In the fifteenth of our special features celebrating our favourite Instagram photographers with links with our city, we feature travel blogger Amy aka Toothbrush Travels @im_amym.
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Of course! Hi, Hello. I’m Amy and I’m the voice and the face behind Toothbrush Travels. I’m a gin-loving twenty-something who eats like I’m about to hibernate, loves to travel and laughs at my own jokes more than I should ever publically admit.
Can you tell me more about your photographic experience; is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby that you’ve developed?
Photography is something that I enjoyed looking at growing up, but never that I started taking photos as a way to remember the differences in the details. I was (ashamedly) a ‘point, shoot and hope for the best’ type of person until this one moment completely changed the way I felt about photography. I was riding through Koh Lanta Noi on a scooter with S, on these roads which nature had begun the process of reclaiming when we spotted this wooden shack built over the water.
It was a simple structure built to meet a tree with a jetty that hovered above the shallows and was created out of odd bits of scrap wood, fallen branches and sliced tyres. It truly was as rustic as they come but it was completely and utterly charming. After taking in the views I knew that I wanted an image to remember it by (I mean it didn’t look like the safest of structures so who knew how long it would be there for!).
I did my typical “point, shoot and hope for the best thing” but I wasn’t happy with the image I had taken because what I saw on the screen didn’t reflect the charm I saw in person. So I started playing with the camera settings (which I had zero clue about), moving around and climbing on different objects to get different angles. It must have taken about 10 attempts but eventually I managed to capture an image that demonstrated just how beautiful the view in front of me was and the rest as they say, is history because ever since then I haven’t been able to stop snapping!
Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?
My weapon of choice for all things blog related is my Canon 70d, but truth be told it can be a bit bulky to carry around at times and so my Instagram photos are usually made up of anything I have to hand at the time. Sometimes it’s my Canon, sometimes it’s my GoPro and sometimes it’s mine or even a friend’s phone.
Whether it’s being amongst the history of Portsmouth dockyard or wiggling your toes in the soft sands of West Wittering beach it’s hard to tire of being along the coast.
Are there any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?
Photographers have this unique ability where they can tell an entire story with a single image and I’m never going to be able to do that because to be honest I love words too much to stop using them and also I’m a little bit lazy. So whilst I’d like to be influenced I prefer to watch people do their thing and there are some incredible people out there who are doing truly unique things with their cameras and Instagram is one of the best places to find them. So if you’re looking for suggestions on people to check out then pop the kettle on and get comfortable because I’ve got more than a few.
If global escapades are your thing then @gypsea_lust is the queen of wanderlust. @mattjkomo makes the most incredible timelapse videos. As we all know dogs are pretty much life, and underwater dogs (which are every bit as fabulous as they sound) are even better so @sethcasteel is the person to follow for that, and if you’re looking for landmarks with a unique twist then @paperboyo has a perspective different to any other.
Exploring the theme of local, the south coast has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph?
I think moody skies, the type you get right before a storm are the most dramatically beautiful to shoot but the truth is that I hate being cold and whilst I’d love to be out in the action capturing the skies in all of their glory, I blog about the things I do and the truth is that I’m not the type of person to chase a storm for a photo because I’d much rather be inside with a hot chocolate and a hot water bottle. So I’d have to say warmer climates are my definitely my favourite to shoot in!
The south coast has some undoubtedly beautiful places, whether you want to capture city, coast or countryside. I won’t list my personal favourites because they’re the places I go when I need to gather my thoughts and it’s nice to have some places for myself, but what I will say is that there’s something incredibly therapeutic about being beside the sea. Whether it’s being amongst the history of Portsmouth dockyard or wiggling your toes in the soft sands of West Wittering beach it’s hard to tire of being along the coast.
What led you to create Toothbrush Travels and where did the name come from?
I adore storytelling and getting people out exploring, whether it’s ten miles from home or ten thousand, so starting a blog felt like a natural progression. But it wasn’t until I moved abroad that I felt like I had anything to write about and so one quiet afternoon I took the plunge, started tapping away and I haven’t stopped since! My blog name, however? Well that process was considerably harder and it took me what felt like forever to decide upon a name. It turns out that pretty much every cool name you can think of is already taken, especially when it comes to travel blogs! In the end I had a brainstorming session and decided that I wanted a name which was inclusive of local areas as well as those abroad and as some of my best memories were where I’d just grabbed my toothbrush and a change of clothes and gone, so it felt like it fit. It took me a few months to get used to but now I absolutely adore the name and what it represents.
Due to the nature of Toothbrush Travels you share a lot of your personal life with your followers, many of whom are strangers. Are there some things that you keep private or are you open to sharing everything?
It sounds completely contradictory to say that you’re a private person when you share your life with people on the Internet but the truth is that Toothbrush Travels is just a segment of my life and there are many things that I keep private. The internet is prominent in everybody’s life nowadays, but despite the fact that Google can answer life’s mysteries in just a few clicks, I grew up in the “stranger danger” generation and as a result I’m ever aware of who could be on the other side of the screen, so there are certain details you’ll never find online.
Being a Portsmouth and Southsea based website when are we going to see you take the short trip west to check out a few of our favourite sites?
Believe it or not I’m in the Portsmouth/Southsea area almost every two weeks I’ve just never gotten around to blogging about it *hides*. I realise that makes me a terrible blogger but usually I’m in Portsmouth to meet friends and I get so swept up in a moment (or a glass of gin) that I don’t want to document our adventures. I’ve actually got plans to rectify this over the next few months, so hit me up with your favourite local spots and I’ll be sure to check them out!
Travelling is clearly a big part of your life so what are your 2017 plans?
2017 is going to be big one for me as I’m opening my very own e-commerce store on the 3rd of May. I haven’t released much information about what the store will have in it yet because surprises are awesome, but everything in the store will be travel-related and will feature my own designs! The rest of 2017? I’m not really sure. Travel is a huge part of my life and there are so many places that I want to see, and I’m hoping to visit a few more this year but I’m not much of a planner so which countries I end up in remains to be seen!
If you would like to get involved or know of a photographer that you think should be on our radar then please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.