moment. Especially Olympus as I have a water housing for it and who knows me well, also knows I spent lots of time in the sea.
Q: It’s a common question for travelers, but that’s the exact reason we need to ask as well: where do you get money from to live day by day during your travels? Selling photos, assignments, part-time jobs, blogging, others?
I get this question all the time, but people ask me more like: “Can you actually survive of just photography?” “Where do you get the money to travel from?” When I go on assignments, everything is paid for – so things are easier. When I was volunteering, I would have to save up money first. Being a freelance photographer in Sydney, sometimes I had to take other jobs, for example in retail or bar. Once, I had to fundraise half of the money for the program and I was surprised how generous people are. Getting to run my online shop is on my priority list, but it’s hard to set it up while traveling.
But for Natalia nothing is impossible.
Q: You mentioned that you lived in Australia for a couple of years. How did you manage to do that? For some people it may seem like a very expensive thing to move there. Even simple trip for one week requires a lot of money. Yet you managed to do this somehow 🙂
I am still a resident of Australia and I believe, one day, I will go back and ‘settle down’ (whatever that means), somewhere by the sea, far from the busy cities.
I was always a believer of saying that if you really want something and you work hard for it, you will achieve it. However, visiting and staying in Australia was also a bit of ‘a destiny’. Long story short, I went to visit my brother for Christmas in 2009 for period of one month and the first time I went back home, was Christmas 2013. First comment I got from my grandparents was: “That was a long one month” 😀 From a tourist, I became a student and then a resident. Of course, the long story is not this ‘simple’. 😉
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you faced while being a travel photographer? What seems to be the most difficult in that job?
I can talk here about cultural shocks, and not sleeping in your own bed, but for me it’s all the visa arrangements before you even travel. When you are visiting one country, it’s not that difficult to get all the documents ready, but I am about to go eight countries in Africa soon and that’s very time consuming and sometimes a bit confusing. I was always bad with paper work and no matter if you go with an organization or by yourself, visa is your responsibility.
Q: Is working as a travel photographer exactly as you imagined or not? If so, how is it different?
Yes, it’s exactly how I imagined. I mean, I have been travelling for years and years (even before I started with photography) so I know travelling can be very lonely, but very rewarding at the same time. It seems like I have itchy feet and I can’t stay long in one place, so this lifestyle is perfect for me right now.
Q: And how about your photography? Did you have any prior experience or education in that area? Because your photos are stunningly beautiful!
Thank you for your sweet words. I am self-taught photographer, so no education. Maybe I can tell you the short story again? 😉 I was living in Dubai and decided that I don’t want to be in my old profession anymore, but I wanted to stay there for a bit longer. I bought my first camera and started to take photos of my friends. I found people in the industry and bothered them until someone gave me finally a chance.
Important lesson here from Natalia – never give up on your dreams!
Q: When you photograph people what are their reactions? Are they open or rather scared and closed for “letting you in” their lives?
Well that depends not just on a country, but town or village I visit. I think I’ve been through it all already. From people asking me to take a photo of them, to getting very angry at me, for only carrying my camera on my shoulder. The most important thing being a photographer is a cultural awareness and treating other people with respect, not always sticking your camera in front of their faces. Many times I ask them first after having a little chat with them, if I can take a photo of them. Of course, I took many photos of people while they weren’t paying attention, because then they are the most natural, but if possible, I like to show them the photo afterwards.
Q: Do you have any tips, suggestions for people who want to take same path as you?
Be patient, nothing good comes too easy. Be determinate and stand behind your dreams, transfer them into reality by taking an action, and also don’t spend too much time talking about other people in the industry: like looking into how much they earn or if they are promoting themselves ‘too much’. Just like at yoga class, always keep eyes on your own matt. It’s your own journey.
It’s a long, but rewarding road. You meet many amazing people through your travels, some who stay forever in your lives and your hearts.
We couldn’t think of any better summary for that interview. Natalia’s story really inspired us and we hope that you feel inspired as well. Talent, determination, a bit of luck and lots of passion can lead you wherever you’d like to go. Just keep yourself focused on what you want to achieve and never lose that!
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