One of My Favorite Photographers- Gabi Mulder

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Emma is the editor & creator (and occasionally writer) for The Messy Heads. She enjoys yellow curry, print media, and singing to herself.

I really don’t remember how I found Gabi but I am happy that I did. I stumbled upon her glorious blog, Oak and Bone a couple years back, and it was soon bookmarked, and I was checking back every week to see if she had posted a new shoot. She scoured for girls to photograph on social media, would go pick them up for an all day shoot, and somehow by just knowing them for a few hours was able to capture their personality perfectly. I can look through her photos again and again and find something new I love about a shot.

In addition to being insanely talented- she’s also the sweetest girl ever. She works hard, stays humble, travels often, and does it all with a smile on her face and a latte in her hand. Wouldn’t we all like to be Gabi for a day? Join the conversation that we had, go give her some love on her social pages, and then put on your favorite playlist and scroll through her amazing blog.

I hope she inspires you as much as she inspires me.


All photos by Gabi

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Meet Gabi // Oak and Bone // Instagram

Three Quick Q’s-

1. Who would your celebrity parents be? 

Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi. WHO WOULD’NT WANT THAT?! 

2. Do you have a signature item that you always wear or can’t leave the house without?

My Tiffany & Co. ring that my mum bought for me when I was twelve. We bought it on a girl’s trip away to the city and it’s always remained my most treasured piece.  

3.If anyone follows any of your social media they know that you are the ultimate brunch guru, so what makes the perfect Sunday brunch?

I take on the “brunch guru” title with honor haha. The perfect Sunday brunch consists of great company, beautiful morning light, a colorful menu, copious amounts of coffee, and no time schedule. I like brunches to run on for a few good hours at least. Brunch generally turns into “oh crap the suns going down.” 

img_6801-2Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetNow lets dive right in..

You seem like the expert on tracking down people to shoot with, a lot of them it is the first time you are ever hanging out with them. How does this new friendship translate into your film roll & do you have any good tips for meeting people from the internet in real life?

Always start off the first interaction with a  hug! This definitely breaks the ice and establishes a nice comfortable environment. Everyone I’ve ever shot with, we’ve always gotten on so well. I think it’s about asking questions and being genuinely interested in the other person, that way it’s easy to establish a lovely friendship. 

I think how the new friendship translates into the camera roll is that often I’ll get photographs of the model laughing, which is usually due to me making a fool of myself- they’re surprised at what I’m like in a work environment. It’s always fun. As long as the model and I are having fun, I know the end shoot product will be great.

gtttrrSpeaking of people you have worked with, a lot of the models you shot with early on like Shelby or Lydia have signed to various agencies and been very successful. what do you think “new” photographers and the models learn from each other?

I love when new photographers and models work together at a young age, I think you’re not afraid to do whatever you want and I feel like that’s what the industry is really missing. You’re not as influenced by the industry to create a certain type of product, so you do your complete own thing. Plus, it’s such a wonderful moment getting back together later in life with the people you worked with early on, and seeing how everyone’s evolved. It’s amazing to catch up with girls like Lydia and Shelby and see how far we’ve all come and how lovely it is that we’ve been a part of each other’s journeys. 

img_0200You too have achieved a lot, congrats on Topshop Aus, i-D magazine, and the latest Gabrielle Brown X Fred Hates Fashion for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. How does each new project present new challenges & new learning opportunities?

Ever since I’ve moved from Byron Bay to Melbourne, the type of work I’ve had access to creating has been entirely different from before. Without the white sandy beaches, constant sunshine and summery vibes all year round, I’ve had to recreate a new aesthetic for myself. With this did come many challenges, as I was so attached to the genre of work I’d been creating previously. Doing shoots for brands like Topshop and i-D magazine, as well as studio shoots for Melbourne Fashion Week, really did offer me something very different to the things I’d been doing before, and they were quite challenging at times. Shooting in a professional studio was total foreign territory for me. But it was great! I’m enjoying the process of growing. It’s not always easy, but you’ve just got to enjoy the struggle y’know? 

