Rather than write about myself, The Kids on the Coast magazine interviewed me recently and here is the article with all you need to know!
The world according to Katja
by Sarah Pye
Motherhood often means a change of direction and none is so aware of this as Sunshine Coast mum Katja Anton. Now running her own photographic studio to assuage her passion for images with her need to be at home for her son, Katja’s life has been one big adventure. Katja was born in Finland in the same tiny hospital as her mother. With a father who’s a mix of English and Italian, the family moved to Rome near Lake Bracciano, (where Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes) and it is here she grew up.
Katja attended an international school in Rome and, with friends from over 70 countries, it is no wonder she developed a passion for travel and adventure. She dabbled in theatre, fashion and photography and dreamed of marrying her two passions of nature and cinematography together. With hard work and a little luck, this dream landed her a position at the BBC. Katja’s journey from high school to work and later to motherhood is an inspiration, and one she shares with us.
How did you end up with the BBC?
I went to university to read Biology (I observed ant behaviour for up to six-hours-a-day for one of my projects…). From there I was lucky to be offered a job creating wildlife documentaries for the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol, UK. I worked in production for the BBC for the next eight years – mostly making children’s wildlife conservation documentaries. I felt so lucky to actually be paid for doing something I loved so much. I also liked the idea of showing a young audience what’s out there and why they should care because they are the ones who will save the planet in the end. I experienced extraordinary things like jaguars in the depths of the Amazon, whale sharks off Mexico, cobras in India, gorillas in Africa, porcupines in Italy, elephants in Thailand and black bears in China… just to name a few!
How did this lead to still photography?
Throughout all this I continued to photograph anything and everything, in all sorts of environments, I love my camera! I did some formal training too in order to keep up with the technical side of things but luckily I seemed blessed with an eye for the visual and creative aspect. Since becoming a mother, my photography has evolved from travel journalism and commercial styles (which I still enjoy doing) and also to include portraiture of kids, families, pets and weddings. I now embrace all the special ‘people’ times. I enjoy my work tremendously and get a great deal of satisfaction from being privy of someone else’s intimate world.
What bought you to Queensland?
When my partner (Sam) and I had Luka, I felt it was difficult to carry on doing the media thing as well as being a mum in the capacity that I wanted to. My heart wouldn’t have been in one or the other so I felt it was time to immerse myself in a new adventure. Sam introduced me to this part of the world because he has family on the Sunshine Coast. We thought, like many others, what a wonderful place it is to raise kids and fell in love with the area.
Why is South East Queensland a good place to bring up kids, and where are your favourite places to go as a family?
There is so much to do here, in a relatively small area. We are spoilt for choice with creeks, rivers, beaches and parks. We love driving along the Noosa North Shore to Double Island Point…and strawberry picking… sometimes we take a picnic to Tea Tree Bay in Noosa National Park and I still get blown away if we look up and see a koala hanging above us!
Tell me about your favourite family holiday:
Having grown up in Europe, I love to share it with my family and all our holidays there are so special. Luka gets so much from travelling and experiencing it and I feel like I am getting the best of both worlds being able to combine the Sunshine Coast and Europe, especially Italy.
What has been your biggest parenting challenge and why?
Getting back into a work pattern which I find creative and stimulating without it being all consuming, and combining it successfully with parenting has been a challenge. Usually, when I get my teeth into something, I get so involved and passionate about it, I forget the world around me. This can be a positive trait but also has its obvious drawbacks. I have managed to combine my photography successfully with being a mother as it allows me to work from home and a lot of freedom and flexibility. Sam works creatively in media too, so we complement each other on many levels.
Apart from your kids, what are you most proud of?
When I worked for the BBC, I was fortunate to work closely with my audience and watching kids learn and become passionate about wildlife and act upon it was something that made me proud. I worked on various ‘docos’ which won important awards in the natural history world and this was rewarding. Now, when I make a bride cry from joy when she sees my photos, I feel so privileged to have been able to capture and ‘give’ her those memories for years to come and when I manage to capture the mood of children playing, laughing and loving it gives me joy. On a family level, I am proud just to be happy experiencing all that life has to offer and has thrown at me. I feel fortunate to be where I’m at and really lucky that in spite of all the moving around that I have the most fabulous network of family and friends.
What are your goals for the next five years?
I don’t tend to be a big planner in that sense. I prefer to allow space to evolve and enjoy because high expectations tend to create situations where you’re too hard on yourself and may get let down. Perhaps, I would love to work towards expanding my little family, and create a situation where we can divide our time serenely between Europe and here, both for pleasure and work, but who knows…!
What would you most like your kids to do when they grow up/do you want them to follow in your footsteps?
I hope they will do whatever makes them happy. I believe in them creating their own footsteps and if they cross paths with mine we can share and teach each other. I am looking forward to learning from them actually. Living vicariously through someone else’s eyes, especially someone you love, makes it so much more exciting!
What piece of advice your parents gave to you has been the most useful in family life?
Love, love, love and more love…
“Stop, appreciate and enjoy the small things happening right now”-and“not to worry, it’ll always work itself out!”Lastly, to eat well because it makes for happy times!
What advice would you share with our readers about parenting?
I would encourage them to find the time for your kids and slow down. It might be a cliché, but kids DO grow up just too damn fast!
Katja Anton’s favourite local things:
Restaurant: Mooshka Sunshine Beach. It’s family owned, offers beautiful food and décor at reasonable prices and it’s very ‘kiddie’ friendly.
Beach: The far end of Main Beach, Noosa towards river mouth or Double Island Point
Movie: We love Ice Age (I have lost count of how many times we’ve seen it!).
Our other favourite is Transformers (yup boys & robots…)
Meal: Would have to be an Italian ‘Spaghetti alle Vongole’…. and dark chocolate!
Rainy day activity: We do so much outdoors, sometimes it’s nice to stay in and get cosy – baking and playing (lego at the moment)!
Sunny day activity: Going to the beach, visiting the park at Kenilworth, hiring a barbecue boat on Noosa River to fish, chase crabs and have a picnic…
Kids’ book: We love books and reading – a definite favourite is Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base.