Renae Saxby is a travel, fashion, music and lifestyle photographer from Newcastle Australia. Renae lives more than 6 months of her life on the road and spends her time raising donations and educating the world on the poverty and devastation left behind from the 2015 Nepal earthquake. We chat to her about her first ever upcoming exhibition 'Footprints in Nepal' in honour of her late brother and best friend Daniel Saxby.
Star sign: Sagittarius
Vice: Milo mixed with condensed milk and eaten in the bath, so gross but so so good.
Favourite travel destination: I have many for so many different reasons. The place that has my heart is Nepal. The most breathtaking scenery is the Sahara. The place I find most addictive is India. Most beautiful people would be the Philippines. The craziest party is Burning Man in the USA. The place I feel best – our 500 acre family farm at Barrington.
Current playlist: I’m a vinyl girl, my grandma left me a beautiful collection.
Lifelong ambition: I’ve honestly just always wanted to travel, feel free and have unique and crazy experiences that make me feel alive. I want to photograph my way around the world, dance a lot, meet amazing people and make a positive difference in the world by helping those in need. It's all going pretty well! The thought of leaving school, getting a 9-5 job, settling down and having kids has always terrified the absolute shit out of me.
I did have three bucket list items which were to Belly Dance in the Sahara, experience Burning Man and meet Stevie Wonder. I nailed all of those last year so I need to top up the list.
Current project: My first ever exhibition which will be held in Newcastle this Friday the 14th July. The exhibition will feature, documentary style of travel portraiture from countries such as Nepal, India, Morocco, Cambodia and Sri Lanka which intimately explores the landscapes and the beauty of the people that call these culturally unique places home.
I will have prints available for purchase on the night and online, with a percentage of the sales going to 'Footprints in Nepal' which I set up in honour of my younger brother Daniel after I returned from Nepal post the 2015 earthquake. The funds raised will allow me to continue building shelters and homes and supplying blankets and food and to support the three orphaned children Alina, Alpekshya and Suraj who I provide for in remote Nepal. Many images you will see on the night are from time spent working on these projects.
How do we get involved: You can come along on the night for a beer and a boogie! The Edwards is a really cool venue and we have two live acts playing throughout the night. My images will be on display along with images and information on Footprints in Nepal.
What Camera do you use and why: Canon 5D Mark III, I’m not a techy person. I use this camera because I love the light and detail it captures but also because I can accidentally bash it into rocks while trekking or it can get dropped by village kids while they are playing with it and it still somehow survives. I pulled it out at a camera store in Sydney the other day and the guy behind the counter almost fell over because of the state it's in. It’s far from shiny and new but it’s been on a lot of adventures!
Your biggest inspiration: All of the people I meet in the world that are starving and living in total poverty who have survived tragedy and lost several people that they love but still greet you with a smile and insist on sharing the very little that they have. These people are my hero’s and truly live from a place of compassion and gratitude.
Also, my little brother Daniel and the way he lived his life has very much influenced how I live now. Anyone that met my brother would have agreed he was a free spirit and lived life his way. He loved being creative and he loved having fun. I have never wanted to live the ‘work hard, then enjoy life when your older’ way but losing him really solidified that for me. Fuck that. You don’t know what the day is going to bring and you don’t know if you will even have the privilege of growing old. I really hope I do but I’m doing the fun stuff now and I will keep on doing it right through until time is up.
Future life goals: Keep helping people and inspire others to help. Spend a good amount of time experiencing Central and South America. Continue to work with amazing musicians and festivals. Fall in love and make some babies.
Best advice to live by that you’ve been given: The two things that were drilled into us when we were little were ‘treat others as you wish to be treated’ and ‘be grateful for what you have’. It taught us to care for others, be respectful, be kind, be thankful and to be happy and appreciative. All values that have shaped the way I live.
Donations to 'Footprints in Nepal', can be made through Renae's website www.renaesaxby.com and prints are available for purchase online with worldwide shipping.
'Footprints in Nepal' will be exhibiting Friday the 14th of July 2017 at The Edwards, Newcastle 7pm
All photographs and words by Renae Saxby @renae_saxby