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Im really interested in the relations between a female photographer and a female model, because those photos have such a different vibe than if there was a male photographer. What advantages does a girl power model/photographer pairing have & why do you think this dynamic works so well for you?

I think women working with women is so beautiful because we see the female form in a different light to males. It would be wrong of me to say that males sexualize women a lot, because I think women do sexualize women as well, but it’s just in a different way. I think ours is more about appreciation, rather than desire. I think for a female model there is a real sense of comfort working with a female photographer, so this comes through in the images, giving the images a calm, and relaxed vibe which I love. 

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What i really love about your work is that no matter what you are shooting, you manage to make the moment candid and natural. While a lot of photography feels really artificially posed; I really believe the story you are telling. What do you credit this to?

That is such a beautiful thing to hear! Thank you! I think it all comes down to capturing the little moments, the casual magic of everyday. I think it’s these little things like a smirk, a burst of laughter, the model twirling through a field, that give the images a sense of life and energy. One thing I always say to my models before we begin shooting is that “I want as much movement in these shots as you can give me” so that encourages them to move naturally, rather than stand statically. Plus I always like my shoot environments to be very chilled out, so we’re really just capturing the vibe of the day. 

img_8273-16c038311-r3-05-13a1When I travel I love feeling like a local and diving into the scene, restaurants, art, everything is so new, You have been quite a few places (UK, Paris, Italy, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, France, Korea, Bali, Australia… did i miss any!!?) , how does each place influence your photography and what are some things you have learned from the many countries you have been to

Travel is no doubt my number one love. I feel like I’m in my prime when I’m travelling somewhere new. Travel influences my creativity hugely as I’m definitely the type of photographer where new inspiration is needed very often. I notice my work change depending on where I am, which I love. And it also enables me to work with so many fresh faces from all over the country and globe which makes my work so incredibly enjoyable. 

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& I saw you just got your first apartment! Congrats! How did you manage to make it feel like home? 

I live with two of the most amazing housemates imaginable, so living with them has been an absolute treat! To make it my own, I’ve filled my spaces with plants, flowers, posters and the biggest plush white bed imaginable.

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I think a lot of people want to get started with photography but think they have to have the right camera, the right computer, and the right editing software before they ever start taking photos. Beyond the material things, what do you think REALLY makes a good photographer. 

What makes a good photographer? My number one tip is to follow your creative instinct entirely. If you’re not feeling a “look” then change it so you do really like it, photograph the things you love (whether that be people, landscapes, animals, oceans etc), and always try and remain true to your style and not be too influenced by the creative trends at the time. If you are doing it the way someone else is, you are already doing it wrong.

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Thank you Gabi for chatting with me & providing me endless inspiration. Make sure to check out Oak & Bone, & follow her on instagram. Endless love for this Aussie babe!

staymessy

9 Comments

  1. Erica MacLaren says

    Hi Emma, I saw your post and snapchat the other night about the movie Cowspiracy and how it’s a must watch, so my friend and I decided to watch it today. So many times throughout the movie we had to rewind to make sure we were hearing everything right. I learned so much while watching and am so glad I watched it. It was such an eye opener to what’s really happening. I decided to try my hardest to become vegan and I’m so excited. I just want to say thank you for recommending this movie. It was absolutely amazing. 🙂 Love from Seattle, Erica MacLaren

    >

  2. Anonymous says

    I’ve always wanted to be a photographer so this is really incredible!! Thank you guys so much this really inspired me ❥

  3. Anonymous says

    ap studio art portfolio inspo right here. am i right ap art kids?!?!?! and like may i please take gab to hc?

  4. Anonymous says

    Love it! You should do a future post on how to eat vegan when traveling because I know it can be hard, and Emma seems to travel a lot 🙂

  5. Hi Emma! Thank you so much for sharing this! This is like really inspirational. I’ve been wanting to make my own magazine but really have no idea how. lol.
    Either way congratulations! I really really loved your last issue. It really helped me a lot as weird as that may sound. And I’m totally looking forward to your new magazine!

    Never stop spreading joy 😘

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