i was thirteen when my obsession for documenting beauty began. in the beginning it was my wild, six-year-old sister in our backyard, the ever-hot summer sun freckling her skin. then it was strangers in the streets, my unassuming youth allowing me to photograph the most honest of moments.
very soon i was filled with angsty teenage passion. drunkenly stumbling suburban streets with a camera in hand and friends mostly chosen for how well they photographed. the camera was a part of myself and i slept with it beside my pillow every night for years.
i obsessively documented life so much that when i reminisce now it is more a collection of images, films and diary entries than true memories.
at fourteen i fell deeply into an agonisingly passionate love with a boy photographer. he was on the other side of the country but we spoke most nights until sunrise. i would skip school to photograph in those days, so inspired and fueled by his own beautiful images and my need to impress him. i never told matt i loved him, but it laced my words so heavily you could taste it if you read them aloud. i thought if only i could have a single kiss i would die happily.
my first paid job was photographing strippers for sleazy ads at age fifteen. here i became unfazed by nudity and began to save for a flight to my feed my infatuation (which later was spent on repairing my camera after it’d been dropped by a drunk boy at a party). i lost all interest in school, ironically failing my photography class but passing everything else. i told my mother how unproductive and uninspired i felt, and she agreed i shouldn’t waste my life any longer. so i dropped out.
very soon after my sixteenth birthday, stirred on by lovesickness, i took my mother’s credit card from her purse in the middle of the night and booked a flight to melbourne (where matt was now living). i flew out the next day and my new life began.
we were inseparable from that day forth. that first week surpassing any of my most romantic daydreams- but that story is for another post. being homeless we slept wherever we could, mostly strangers houses, train stations and airports when we were in-between countries. in our gypsy times we have travelled france, italy, indonesia, new zealand, america, india & vietnam.
i won one international and two national photography awards. i used my winnings to buy equipment, flights and to pay for the bond for our first apartment. i became the youngest fashion photographer signed to an agency.
in the winter we left our studio apartment in melbourne city to fly to NYC to shoot an international diesel campaign. it was my first campaign and it was a crazy introduction to the industry. i started booking work as a fashion photographer. soon my images were on magazines, billboards in times square, trams & buses, airports, book covers and so on and so forth.
we grew weary of melbourne, sold all our belongings and became gypsies once more. i spent idyllic months in beverly hills, lake tahoe and new york, while matt worked in the red desert and travelled around south-east asia volunteering aid to those affected by the tsunamis in the mentawais and running from an erupting volcano in merapi. but adventuring apart was lonely and short-lived.
we moved to the blue mountains, where we’d always longed to live. we got a place on a hill with a fireplace, room for a veggie garden and a balcony where you could see the blue, hazy mountains all around. a quiet place where we can write, create and love.
shortly before leaving to europe to shoot a billabong campaign, we found out we were going to have a child. something i’d dreamt about for a long time. i spent my pregnancy travelling and shooting, impatiently imagining the day we’d meet our daughter. then in january 2012, in our living room we met the most amazing person in the universe. alba joy firebrace was born.
these are our adventures, this is our life.