In case couldn’t tell from the exclamation point, I am so beyond happy to share with you the first piece in my new interview series, The Everyday Gal. I wanted this segment to be an opportunity for me to chat to all of the gals I love and look up to, but more specifically, those who are whole-heartedly following their passions and are working hard to make their dreams a reality.
Of course, there are many amazing girls out there doing just that, and I have a never-ending list of potential interviewees, but for my introductory piece I thought there would be no better person to pick the brains of than Gabi Mulder.
Gabi is an Australian photographer, and editor of the dreamy website Oak & Bone; whose Instagram makes you want to run to the nearest beach and grab an acai bowl, and makes you seriously appreciate the magic of an ordinary day. I’ve been following Gabi for a couple of years now and have always admired how sweet and genuine she is online, and how her sunny personality shines always manages to shine through her photos.
I won’t ramble too any more – Gabi’s answers are far too inspiring to interrupt – so grab a cuppa and enjoy a little insight into this lovely human’s life 🙂
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m an ocean adoring, freckle collecting, sunshine enthusiast. I take photos of people and our planet for a living.
What first sparked your interest in photography?
Growing up where I did (Byron Bay and Fiji) gave me a huge appreciation for the natural beauty of this planet and our people. I love nothing more than capturing the casual magic that’s occurring every single day on this big blue earth.
You now work with brands such as Top Shop, but how did you get started in the industry?
It all started through just doing my own personal shoots with friends or girls from around my area when I was growing up (i started when I was 17) and sharing them across social media. From there, as I moved around (domestically and internationally) and my work had more exposure, I was able to turn it into a career.
What are some of the best/hardest things about working freelance?
The best thing is the freedom and the ability to have control over your own time. Being your own boss allows you the freedom to travel when and where you please, which is a big thing for me. The hardest thing is probably the inconsistency of the job and the inability to plan very far in advance. You never quite know what’s around the corner. But there’s no doubt in my mind that the good outweighs the bad.
Favourite shoot so far?
I did a shoot last week on a nudist beach here in Byron Bay and that was pretty great haha. It was the most crystal clear day with a blaring blue sky and no clouds in sight. The photos will be releasing this coming week and I’m thinking of getting some big prints made up from the shoot. When I move back to New York I’d love to have a big picture from home up on my wall from that day.
Do you think you’ve reached that goal work-life balance, and what are some of your tips for maintaining it?
I think as much as I can at 21 years old. I feel like at this age I’m still putting in a lot of time to try and figure out exactly where I want to go with my work and am probably working a lot more than I usually would. However, I still make sure I get to the beach everyday and take time to be in the sun. Once again, the power of freelance allows me to work when I want to work and play when i wish to play, which I’m incredibly thankful for.
I think a big tip for maintaining a healthy work-life balance is to do something everyday (outside of your work) that makes you feel alive and really, really happy. Whether that’s going for a long beach walk, cooking a delicious dinner, having a picnic with a friend, listening to your favourite musician. I always remind myself of the quote “how you spend your days is of course how you spend your life” – so I think it’s really important to do things everyday that make you happy, because in the end that will create a happy life.
Best piece of advice you were ever given?
“Remember, life is a journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once there’d be no point to living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you’ll see these “set backs” as giant leaps forward, only you couldn’t see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach; all you have to do is show up everyday, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek.”
You’ve done quite a bit of adventuring lately (lucky gal!), so what made you decide to set up shop in Byron for a while?
Byron is where I grew up actually. So this is where my family is all based and long time friends. I’m home for a few weeks to touch base and see my new little niece (who has stolen my heart), spend time by the ocean, and re-connect before I head off overseas again. I absolutely adore coming home. It’s so different to Sydney or New York so coming back here allows me to take a step back from the whirlwind of the fashion/media world, spend time in the sun, wake up to the sound of birds, and get back to earth.
How important do you think it is to travel while you’re young?
I think it’s incredibly beneficial if you can travel while you’re young. I am very aware though that to travel is a huge privilege, so I’m conscious of not wanting to throw around the idea that everyone “should” travel or “has” to travel and if they don’t they’re doing something wrong. To travel is a product of luxury and I think the first step to making the most of your travel experiences, is to realise just how lucky you are to be there in the first place. If you have nothing but gratitude for the experience, the universe will no doubt treat you to an amazing time.
You lived in New York for a 3 months, can you give us a little insight into what life is like in the city that never sleeps?
It’s incredible in every sense. It’s chaotic, but you’re still able to find pockets of absolute stillness (I’m looking at you Central Park). NYC is the first city I’ve ever been in that you really do feel that it has a soul and a beating heart. It’s this melting pot of the entire world (I feel like no one I met was actually from New York), so every morning that you walk out of your apartment you’re going to speak to people from a completely different background to your own, you step on the subway and get a free concert from the incredible local buskers, and the city will give you the best people-watching experience in the world.
Do you have any upcoming trips/exciting projects in the works?
I head off on a big road trip through the South Island of New Zealand in a couple of weeks which I’m absolutely buzzing about! Camera in hand, one of my best friends by my side, the wide open road and 2 weeks of total freedom. I don’t think anything could make me happier right now.
If you could tell your 16-year-old self 3 things what would they be?
1. The people who tell you “your school days are the best day of your life” are very, very incorrect. Words can’t describe just how incorrect they are. Life is incredible and you’ve only just skimmed the surface.
2. You’re going to find “your people” once you finish school. They’re scattered all across the world but you’ll know when you meet them.
3. You’re going to find an all-vegan diner in Brooklyn that sells the most incredible cookie dough pancakes you could possibly imagine. Get excited.
Camera kit details:
Canon 6d with a 24-70mm lens.
Digital or film?
Digital and Polaroid.
How do you take your coffee, and where are your favourite vendors in Australia?
Soy latte with one sugar please. Coffee up home in Byron is my absolute favourite. Sparrow and Folk coffee are my go-tos. If you find yourself in Byron you must drop by for a visit!
Go to outfit?
It’s the summer time right now so it’s a maxi skirt (navy with tiny white flowers) and loose cropped button up shirt (khaki). Super airy, light and easy to change in and out of swimmers underneath (this is very important haha).
Best travel hacks?
Always book your flights through a sale (save those $$$ where you can), pack light, bring your camera. Speak to locals and take time to discover the hidden gems (every place has them).
Wake up to the sound of the birds singing outside my window, run down to the beach and jump into the ocean, head to the markets, followed by brunch at one of my favourite cafes with close girlfriends. Spend the afternoon lazing about in the sun, taking photos and listening to relaxing tunes. Then in the night cook a delicious dinner and fall asleep to the sound of pouring rain.
Find Gabi at:
*All magical photography is Gabi’s own – duh!