This week’s ambassador spotlight shines a light on Monika Hanley of Internationelle. Read on to find out more about Monika, see some of her work, and which bluebird chic strap is her personal favorite! (For this week, her pick will be available at a discounted rate in the shop.)
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 made you decide to pursue photography?
Travel writing and photography go hand in hand, as pictures can show so much more than words. After traveling through Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railroad to help document villages where those who had been deported to Siberia still live, I found my calling. Having worked as a journalist for several years prior, the idea of combining journalism and writing with photography in little known or obscure places was born.
Internationelle was formed after feeling like there was too much generic and mainstream travel writing and photography out there, and we wanted to mix things up and present parts and people of the world most hadn’t heard of or experienced.
How has your travel photography evolved over the years?
Going from traveling for fun and freelance writing/photography ten years ago to developing our own community of like-minded people to share their images and experiences has been a big leap!
In the beginning, the focus was more on food, landscape, and nature travel photography, and has evolved more to incorporate people and animal photography as skills have progressed.
What is the best part of being a travel photographer?
The ability to do what I love and be able to give back is the best part. Since one of the missions of our business is to bring awareness to human trafficking (a cause close to our hearts and ties in perfectly with travel photography/writing), being able to travel the world with my work and help out a cause at the same time is incredibly rewarding and freeing.
What advice do you have to other women who are thinking of starting their own businesses?
Patience is key. Know that your business won’t be perfect and it may evolve in ways you hadn’t anticipated. Much like a child, once the idea is out in the world, it becomes its own entity, changing and growing in unimaginable ways. Being adaptable and open to listening to other people’s experiences is one of the best ways to succeed. Not everyone’s path is the same, but everyone has learned something along the way that you can add to your business tool box!
Which of your business achievements are you most proud of and why?
There is that saying “It’s not personal, it’s business”, but to me, often those two lines blur. While the feeling of seeing your work in print in a magazine, being able to hold tangible evidence of your work is amazing, it’s just as wonderful of a feeling to be able to take a photo of someone and show them their true beauty, as the world sees them.
Being able to give the gift of someone’s first photograph is also an incredibly rewarding feeling!
What’s your favorite thing about your bluebird chic strap?
I’ve got the beautiful Chic Traveler in blush. First of all, pink and peach hues are my favorite, and second, as a travel photographer, it was a perfect fit. There are world landmarks in gold on this gorgeous fabric, reminding me of where I’ve been and showing me where I’ve yet to go!
The versatility of the strap is what I love most though. I’ve used it in ways I hadn’t even thought of. So far, it’s not only been a comfortable camera strap, it’s acted as a shoulder covering for hot and sunny days at the beach, head covering for going into churches, and I’ve even used it in place of a regular scarf when photographing in cooler high altitudes!
This week save 20% on Monika’s ambassador pick! Offer ends 07/30/17.
Thanks for sharing with us today Monika and for supporting the bluebird chic brand!