In a period of time when we're inundated with what feels like consistent bad news, we wanted to put some emphasis on the positive. This is the another instalment in "Collective Conversations," a weekly series focusing on a woman we think is awesome + what she's all about. This week we're talking to photographer + travel enthusiast Michaela Barca. A long time collaborator and friend of Collective Closets, Michaela is the lady behind the lens and plays an integral part in bringing our ideas to life. We chatted to her about family, freelancing and her traditions. 

1. Describe yourself in three words? 

Loving, caring, perfectionist.

2. What does heritage and tradition mean to you? 

My Italian heritage has undoubtedly embedded the importance of family and the significance of maintaining little traditions around family time. These may be small things, like enjoying a home cooked family meal together where we laugh and share stories from our day. I was always and still am so proud to bring friends to my family gatherings and share all the amazing food and culture that comes with an Italian family. I know that these are the little things that have made me the person I am today, so I would say that heritage and tradition mean a lot! 

3. Something that you’re passionate about? 

Photography (of course) it’s not only my job but my greatest passion!  Aside from my client work,  I’m forever camera in hand taking photos of anything and everything. Whether that be my beautiful nieces and nephew and the delicate details in everyday life or traveling around the world capturing extraordinary and inspiring surroundings. 

4. Who do you most admire? 

My family,  growing up we were a very tight knit family of 5 and not much has changed, aside from the additional members. My mum, the core of our family. Her nurturing and selfless nature inspires me everyday. My dad, the funny and relaxed one, with an ability to make every person he meets laugh. And my two sisters who are both my best friends. Creative, intelligent women who are also the best mummies, raising the greatest little humans!

5. What is a weekly/monthly/fortnightly ritual or tradition you do for yourself? 

Pre Covid, a weekly ritual was Tuesday night dinners at mum and dads with the whole fam, I miss this the most.

6. What is something you’re proud of? 

Talking about myself and articulating my work and what I do is something I have always found extremely difficult, my website bio is terrible. However, I do feel a shift in my mindset around this because I am extremely proud of how far I have come in my career and all that I have achieved. Freelance photography is a tough gig, one that I felt a lot of people rolled their eyes at and questioned if I would ever be able to support myself doing full time. I still remember the fear and doubt I felt when I decided to quit my full time retail job a few years back. It was the best thing I ever did! After a few hard years, I now say with confidence that I am a photographer with a depth of experience and I feel so incredibly lucky to be doing what I love everyday. 

7. What's something you do to be kind to yourself? 

I am slightly embarrassed to say it, but I do love to indulge and gift myself high quality things more often than not. In other words, I do love to shop. But it's not in the way of retail therapy or buying things for the sake of it. Over the last few years, I have become extremely conscious about what I buy and who I’m buying from. Buying high quality, Australian made products is something I feel very strongly about and it makes me so happy to be able to support local and ethical brands. This is why working with Collective Closets is so incredible because their values are so in line with mine. I think we can not underestimate how much of an impact a beautifully curated home space and a concise and considered wardrobe can make on our wellbeing.

8. What are some traditions that you’ve adopted from somewhere or someone else? 

Not exactly a tradition but something I am trying to adopt is my mum and my nonnis (grandparents) cooking. I love going to their houses and watching them cook, often there is no recipe to follow. It brings me great joy when I can cook dinner for my partner and I, and it tastes just like theirs! I have recently mastered my mum's lasagna. 

9. How do you align and connect with your intuition?

I think very well, in photography, intuition is everything. Sometimes things need to be moved or positioned in way for no other reason than because that is just what looks and feels right. There is no other way to explain it, but connecting with my own intuition on every job is the only way to make sure the job is done right. 

10. What's an assumption others make about you?

People always think I’m really relaxed and chilled out, especially my wedding clients. Which is good, because the last thing you want is a stressed out photographer on your wedding day. But really, I am always pretty stressed even if I don't show it. I put very big expectations on myself but the perfectionist in me wouldn't have it any other way.

11. Is there an item you would like to see from Collective Closets in the future?

Just keep doing what you’re doing ladies, love being on the journey with you! 

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