This recurring series highlights Coca-Cola Canada associates who agreed to share what makes them happy outside of work. This series was brought to life through our Coca-Cola Europe team which was sharing these stories internally. The stories can be inspiring, fun or thought-provoking and all are worth being shared with the world.

Meet Christel Hervet. From Monday to Friday Christel is a Finance Manager at Coca-Cola Canada, crunching numbers and building budgets. Outside the four walls of our King Street offices in Toronto however, Christel is a jet-setting shutterbug, traveling the world in search of the perfect moment to capture with her camera. In between compiling month-end reviews and exploring exotic locales, I managed to sit down with Christel and talk to her a bit about her hobby.

When did your love of photography start?

I started taking pictures when I was 13 years old after I purchased my first camera – a Kodak Disc 4000. In the beginning I took pictures during vacations as mementos and just for the fun of it.  I started getting more interested in photography when my mom began a new job at a French magazine; she looked after their image library and worked with the photographers on staff.   Spending time with them after school, I learned how they took pictures as well as what they consider a good picture vs a bad one.  Despite this, it still took several years for me to really consider photography a serious hobby. 

Then what was it that finally hooked you on photography?

As I started traveling more and discovering new and exotic places, I wanted to bring back pictures different from the typical holiday shots; I was interested in capturing everyday life.  I’d look at magazines, books or pictures taken by friends and it would inspire me to start viewing the world in a different way – from taking pictures of little details like doorways or signs to capturing monuments at a different angle from what was normally photographed.  Digital technology has also helped make photography a serious hobby for me as I can experiment by taking hundreds of pictures without having to develop all of them.  

What is your favourite thing to shoot?

I don’t know if I have a favourite thing to shoot, but I am often hesitant to take pictures of people (especially their faces) without their approval as I try to respect their privacy.  As a result I end up taking lots of pictures of food, animals, street art, and scenery – anything that would give me a feel for the country or place that I am exploring.

You’ve traveled a lot, what is the farthest you’ve traveled to take pictures?

Every year I do at least two trips to new destinations. As I select the country and plan the trip, I will start to think about what the focus of my pictures will be. The furthest I’ve ever traveled to take pictures is Southern Australia when I went on a road trip between Sydney and Cape Bridgewater. The most unique location I’ve gone to is by far Antarctica where I made friends with penguins and seals.  My favourite country to photograph has to be Iceland with its volcanic scenery, geysers, glaciers, and of course its puffins!

How does your photography play a role in your professional life?

When I’m at work, I’d say my photography helps give me perspective and allows me to focus in on the right details of a problem. As I’ve said, when I take pictures I tend not to capture the whole of my subject but rather focus on unique details. Instead of an entire building I prefer to emphasize an antique doorknob or ornate window frame. Likewise with some projects at work it is necessary to look past the whole problem and focus in on just the relevant information.