With her first solo gallery exhibition opening tomorrow, Austalian-based photographer Akila Berjaoui presents a new collection of photographs that she has taken over the past year, documenting her travels in Italy, Norway, Sydney and Morocco, and capturing provocative moments with old and new friends. As she looks to the surf for inspiration, her images document very real and intimate interaction with her subjects and the coast — for her, the surf represents both a public and private sense of space.

Opening tomorrow at Human NYC, "You better get out of the sun before you melt" will be display her photographs, as well as release a zine for the exhibition in a limited run. We spoke to Akila when she arrived, to hear more about her show.

When did you begin taking pictures? What inspired you to start?

I started taking pictures about nine years ago. But I really started taking pictures four years ago — I fell into it. I was working at Russh magazine as a stylist and one thing lead to another, et voilà, here I am.

Can you tell me a bit about your travel, and how you get around to these locales so often?

I live for travel. It's what keeps me inspired, happy and passionate about life and photography. I really was born to explore. I'm constantly curious — and I also like to wake up in new cities, anonymous. And the friendships! I've met so many cool people along the way. I'm lucky, I get paid to travel these days to shoot and work. I often feel like I have the best job in the world.

Are there other photographers that capture your attention?

I'm obsessed with Bruce Weber. His work is so honest — ah, I just love him! Juergen teller, Hans Feurer, and my mate Purienne, to name a few.

What are there other influences that inspire what you do?

Cinematography gets me every time. And music. And, of course, sunshine!

What attracts you to the surf?

I like the colors, blue and aqua marine. I like to be surrounded by it. I enjoy hearing the waves crashing down around me, takes me far away — anything is possible out there. It brings me peace and happiness. It's social when you want it to be, and it's also private when you need it to be.

Exhibition opens tomorrow, March 15th, 8-11pm. Show runs until April 10th.