Our HQ Muses are people in the Holistic HQ community who are brave, creative, big-hearted and inspiring. They are ambassadors for what we strive to achieve – a thriving and joyful wellness community, supporting you on the path to good health, a sustainable lifestyle and spirited, happy wellbeing.
Annette Ruzicka is a documentary and portrait photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. A love of the natural environment and the unseen or unlikely people who fight for its protection has been the initial focus of her work both in Australia and abroad.
Annette runs a portrait and corporate/lifestyle photography business including videography for individuals, small or large businesses. Annette was also a finalist for the coveted 2016 National Portraiture Prize.
1. The focus of your work via Annette Ruzicka Photography is very much on the unseen or unlikely heroes of the conservation movement, both here and abroad. How do you seek out the subject of your photography, and how do they inspire you?
As a photographer, you’re looking for the real people – the brains, brawn (for lack of a better word) or champion of the work or project – whatever the case may be. This is not always the most obvious or boisterous person, it could be the person in the background just getting on with it. The key is spending time with them, getting to know their story and quite simply, to observe.
The story often unfolds right before you. As my work has incorporated a strong focus on environmental issues, they inspire me by simply doing what they do – either off the smell of an oily rag, or in less than ideal conditions and doing it to address a major environmental problem – and for that alone they inspire me.
2. You recently were named a finalist for the 2016 National Photographic Portrait Prize – congratulations! What did this accolade mean to you?
It meant a great deal indeed. At the risk of boasting, it’s a highly coveted prize of national recognition. It’s been extremely valuable for my career and to have one your images selected, framed and in an exhibition is a wonderful feeling in the competitive world of photography. One thing photographers are is very sensitive of their work – so to have this acknowledgment was extremely gratifying.
3. Your volunteer work in Costa Rica was a pivotal experience in your life. What was so remarkable about your first trip there?
Gosh, where do I start? The natural values of the area, the amazing mass turtle nesting events (which only happen 7 places in the world), the locals who kept the work going – amidst poor socio-economic factors, and the complexities and politics of a small community, it was both fascinating and a privilege.
4. Where do you find your happy moments when your work hats are off?
Taking photos! There’s nothing more satisfying than creating an amazing image, or learning something new or finishing that mini-documentary. Being out in nature, looking up the stars until your neck hurts, bush walking and sometimes, just sitting on the couch with the husband with a big bag of popcorn watching The Walking Dead!
5. If you could travel to one special place you haven’t yet been, what would be your dream destination? Why does it capture your imagination?
I want to spend a good 6 months in both Central and Southern Latin America. After my eight weeks in Costa Rica I have developed a visceral yearning to go back. The magnificent natural values of the continent speak for themselves – the Amazon being the most obvious, and its ancient history including Machu Picchu. But it’s the wonderful people of the region, I believe, that I will above all continue to love – culturally, I feel of all the countries I have visited it’s the most aligned to who I am.
6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
When I am stressing out about something, or letting my imagination get carried away with things, it’s easy to assume the worst. I was once asked, “what evidence do you have to believe this will happen?” and the answer 9 times out of 10 is none! You can always let your insecurities and fears eat away at you, but nowadays I simply ask myself this question – I find it always stops me in my tracks and lets me just get on with it.