In primary school we were all assigned a pen pal from another primary school. We would write letters to this lucky dip friend describing all the important things in an eight-year-old’s life including our favourite thing to order from the tuck shop, which Baby-Sitter’s Club member we would be, and if they had heard the new Spice Girls track. This is how I would describe my relationship with today’s New Kid on the Blog, Sydney-based photographer Rachel Kara. We have never met in person, but I can tell you what HBO comedy show she is currently obsessed with (Veep), what she ate on her recent Tony Parker shoot for TDF (triangle sandwiches) and her husband’s name (Tim).
Rachel has been shooting regularly for TDF as our official Sydney photographer since the start of this year. Despite never having physically met, we email a few times every week, which is why I have dubbed her my professional work pen pal. It is not unusual for us to receive emails after shoots from the creatives we feature, raving about Rachel’s warmth, professionalism and ability to take a painless portrait. Her intuitive talent behind the lens and relaxed shooting style has resulted in some of our favourite recent shoots, featuring James Gordon, Laura Jones and Belynda Henry.
I always walk into a shoot and try let the space or person have a chance to show themselves to me, rather than the other way around’ Rachel says.
While Rachel has spent the last 18 months working full-time as a freelance photographer and shooting for Monocle, Broadsheet, Inez Daily, Universal and Sony Music and local fashion labels, her path to photography wasn’t exactly straightforward. Upon leaving high school Rachel initially enrolled into nursing. ‘I lasted nine months before I found myself routinely sitting in lectures with smuggled fashion magazines hidden in biology text books, but it wasn’t until a few eventful pracs where I passed out (!) that I decided to drop out!’ she recalls.
Rachel then moved into marketing, before realising it was actually the story-making associated with photography that piqued her interest, rather then the clothes themselves. After this epiphany, it was game on for this now 25-year-old, who bought a professional camera, enrolled into a short course at the Australian Centre for Photography, and started working as a photographer’s assistant almost immediately.
‘I recently found my primary school graduation book and apparently I knew what was up as an eleven-year-old. It listed my three dream grown up occupations as an: interior designer, pediatrician and photographer. If only I had found it sooner!’
In her downtime, Rachel enjoys shooting on film, and she considers anything and everything a worthy subject. ‘I am constantly really, really looking forward to getting back film scans from my photo lab. That feeling never gets old’ she says. Having recently returned from a sojurn in the USA, where she captured everything from waffles and fried chicken to Central Park chess games with infectious enthusiasm (check out her beautiful holiday snaps here), it’s pretty easy to see why Rachel wins so many hearts. It’s really about her outlook on the world. A sense of wide eyed wonder and optimism is evident in all that she does – at heart, she’s a free spirit. ‘I have a raging sense of adventure at the moment and I know it’s there for a reason..’ she says, with a twinkle in her eye. We’re excited to see what’s next…!