How a love for travel led to a career of “capturing moments in time”

Kaylah Joelle Baker

When it comes to travelling there is nothing Ellina den Toom loves more, although capturing her adventures on camera is a close second.

Before studying at Photography Studies College (PSC) Ellina would transform into a budding photographer on her travels, making sure she had physical memories to take home with her. 

When COVID hit and Ellina’s travels were brought to a halt, she decided it was the perfect time to study photography at PSC, majoring in commercial photography. 

“My life was on hold, and I couldn’t travel anywhere, and PSC stood out to me [because of] the fact that the teachers are still working in the industry and could give me a lot of information and support,” Ellina told Southbank News.

Now, in between jet-setting off overseas, and thanks to PSC, Ellina has been able to experiment with her fondness for “capturing moments in time” right outside her doorstep, within the local community. 

During a commercial photography lesson, Ellina and her class were taken out by their teacher to the local FitLab gym to learn the ins and outs of location shooting.

“[We were taught] all about shooting on location, which was a really amazing experience and I got to take some portraits of people who work there,” she said. 

“I also did some volunteer work through PSC for the Port Phillip EcoCentre’s School Sustainability Festival which was an amazing opportunity. Being able to work with people in the community, through beautiful volunteering [activities], has been great.”

Looking back on her past few years of study, Ellina has found many shoots to be proud of, although her favourite has has been a cookbook she created for an assignment requiring students to produce a photo book. 

“I am most proud of my work with chef [and good friend] Akela Nevelli; we put together a beautiful cookbook called Vizio Capitale – Deadly Sin,” she said. 

“It’s this beautiful book of Akela’s food and delicious meals from his Italian culture, and it has a lot of travel images as well. It includes all the things I love most, which is eating, celebrating friendship, and travelling.”

“Deep down inside of me I always wanted to do a cookbook as I have a lot of friends who cook and we love to spend time together over beautiful dinners, and I wanted to represent that.”

Upon graduating, Ellina hopes to continue in travel photography, focusing on beautiful landscapes, cultural food, and fashion. 

“PSC has been great at pointing me in the right direction, and [attending the college] has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life,” she said. •

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