olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal – 'make it personal'

blue jean baby


This time last year I stayed with Ali in NYC. Now she lives in LA with her mister, Cam. Two weeks back they were lovely enough to let me stay a few days in their little Silverlake house. Meanwhile, Ali’s fashion photography game is super strong…check it.  

got it bad



This cold, windy Saturday afternoon is all about laying low and staying warm. Now I just need to be back at this cabin in Winthrop, Washington wrapped in a blanket, reading by the light of the crackling fire while the river rushes by just outside the door. 

Banoffee is on repeat right now: 

Said you wanted to grow your hair long

Then you cut the sides off

I don’t think I know you at all

When I look at you I see this

Picture of how we could be 

‘Cause I know what you got 

I got I got I got it I got it

I know you know I got it


your fault, san francisco


This place has my heart. If you’ve seen me lately then this statement will come as no surprise. Yep, I’m that annoying girl who won’t shut up about a city she visited on her vacation. As if I’m the first person to have ever been enamoured by the combination of pastel coloured houses and crisp, sunny days and water views and light filled cafes and impossibly steep hills and the fog and towering pines and the best tacos and new friends and late nights and intoxicating possibilities and taking the long way back, hesitant towards home. I’m insufferable right now, I know. The sighs, the wistful looks off into the middle distance, the refusal to share certain details of my trip or recount certain stories, burying them in my journal or typing some note and storing it in the depths of my phone for fear that once it’s spoken, it’s gone. Your fault, San Francisco. Your fault. 




1// Ex-Sydney gal Chloe was my SF spirit guide and made my visit oh so special xx. Seriously, someone should pay her to show hip young thangs around the city. 2// Sightglass in the Mission District was my coffee/cafe of choice 4// I’m no good at taking photos of landmarks, landscapes or vistas. I only took one shot of the Golden Gate Bridge and it was lacklustre at best so you’ll probably never see it. Do a Google Image search instead! 7// Camera Obscura! My friend Jake pointed me in the right direction but for some reason it was closed that day. Boo. 11// I got a little ink from Candi Kinyobi at Tuesday Tattoo and was so so impressed by her skill, professionalism and manner. She was warm and gentle and explained every step of the process. If you’re in SF and want a tattoo, take a trip to Outer Sunset and track her down! 12-13-14// While you’re on Judah Street, check out the General Store, get a coffee at Trouble and eat at Outerlands. Mmm, what a combo. Take me back. 15-16-17// I find the best way to explore a new city is on foot. Just wander. Turn down any street that takes your fancy. You never know, you might find a guy selling watermelon from the back of a truck. 20// Chloe used to work for Aesop and her room is just littered with beautiful brown bottles and jars of face and body product perfection.

Special thanks to the lovely miss Jasmine Holm for many wonderful SF tips, too <3 

All photos developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood, CA

not yet


I’m in LA right now and I’ll be flying back to Australia in just over 24 hours. I feel as though something is slipping through my fingers despite my best efforts to hold on to it. I feel like I’m in that not asleep/not awake state, trying to prolong a delicious dream. No no no, not yet. Don’t go, not yet.  

This is the last time. 

sundays in the states




One of my favourite things to do in the US is buy the Sunday New York Times and spend a few hours reading it in a cafe (or two). Of course, I could hang out in any Sydney cafe and read it online but that just ain’t the same. Last Sunday I was in San Francisco and struggled to find the Sunday NYT. I picked up a copy from a bookstore on Monday and slowly worked my way through it over the course of this last week. These photos were taken at (top) Heart and (bottom) Stumptown in Portland, OR. a few weeks ago. 

this looks like the place


It was hot, so hot, dry and dusty. It was the kind of dust that gets caught in the back of your throat, becomes grit between your teeth. The streets were quiet, still, empty. But I didn’t care. I’d just arrived in the US. I caught a Greyhound Bus from LA, my nose glued to the window all the way out to Palm Springs. The sunrise pulled back the night and I was up, riding a bike around, exploring. I craned my neck to look up up up at the towering mountains hemming me in. It reminded me of when I was a little girl and went to the city for the first time: I couldn’t believe how tall the skyscrapers were. I pedalled through the streets in the heat of the day intent on finding a health food store to buy a juice and nuts and chocolate covered goji berries. A man working there asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Palm Springs. I told him and he called me an adventurous little thing. I was secretly pleased. I rode back to the hotel and said hello to no one; the searing streets abandoned. 


