Blog Home Contributor Van Life in Australia with Photographer Charlie Blacker

Explore what living the van life trend is like with Australian photographer Charlie Blacker in the latest video from Shutterstock Presents.

Van life has its appeal, especially for photographers who specialize in travel and landscape. What better way to experience the beauty of our planet than living a life on the road. The van life trend has been around for years, and more and more people are seeking the freedom of the simplistic, clutter-free life that van life seems to offer. On Instagram alone, #vanlife has nearly nine million photos shared, up 312% from just three years ago. 

Australian photographer Charlie Blacker and his partner Rachel Wilson are two creatives who sought the freedom to experience their beautiful country by living in a van. When asked about van life for the latest Shutterstock Presents: Artist Series video, Charlie said, “The van and this life we’ve built on the road has really shaped our entire lifestyle.” 

Australian Photographer Charlie Blacker
Australian photographer Charlie Blacker, the latest Artist Series video.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the latest Artist Series, where we join Charlie and Rachel in Port Macquarie, Australia to learn a bit about what it’s like to be a photographer living on the road.


Artist Series with Photographer Charlie Blacker 


The #VanLife Trend and Photography 

As a photographer, van life has its benefits. There are virtually no excuses when it comes to waking up for sunrise and crawling out of your bed to capture some beautiful imagery. While the lifestyle isn’t for everyone, more and more people are hitting the road in search of freedom and flexibility to pursue their art. While people globally have been caravanning and living out of their car for decades before Instagram, or even the internet, the trend on Instagram is relatively new. The origins of #VanLife on Instagram started in 2012, when American photographer Foster Huntington documented his life living in a van full-time. The hashtag has only grown in popularity since then, with photographers globally, like Charlie, documenting their photographic journeys while living in a van. 

Van Life
Photographer Charlie Blacker and his partner Rachel Wilson have been pursuing van life on the coast of Australia for several years. Screengrab from Charlie’s Artist Series.

Tips for Pursuing Van Life as a Photographer

If listening to Charlie’s story about living in a van is enough to convince you to hit the road yourself, discover these tips for getting started pursuing your career in photography out of a van.

Tip #1: Be Comfortable with Solo Travel

In this survey, 44.44% of vanlifers travel with one other person, and 36.36% travel solo. Living life on the road can be isolating, so ensure you’re comfortable with being alone or with less social interaction before you take the plunge. Try taking a few solo trips in your car, van, or even by plane before committing to a full camper-van conversion. Talk to other vanlifers in your area and explore forums to discover tips on staying safe when traveling solo, and form a community with others pursuing the van life lifestyle.

If you’re traveling long distances in your van, you may have to leave friends in certain areas and go large amounts of time without seeing them, so be prepared for that emotionally, as well. 

Comfort in Solitude
Van life can mean spending a lot of time in solitude, so ensure you’re comfortable being on your own or having less of a day-to-day social life. Image by Charlie Blacker.

Tip #2: Find out Your Electricity Requirements if You Need to Charge Your Photography Gear

Investing in solar panels or generator-based electricity in your van can be a costly expense, so ensure you explore your options before hitting the road. A laptop charge, for example, takes a significant amount of energy, as do camera charges and other electronic equipment such as a plug-in fridge. If you’re not doing a full camper-van conversion, consider exploring which cafes and restaurants will allow you to plug in and charge your devices while you’re on the road.

Consider Electrical Needs
Understand all the electrical needs you have in order to have a career on the road. Screengrab from Charlie Blacker’s Artist Series.

Tip #3: Document What You Do Daily and Ensure Your Set-up to Do the Same on the Road

While you might have to adjust how you work slightly when living and working on the road, a good tip is to document what your daily activities are before you hit the road so you know what to prepare for. For example, for food, are you going to have refrigeration? Or, are you planning to mostly eat out? If you don’t have a composting toilet and will just be using public washrooms, ensure you understand any restrictions that are currently in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Take note of what you think you’ll need on the road, and prepare your van or camper car so that you don’t hit any bumps along the way.

Check out this awesome video from Charlie and Rachel on how they converted their camper van. 


Van life is a trend that shows no signs of quitting. As more and more people are seeking alternative work environments, the van life movement has the potential to change the way people live, work, and travel globally. For more inspiration, check out these van life images available on Shutterstock. Plus, check out our Artist Series videos to discover even more about the working habits and lifestyles of professional creatives.

Top image by Charlie Blacker.


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