Victoria Baker came to Australia on a backpacking trip in 2009, met her Aussie husband, a Bridgetown local, during her travels and the rest is history. “I remember arriving in Bridgetown, coming essentially straight from my life in London, and it definitely took me a little while to adjust to the slower pace of life!” In the UK, Victoria had completed her university degree in Photography, and spent the early portion of her career doing editorial shoots in London for well-respected publications like The Face and The Sunday Times as well as large corporate advertising clients like M & C Saatchi. “It was fantastic exposure and working with such well-known names pushed me to define my own artistic identity. They really want their photographers to have a brand, as it were. So holding exhibitions of my work became an important part of that process for me.”
When you look at Victoria’s photos, they speak volumes. She has that rare instinct to know the right moment to capture. Her photographs are revelations, to the subjects, to the viewers. They are intensely beautiful and spontaneous, which is what makes them so interesting. Whether she is shooting a portrait or wedding, she manages to perfectly capture the feeling of each moment.
Emilie Abbiss describes herself as “globally schizophrenic”. Born in the US to an Aussie father and Ecuadorian mother, she grew up bouncing between those countries until her parents relocated to a small village in the French Alps, not far from Geneva, Switzerland. “The great thing about growing up in an international family is that you learn to fit in anywhere- you become a bit of a cultural chameleon, your world view being shaped by so many different places and mentalities… And it’s a great thing, especially if you are inclined to write. ” After years spent working as a freelance journalist in the US, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, Emilie found herself on a completely alternate path, working as a Yoga teacher and therapist in post-conflict situations. “I began to practice Yoga in my teens and pursued my teaching credentials in my twenties, but it wasn’t until I was working as a journalist that I witnessed the possibilities of using Yoga as a therapy for people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” She was working in that capacity when she met her husband, Danny, on a blind date during one of her short trips home to her family’s farm in Australia. “I thought it was a fling!” She laughs. “But once I was back in Central Africa working again, I realised that it was, in fact, quite a bit more…” Fast forward 7 years, and these days Emilie, Danny, and their identical twins boys live on her family’s farm just outside of Bridgetown. “It is just the most wonderful place to grow up,” she explains, “I always dreamed of growing up on a farm, surrounded by animals and natural beauty, and to be able to give that to our boys is such a gift.” As for her work, these days Emilie runs a Yoga and wellbeing business from the farm and pursues her writing on the side. “I still love writing, whether it’s articles, fiction or poetry; and I try to incorporate that creativity into my work across the board- we run retreats and various events from our venue, The Shed, which allows me to sort of merge all these worlds that I love.”
Collaboratively launching Fantail Press is an opportunity to revisit her journalistic work and something that Emilie is very excited about, “Victoria, Jeff and I had so much fun working together on “The Bridgetown”, I think we’re a good team. The chance to expand our product to other towns, other markets, to tell those stories and see the characters and places come to life on the page, it’s really rewarding.”