This week’s ambassador spotlight shines a light on Monika Hanley of The Internationelle. Read on to find out more about Monika, see some of her work, and find out which bluebird chic strap is her personal favorite!
Founded by two travelers on a mission to both visit every country in the world and fight human trafficking on the way, Internationelle is a reminder that travel is about the drive in all of us to seek new things, places, and people; to make memories worth their weight in gold/food/sunsets; and to focus not only on what the world can bring to us, but what we can also bring to the world. Join us!
What is the best part of owning your own business?
The freedom, connections, and ability to translate photography and travel business into a world-wide and brad adventure. Either contributing to journalism, people’s engagements in Russia, children’s first portraits in Mongolia, and, of course, showing the amazing food of the world in its best light, is truly the best part. Getting to work with others on projects, is also thrilling. Hearing what someone’s dream idea is and making it happen is always a highlight.
What impact do you want your business to have on others?
think one of the single most important things that women can do for themselves and for other women as well is to tell the stories of their lives. I hope that I can offer women a way in which they can find themselves and their stories in the art of feminist scrapbooking.
I want to make it easier for women to tell the stories of their lives, in ways that makes them happier, more creative, more joyful, and more fulfilled. My goal is to provide a framework for women to continue becoming the best versions of their creative storytelling selves.
What advice do you have to other women who are thinking of starting their own businesses?
Getting to know others in your field or perspective field and reach out to them. So many travel photographers have been more than willing to chat about their humble beginnings all the way up to their work in National Geographic. Be with those who inspire you to pursue your dreams, whether that’s an artist you admire or a neighbor who’s always been supportive.
What’s helped me is removing the ‘self’ from my work. To me, it’s not about me, it’s about whoever or whatever I’m shooting. Putting the subject first and leaving your ego or fears aside is very freeing and lets you open up and get more daring in your photography. Whether that involves climbing a tree to get a new angle, or getting down in the mud for the perfect shot, it’s not about you, it’s about the image!
I’d encourage those who are on the edge about getting out there and making their crafting or photography their full-time (or even part-time) passion career to take that first step, no matter how scary it may seem. The second step is much easier
What kind of camera(s) do you own and what role does it play in your life?
I primarily use my first camera, a Nikon D5300, but have been diving back into “old school” photography with a Yashica 35mm camera, popular in the 1970s. My camera goes with me everywhere. I learned the hard way that, whenever you don’t have your camera with you, that’s when the PERFECT moment will present itself. In a large way, it’s a part of me as much as a signature hat or fragrance – ever present. With the Bluebird Chic scarf strap, I no longer am that person with the neon sign of NIKON around their necks and I find that that simple change has made me be seen as a more serious photographer, as well as, in general more able to blend in and be more fashionable around the world! Italian women were always asking about it!
How has your photography evolved over the years?
I’ve found that, after getting comfortable with a DSLR camera, I wanted to go back and explore analog/film cameras again. This camera seen in the photos with the gorgeous scarf strap was my mother’s, and still works GREAT! Especially in an outdoor setting with natural light, it produces some incredible images that you have to wait for to see. No instant gratification here! I think that patience and being able to adapt more readily is something that comes with honing ones art and feeling more comfortable knowing what you’re doing is true to YOU, not emulating a style of someone else’s, which is nice to see.
Being able to work with other photographers around the world, learn from them, and teach them my own tricks is also a wonderful part of growing and being more active in photography.
What’s your favorite thing about your bluebird chic strap?
This forest-themed pine strap jumped out at me right away as being perfect for all the outdoor adventure shoots we have! So much of what my photography has evolved into is nature photography and, especially, micro nature! I’m outdoors several times a week and I love that this style reflects my love of trees and the outdoors, as well as helps me blend in amongst Washington’s lush greenery.
The feel of the fabric, the length of the strap, as well as the width. I end up using the strap as a shoulder wrap so frequently! Also, being able to wear it across my body takes a lot of strain off my neck and makes photoshoots much more comfortable.
Monika’s ambassador pick, the all-new “Evening Evergreen,” will be in shops soon!
Thanks for sharing with us today Monika and for supporting the bluebird chic brand!