di Erika Scafuro
A few months ago Camilla Roses realized one of her biggest dreams: to work as a photographer and videographer in South Africa on behalf of a non-profit organization, and to be able to see animals – for which she has an unbridled love – in their natural habitat.
In her working life Camilla is a creative digital creator and in some way she makes other people’s dreams come true: as a photographer and videographer she creates content that reflects the ideas and values of people, companies or brands.
With Camilli’s Expedition, a photographic expedition that will take her to South Africa together with other enthusiasts, she participates in the dream of those who want to do a safari in Africa, receiving notions of photography, but not only. We spoke with Camilla about a lot of thing, including surfing of course!
Let’s describe Camilla Roses to someone who doesn’t know you
«Camilla Roses is the serious name. But in reality they call me Camilli. Which is kind of my social alter ego. It totally came out by accident last Summer with some friends because there’s the song A Milli by Lil Wayne that has a beat that sounds like it says ‘Camilli’. And from that moment on they started calling me Camilli. I decided to keep it as my name because when I introduced it on social they liked it and everyone started calling me that (even in my family!). Who is Camilli? an outgoing and cheerful girl, but at the same time I am very shy, I love being alone and I am also very insecure. So Camilli is really the alter ego stripped of everything. I love nature, the ocean, animals…».
When did you realize that this would become your job?
«I have always been, since I was a little girl, driven by the desire to discover new places, immortalize them in any way: usually I drew also because at the time my dad was not pleased to lend me use his camera; other times I wrote poetry…Then I went to London where I completed my studies with a degree in creative technologies that allowed me to study photography, filming, programming, visual effetcs…so a bit like I am, I really like to do everything because one thing bores me a bit. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn’t want to be in the office. My first real job in this field, as a content creator, was five years ago with a surfhouse in Spain, the Wolfhouse. They gave completely my creativity space. I was there for ten days and I created content for social media, I made a video, photos and I also took a photo that won a prize with GoPro (and they gave me a GoPro too). From that moment on I thought ‘ok, I want to do this job’. While before I wandered a bit in the dark, there I actually said to myself maybe I have the skills to do this, let’s try and so I started, slowly».
You took your first photos in the water because of your passion for surfing. How long have you been surfing and where did you learn to ride the waves?
«I got into surfing in 2011, out of pure curiosity. I had seen something on Facebook and I was fascinated. So I started to inform myself, to follow the WSL competitions, then I dedicated myself more to the theoretical part. I was still a little girl, so even though I wanted to go to a surfcamp, my parents didn’t agree. Of my friends, none of them played the sport. So I tried my first surfboard in 2012-2013, a gift from my dad, but it was a challenging board for my skills at that time. One of the first times I entered in Recco and I came out defeated because I didn’t have the teachings to deal with surfing. I was good in theory, but not in practice because no one had taught me. So I kept watching other people surf and following the pro surfers. Then I met some friends who were surfing. In 2014 I did a surftrip and there I finally learned how to surf, with the right surfboard. Only then I moved to London for 6 years and then I started surfing again since I came back to Italy. In September 2020 I resumed surfing for good and finally now I can practice it (in fact I’m leaving for Fuerteventura). Surfing is a journey, it takes time and it’s a beautiful sport for that reason too».
You work daily with social media. How much does the image we share matter?
«Everything. Unfortunately, social has the power to erase all the work part, the trouble part, the hard work behind it. Whether you’re an individual or a brand. Because we always give a finished product, a video, a beautiful photo. On social media you never expose the things that go wrong, the money you have to pay for equipment, the sacrifices you have to make to afford it…so the more you can give a truthful image, the better, because even if you try to be yourself 100%, unfortunately social media can hide that part. But this led me to think about always wanting to tell it like it is. Obviously in the videos I’m Camilli smiling, and even if I’m not 365 days a year like that, it’s a real part of my character. The authenticity of the social character is what people need to hold on to».
What is creativity to you?
«I do, I call myself creative, but sometimes I see people who are really creative. I think creativity is in a lot of little things. I also see this in my parents or my sister, who have completely different jobs than me, but when I share ideas with them they have flashes of genius. For me creativity is something that everyone has, it’s bad when people call themselves not creative because in my opinion everyone in their own way is creative. It’s what makes you feel good with the world, in the moment of creativity I feel a bit unique, it’s a transformation of reality as you like it because in the end it’s your idea, something that makes you feel good».
What is/are the must-have values that a content creator must have?
«Authenticity. Originality. It’s hard to find new ideas, especially from social media, but originality is what sets you apart and goes hand in hand with authenticity. A content creator must have respect for his own and others’ work, with the advancement of collaborations many people don’t understand that that of a content creator is a long path, which takes time. And you don’t make a leap in time if you sell out, work for free, for things that you don’t need just because being a content creator is seen as an achievement, a social status. Many people devalue themselves and in this way they ruin their own work and the work of others».
From December 30 to January 8 you are planning a photo expedition to South Africa, in which 8 people will participate. South Africa is one of the most amazing surfing destinations. Will you be carving out some time to ride the South African waves?
«Camilli’s Expedition is a photography expedition held in a private wildlife park, run in part by this African wildlife conservation charity called VetPaw. In April 2021 I worked for them as a photographer and videographer. I have this unbridled love for animals and it was one of my biggest dreams since I was a little girl to be able to go to Africa, see them in their natural habitat, and collaborate with a good cause, which is to help associations through my work to expand this message around the world. So I came up with this idea of taking people who want to go on safari in Africa, with a photography workshop attached, and in addition to gaining experience with a beautiful trip, the money raised will be reinvested to fund the association’s charitable initiatives. When I proposed it to the company, they were very happy. There are 8 places and I will probably open it up to foreign people as well. We will learn a lot about the wildlife park, how they work, the conservation mechanism, anti-poaching units, photography etc…And then I will go to J-Bay! I already went there last time, I had a two-day escape before returning to Italy. It was an incredible feeling. It was my favorite spot. There was a pod of dolphins offshore, there were manta rays, schools of fish…really magical. I would like to go back even though it won’t be the best time because it will be Summer there. So the plan is also to go back and surf there in South Africa».
What can you tell us about the Creative Academy project?
«Yes, the project is called Creative Academy while the Instagram page is ‘Your Creative Academy’ because with that ‘your’ we wanted to convey the fact that the project belongs to everyone. It’s a digital e-learning platform – which can be accessed with a monthly subscription – where daily (apart from Sundays) videos or live (depending on the master creators, i.e. the professors) pills will be published, i.e. lessons that will allow the student to immediately put into practice what he or she has learned. The great thing is that it is really a community of content creators: there will be events, meet-ups, meetings, sporting events, trips, experiences…just to connect and consolidate the figure of the content creator that in Italy is not as strong as abroad. And it’s very difficult to get into certain dynamics because the content creator’s job needs connections. So in this e-learning platform the members will have profiles, like on a social network, where each student can interact with the professor and vice versa. There will be live Q&A sessions so you can get feedback, exercises to do, internal contests…and above all there will be the opportunity to start collaborating and working because the brands are asking us to be part of this movement. In fact, we call it a creative movement because what the creator lacks are not skills, but contacts. So we’re going to create a space for brands where they can offer collaborations according to their needs and creators can apply themselves and have the opportunity to get noticed thanks to their skills. The events part will include gatherings and probably festivals, all based on the pillars of the creative academy which are photography, video, social media and extreme sports. So a very dynamic environment. The project will be launched in 2022».