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Behind the Lens—Rachel Frankenbach

At 25 years old, Rachel Frankenbach decided that it was time for her to pack her bags and leave Germany in search of new adventures. Leaving with her digital camera and an open mind, she moved to Australia and stopped along the way to places such Indonesia and India. Even if photography was already part of her life at that time and her camera ready to be used, Rachel didn’t feel like shooting—she was living in the now. As she stated, “I just took two years for myself, travelling, absorbing everything in and enjoying being with the ocean constantly.” In a world where the need of showcasing our life online is stronger than ever, it’s fascinating to see Rachel travelling around without the need of capturing any kind of physical memories. That simple detail is probably part of the reason why her work fascinates us as much as it does.

Only shooting with film cameras, Rachel mostly try to showcase moments at sea during stormy days as well as the people around her. Not feeling inspired during sunny days, she would grab her surfboard to go surf instead of shooting. But wait until the sky is dark and the weather is stormy, Rachel will be in the water, trying to capture the emotion of the moment. She knows what she wants and she knows what she doesn’t, and when she told me that she wasn’t interested in shooting John John Florence doing an air or any kind of landscapes, I instantly knew that shooting for her wasn’t for the fame or for other people to enjoy; it was for her.

“I don’t think I want to work as a photographer. I don’t want to be contracted to shoot stuff that I don’t like. I am okay with working to make money to buy film and then travelling to shoot. If someone ends up liking my photos and wants to buy it, it’s great, and if no one does, it’s okay too,” she then peacefully added.

Her mentality towards photography is rare and I couldn’t agree more with her point of view. Once money comes into the game, everything is different. Your creativity and inspiration can end up being crushed under the pressure of making money and to me, that’s a terrible shame. Rachel was right: “you can’t expect or decide that you want to do art just to make money. You have to put passion into it because you love doing it.”

While recounting stories of her and her dad driving out of their landlocked hometown to go windsurfing, Rachel remembers exactly how it felt to see the ocean and you could see the sparks in her eyes while talking about it. This passion of hers for the sea and the sport of surfing isn’t something new and it was only a matter of time until she found her real home: Australia.

After studying and surfing some time in Gold Coast, Australia, Rachel decided it was time for her to move again and explore something new. Now living in Sydney, Rachel is waiting to see what the city has to give her in terms of creativity and inspiration.

Easy going and plan free, we don’t exactly know what will come next for Rachel. Her current goal would be to be part of a group exhibition to showcase her photos somewhere in Sydney or in Gold Coast in the next year or so. One of her dreams for the future would be to open an art gallery to showcase all these talented people that don’t know how to get the visibility they need for their art: a place where people could easily come to work and get inspired. Many options exist for Rachel and we’re not worried about the path she will take—she just needs to settle somewhere in order to do it. But not now; now is the time to live and to our own pleasure, shoot more.


This interview is part of our series “The Digital Return” – a series of articles that present each contributor of our soon to be released digital magazine. 

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