After a hot summer full of travels, seeing beautiful places and meeting amazing people, we are very happy to share this series of images, taken on a glorious day at Lake Como, Italy, by Sydney-based photographer Akila Berjaoui. Her work is very much a reflection of how she feels whenever she takes the photographs. As she states it herself: “it’s a visual diary of my ups and downs.” When the photographer chooses location, subject matter and model, her personal sentiment always shows one way or the other. Her main inspiration is her motherland Australia as are travel and nature. And bringing these three elements together; the ocean and the beach are a often returning element in her photography, providing the sunny backdrop for her female models to be portrayed on. A constant in the work is the deep intimacy showing in her photographs, exposing the models’ vulnerability in a graceful fashion. With her photography Akila Berjaoui doesn’t want to entertain or be entertained. She wants to provoke and be provoked; seeing her photographs as a form of personal expression. The photographs of Berjaoui, although often only characterized by it’s sensual nature, can be seen as the expression of Berjaoui’s emotion: and therefore as an art form. An interesting evolution, as photography was something she stumbled upon as a teenager at school.
It really was one of the only subjects I properly aced. I never pursued it though. Back then it wasn’t really an option, or not a serious one anyway. It was also a very male-dominated field. I was one of only four girls in my class if I recall correctly. I then picked up a camera in my twenties while I was working as a stylist and one thing led to another. It all unfolded very organically. I can’t imagine my life without my camera.
When Berjaoui shoots a model it has become very important that she connects with her model, which shows in her free-spirited and fearless pictures, showing a lot of personality. The necessary commercial work Berjaoui does lacks the usual feeling of freedom, but creates the conditions for her autonomous work. This contradiction is a matter Akila finds herself struggling with.
I find the more and more that I shoot I can only really shoot women that I love and admire. These people more often than not are friends of mine, who may or may not work within the industry. These are women whom I enjoy creating and hanging out with. And they are constantly inspiring and surprising me with their own talents. I find it very difficult to shoot someone I dont have some form of connection with. I really struggle with this. I have to somehow disconnect from this emotion.
We are great admires of the free-spirited work of Berjaoui and hope she will continue shooting beautiful intimate portraits on the beaches of Australia and around the world.
For more information see her website here.