That exact instant when a picture makes you feel like you are present in the moment can be magical. When you can almost smell the fresh fruit and taste the sweetness of the strawberries because the picture captures the scene and gives you the the feeling of being there: of being able to see, feel and smell the same as the photographer. It is not without reason that it is often said that a picture speaks a thousand words.
By: Maria Jin Hee Winberg
When I get off the train in Malmö, Sweden, I get a warm welcome from the talented Instagrammer Louie Bastien. With over 28K followers on Instagram, she has proven that she is one of the people that has the art of taking such great photos that her followers feel like they are there too. Through use of light and framings she invites her followers into the small stories of her everyday life, and on this sunny day I am on a mission to get to know more about this talented young woman.
As a child Louie moved around a lot but she predominantly grew up in London. Growing up in a city with roughly 7.5 million residents coming from a great diversity of cultures and backgrounds sparked in Louie an early interest in travel and the Arts. As she describes her fascination of the city: “I can still completely lose myself within either of these entities”.
For Louie a truly contented life makes her happy – a life that is filled with proactive steps to make each one of her ambitions a reality and to enjoy the journey of getting there by doing what she loves the most. The courage she has to take these proactive steps is reflected in how she lives and the choices she and her husband make. While the diversity of London formed her perspective of life, Louie and her husband made a choice to move from London last year in pursuit of a better work life balance. As Scandinavia is well known for this, they started exploring the Nordic countries. They started in Copenhagen and as their work progressed new opportunities presented themselves in Malmö. They are currently exploring Swedish culture, which they are both keen to get to know better.
Happiness is an ongoing theme when you meet Louie. Being in her presence envelops you in a happy and inspiring atmosphere – even her e-mail address reflects happiness. That may sound odd, but when you send an e-mail to Louie, you have to send it to email@example.com and it is the name yellowtale that conjures up this sense of happiness. As Louie explains, the name is a little play on words as her favourite fish is a Yellowtail. In her e-mail address the combination of the words: yellow and tale – referring to her experiences which she will share on her website through photographs and articles – suggest happiness.
But how did it all start? That is one of the questions that keeps popping into my head. When Louie answers my questions it is clear that it all comes down to one keyword: passion! Three years ago Louie decided to open her, then private, Instagram account where she only used as a filter for her photos. She then slowly started to follow inspirational accounts which led her to the decision to share her own photos with the online community. The decision to open her profile to the public was based on the joy of sharing photos and with a desire to be honest about her passion – by doing so she was convinced her passion would shine through.
When you look at @Louie_Bastien on Instagram, you will soon realise that she is striving to give you the perfect picture – the picture that is understood in seconds – and as she describes the perfect picture: “Whether it’s to depict a main figure or a message, the objective is clear but still holds enough detail to retain the gaze.” Another thing you will notice when you visit Louie’s Instagram is that everything is carefully selected: during our talk, it becomes clear that all of her posts need to have the same level of standard. Louie truly enjoys sharing her experiences with her followers, which for her includes an innate level of responsibility to maintain authenticity and accuracy.
It is clear that Louie’s passion has become her living. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day and getting there has taken time. Years of building trust within the Instagram community and continuing to support one another in their sphere of work has built a strong relationship between her and other influencers at Instagram. Finally, this is beginning to pay off. For a while she’s been toying with the idea of starting a blog, and has finally decided to launch her own website which will build on the images and message she portrays on her Instagram account. This is the place where she will share the recipes for the food posts, provide more information on the beauty products she trusts and up to date information on her travel endeavours. Starting her own website is not the start of a process to distance herself from Instagram but the start of a complimentary channel by which she can continue to share her own experiences.
At Spires United we want to help people make a living of their passion in the same way as Louie has succeeded in doing. That is why I was very curious to hear her best tip for others who wish to get started living off their passion. Her top tip is to find a common ground with others and start communicating and networking with them. As Louie states: “You have to, in a way, market your work and accept that this may take time, and tenacity during times of low success is crucial.” When it specifically comes to getting started on Instagram she recommends to look at other successful accounts for inspiration and to build upon this to create something that is genuine to you. That is the only way Louie sees how it is possible to truly show creativity and as she points out: “The power of an image depicts this immediately.”
When I’m heading back by train to Copenhagen I feel inspired and encouraged. Louie is great proof of how your passion can be your living, and how it all comes down to finding the one thing you just cannot live without.