Amelia Le Brun
Amelia Le Brun is in this moment of time, a creative who works as a freelance photographer and content writer. She was born in Germany, raised in Jamaica and now living in the UK traveling around in Europe in her yellow Volkswagen bus
I first started this idea in a moment of time when I felt pretty uninspired of everyday life and the saturation of being part of Instagram. I needed a new creative outlet.
I’ve been inspired of Amelia’s work for a long time and we had talked over Instagram a couple of times, but in a chatroom one hardly asks “what’s the meaning of life” type of questions. So I felt the need to get a deeper understanding of her as a person and the complexity of what she’s doing as an artist. So I started writing these interviews, and it was no brainer that she were going to be the first.
I hope this type of “talks” can help people get inspired, not just by the beautiful picture shown on your phone but also the artists approach on life and creativity. To get some questions answered one wants to know but rarely asks. To get to know the layers of the creators and their true faces, behind that screen. To learn from them. To know that not everything is a like a beautiful Instagram post, not close. Real life is different. Struggles. Hardship. Sunlight and beauty at the same time.
There is so many side to a person. I understand and hope you who read this, understands that this is merely a brush on the surface.
With the most humble voice I introduce to you a wonderful human being and creative.
Amelia Le Brun
I asked Amelia to choose a soundtrack, for setting the mode to this interview, so please before you start reading, turn on the sounds of:
Top of the world - Dixie Chicks
You seem to have an interesting background, born in Germany and raised in Jamaica? How was that like?
What’s your story?
- I was blessed to grow up and live in some incredible locations. We moved house every four years as my Father was in the Army. Childhood was a blur of excitement, airplanes, adventures and family time, I had three siblings, so wherever we lived we always had friends to explore with.
The highlight of growing up was living in Jamaica, we had a big Landrover Defender and spent our days exploring the coast and camping out at our favourite Lighthouse and volunteering downtown at the local Orphanage. Growing up across such diverse and beautiful countries taught me to always be kind, to help others wherever possible and to never stop exploring.
When did you get into photography?
- I have loved taking photos for as long as I can remember, I started drawing from a really young age and was given my first film camera in Jamaica. I spent so much film documenting everything around me, stray dogs, beach campouts and local people. I still love film and yearn to go back to a simpler time.
How does a “regular” day for Amelia looks like?
- I’m not so sure what ‘regular’ is to be honest. A lot of days I am doing boring things, sending emails, editing photos and planning trips. I also live mainly out of my van, which is nice because I can be travelling constantly. I have been focusing on the UK over the last year, meeting other photographers and people who love exploring this stunning Island.
Why do you make images?
What is it about photography that makes you dedicate big parts of your life to create?
- I think it stems from a desire to hold on to the past. I’ve always had a bad memory and the idea of forgetting the places I have been is heartbreaking. I invest so much emotion into my images and looking back on them can take me straight to the moment I pressed the shutter.
I find creating images is a great outlet for my feelings, I have a real desire to evoke my emotions in the people who view the photos I take and story telling is something I will always strive to do through my work.
Do you take any days of from working? How do you balance work with “playtime” or are they related?
- The line between work and playtime is totally blurred for me, and it’s not really a healthy way to live. I find switching off my brain really hard work, and try to put my phone away for a certain amount of time each day and truly embrace the time I spend with my family and friends and not think too much about work.
What’s the up’s and down’s about being a freelance photographer?
- The best thing is for sure being able to work for myself, its nice to have the freedom to be able to travel whenever and wherever I like and still be able to work
The down side is I am always working, I can’t remember the last time I went away and didn’t take photos, or the last day I spent not worrying about work or the next job. Its’ a very tough and uncertain career choice, full of ups and downs but I wouldn’t do anything else for the moment.
And what has the biggest challenge being thus far?
- Having my work undervalued. Its’ a huge issue with the rise of phone cameras and social media, so many young creators are willing to work for product and brands are starting to realise they don’t need to pay creators if they can give them stuff. As for social media, a posts number of likes does not always equate to the quality of the image. That bugs me.
You’re yellow van is so so cute! How did you end up choosing an old Volkswagen bus to marry?
- Haha she’s a good old gal, much more reliable than she used to be. I have done extensive work on her, a new engine and a whole load of welding so she now runs beautifully and is rock solid. Just need to beautify her a bit. I have always been fascinated by the classic VW look and after my old one broke down badly I vowed that I wouldn’t go back for another, but as time as passed I realised that no other van would do, so back to the VW’s it would be.
Do you live in the van all year around? Or is it mostly for trips?
- At the minute I’m living in it pretty much full time, in between staying with friends and occasionally my family. I will probably spend more time in an actual house over the Winter before heading back into her when she’s insulated and has more than just a bed in her.
What lessons has this road you’ve chosen taught you so far?
- Im learning everyday, I am learning that I need to be stronger, to believe in myself more and never to give up. It’s not a straight road, it’s bumpy and difficult and a constant challenge, I have wanted to turn back many times. I am also trying to remind myself that I am good enough. Self confidence is huge as a freelancer
What makes you go up in the morning?
- Some mornings I wake up and I can’t find a single reason to even move, let alone face the world. I am more than happy to be open about my struggles with mental illness. As someone who suffers with depression being freelance is harder for me than for most. I crave routine and security, two things freelance life just don’t provide.
More often than not its the simpler things that get me out of bed, a fresh cup of coffee or Pig wanting a walk. However, on the good days, I am up out shooing sunrise, running along the beach with Pig, hanging out with friends or just an overwhelming desire to see the Lords creation as a new day dawns.
What’s your take on Social media as a photographer?
- Social media has been a great tool for me, its helped me expand my client reach, meet some incredible people and take some wicked trips. But its also really damaging, I often find myself comparing myself to other photographers and thinking they must be living the perfect life. It’s a very unrealistic display of the everyday . Overall I’m a fan, but I sure am glad I grew up climbing trees and playing outside without the pressure of social media.
Who/what is your biggest inspiration for creativity?
Do you ever deal with motivation struggles and, if so, how?
- I have quite a few varied inspirations photographically. Less of the old classics and more young creatives whose work feels so much more accessible. A few favourites are; Amy Robinson (@amyjrobinson_) her ability to convey emotion and a narrative through her work is exceptional. Along side Amy there is; Jack and Lauren Sutton (@jackrsutton and @laurenlsutton), Beth Squire (@beasquire) and Jenny (@otherworld.ly) there are so many more, but they are a few current favourites.
Motivational struggle is pretty constant for me. I find I deal with it by stepping back from work, taking a drive and shooting some film. It’s easy to forget that not everything is immediate, its good to slow down and think through your creative process and why you started creating in the first place. Writing down my ideas and thought process is key for me.
Do you have any advice for people out there who want to become a full-time creative?
- Being a full-time creative isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Sure it’s a load of fun, but it is also constant and hard work. There is no boss telling you what to do and when, no one but yourself pushing yourself to meet deadlines and get clients. You have to be self motivated and very keen to succeed. But if you want it, go get it. Get it with every fibre of your being and don’t give up. Also, try as hard as you can not to compare yourself to others, wit is so crushing.
Finally, any book recommendations?
Sure, I’m a sucker for a murder mystery. I am not into books that make me think too much or try and teach me anything. For me, reading is for winding down and relaxing. I love a bit of escapism.
Anything by Nevada Barr
Jilly Cooper ;)
Lee Child novels.
Big thank you to Amelia for being part of this!
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