Get a glimpse into photographer, educator and environmental advocate, Elana Jadallah’s, life of connection + restoration.
VA: Elana, tell us a little bit about yourself.
EJ: A few years ago I might have had a professional bio ready to share all that I did and 'who I am' but now, life feels so much more expansive and I feel that titles often stifle and compress. Currently, I am writing from Hawai'i which is where I've spent most of my time for the better half of a decade. I feel very held by this land and am deeply grateful for the lessons I have learned here. This is where I woke up to many of the harsh realities of the world and where I began my journey of living more regeneratively and in tune with the natural world under our feet, all around us and within us. When I'm not here, I am usually in Maine which has also been a place that has nurtured my natural essence forward in reverence of the land and sea.
For as long as I can remember, I've loved to take photographs, to listen to and tell stories, and to take any opportunity in life to make art. I believe life IS art – that how we work, live and play can be a full expression of self. I've had the wild honor and privilege of working for myself for the past decade...forging powerful relationships, creating a life that I love, making art and in the last handful of years, amplifying the voices of changemakers, telling important stories and welcoming others along the journey of living more sustainable, mindful lives through education and embodiment.
Currently, I love to guide conscious entrepreneurs on their journey through my consulting offerings, provide photography for brands that capture their true essence and have different online offerings such as presets, online summits, digital travel guides, etc. Work feels really vibrant and special right now, leaving plenty of room for time away from the computer, for my nourishment, for healing, gardening, camping, swimming – for living!
I often serve as a bridge between the current culture we're in and the regenerative future we're working towards so if you feel like you're no longer aligning with the status quo, I'd love to connect on Instagram and hopefully share some of the things I've learned along the way!
VA: How do you weave sustainability into your personal life?
EJ: Instead of focusing on sustainable 'things to do' I try to view life through the lens of sustainability and reciprocity. Is this (purchase, action, habit) able to be sustained or is it extractive and detrimental? Am I taking more than I'm giving? Do I have an understanding of this ________ from the sourcing to the end of life cycle? By inviting in questions and responsibility, we have the opportunity to choose differently and feel empowered in our aligned actions.
"By inviting in questions and responsibility, we have the opportunity to choose differently and feel empowered in our aligned actions."
VA: Tell us about your sustainable living starter guide! How did it come about?
EJ: A few years ago I created a simple sustainable living starter guide for anyone wondering 'where do I even start?' It can be really overwhelming once our mental bubble gets popped and we start learning about the environmental crises we are facing, how they're connected and how we can start shifting our actions to align with this new information! I wanted to give folks a calming, nurturing place to start that starts from the foundation and builds from there. It's totally free, supportive and I hope it brings anyone reading a place of origin for many beautiful changes in their life. You can find it here: sustainable starter guide.
VA: What are some of your favorite sustainable swaps to make at home?
EJ: Composting instead of throwing everything into the bin to be wasted! Loofahs (the plant!) and wooden dish brushes instead of synthetic sponges. Buying quality over quantity and mending / taking really good care of my belongings. Secondhand clothing instead of fast fashion. Natural, biodegradable household cleaners instead of toxic chemical cleaners. Joining a CSA over a grocery store / meal delivery service. Local over global goods. Voting instead of hoping. Shopping from small conscious skincare brands instead of drugstore brands. My beloved plastic free razor from Leaf Shave instead of disposable razors. This one feels obvious but I still see it allll the time – swapping plastic bottled beverages for a filling your own reusable! BYO coffee mug to the coffee shop or get your order 'to stay' in a ceramic cup instead of plastic-lined to-go coffee cups. Making food at home instead of getting take out.
Honestly, just simplifying life to be less synthetic and less 'convenient' (in the short run) which in turn means: in harmony with nature.
VA: Favorite Vitamin A piece?
EJ: A classic Vitamin A white bikini or one piece. They are the ones that I reach for year after year. Same goes for the Playa linen top.
VA: Favorite way to connect with nature?
EJ: Oooh, too many to count! Swimming in the ocean, a long hike in the quiet of the forest, skinny dipping in a cold river, working in the garden, foraging or creating art in the sand.
VA: What is inspiring you currently?
EJ: This spring energy! Feeling myself bud and begin to blossom. The conscious clients I am working with. Cold showers. Neighborhood walks. Friendship – gatherings together, phone calls, sending voice notes back and forth. Gardening. Dancing. Breathwork. Cultivating discipline in my life out of self love. Rediscovering who I am.
VA: What are you looking forward to this year?
EJ: I'm looking forward to a year of trust. I have been doing a lot of personal healing these past few years (still am!) and this year feels fruitful and restorative. I'm looking forward to a year where I say 'YES' more to things that light me up and no to things that don't. To feeling more confident in myself and who I'm becoming. To new opportunities that fill my soul cup. Continuing to build a life that nourishes.
VA: Someone you admire:
EJ: The woman who knows herself without doubt. Who is unapologetically herself, who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty, who listens with full presence before she speaks, who loves with compassion and without judgement, who creates life from a place of LOVE. There are big expanders for me who have built regenerative companies that honor people and planet, others who are incredible mothers and grandmothers, others who are artists – seeing the world in a way no one else does, others who are running biodynamic farms and serving their communities, others who are doing the hard work of healing wounds in their lineage, their own trauma and creating a new story for generations to come. I admire and am grateful for every single woman in my life that reminds me how safe, and more importantly how beautiful, it is to be my whole self.