There’s a person in one of these photos – can you spot him?

All photos developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood, CA



the start again


Today’s the day: I’m flying to the US to keep working on the Small Town Girl project. The adventure is about to start again. And while I love my Dan and my friends and family, there’s nothing quite like a solo adventure is there? This trip took a while to take shape and there were definitely some stressful weeks (no replies to the millions of emails I sent out! no girls to shoot! a girl to shoot…nooope, she cancelled!) but things have come together…sort of. My rough plan is Palm Springs, California to Seattle, Washington to Winthrop, Washington (hi Tara) to Cave Creek, Arizona (hi Rachel) to Ellenwood, Georgia (hi Hannah) to…I don’t know where. I’m leaving room to follow a spontaneous lead or two. I may even re-visit some of 2013’s Small Town Girls. It’s kinda scary to be plan-less but kinda exhilarating, too.

I’ve set up an Instagram account just for Small Town Girl. I know, I know, I’m back on Instagram (but I thought you said…?). Maddy, Rachel and Hannah-Rose were able to successfully convince me that by taking a different approach – making the account about this project rather than my life – I could avoid some of the pitfalls I faced last time. I’ll post a mix of the photos I’ve already taken (on 35mm film) as well as iPhone snaps that document the process as it’s happening. The aim is to connect with past, present and future Small Town Girls in Australia, the USA, South Africa and beyond as well as people who wanna see some photographic evidence of this thing I’m always going on about. Please do follow along! I’ll be developing film as I go and will post the images here as soon as I can. But for now…farewell Australia…hello USA!  


alphabet family journal


Just over a year ago my friend Luisa asked me if I would like to contribute something to a new publication she was putting together. I jumped at the chance and pitched a photo essay. At the same time my friend Rachel told me Luisa had asked her to write a piece for what would eventually become Alphabet Family Journal. I wasn’t happy with the results of my shoot so I didn’t end up submitting it but Rach thought it would be cool if I took some photos of her and her then flatmate, Ella, in their little blue house in Newtown to sit alongside the article she was writing. We made our submission and kind of forgot all about it. Fellow photographers mentioned that they had contributed images too, but no one was really sure if or when the magazine would come to fruition. And now we’re all red faced because Alphabet Family Journal is here and it is glorious. Seriously, when I first held AFJ in my hands and slowly turned its matte pages I couldn’t quite believe how wonderful it was. It celebrates families (in all forms) and the homes they create together in a genuine and relatable way. The words are poignant and the images are warm, inviting and inspiring. I’m so proud of Luisa and the work she has done to get this thing off the ground. And I’m proud of the friends, fellow bloggers, photographers and writers who have submitted such high quality work. Last weekend Luisa asked me to take some photos of Maria and Mel reading AFJ for an article in Broadsheet. I’d been wanting to meet these ladies for some time now so it was the perfect scenario! Sweet Maria made us feel right at home in her Potts Point apartment and served green tea and homemade pie.


may made


Last month’s heat broke records: The warmest May in Australia’s history. Sun bathers didn’t mind. Nor did my little succulent friends.



I caught up with Maddy and it warmed my heart to see her so happy.


I watched this childhood friend marry her love.


I spent close to three hours at Cornersmith with these beautiful little ladies and they convinced me to sign up to Instagram again (sort of…more on that later).


We read Alphabet Family Journal (it’s out it’s out! More on that later, too) at Paramount and bumped into Mikhail and Nicola.


I bought Children of Auburn by George Voulgaropoulos and Permanent Vacation by Luke Byrne + Ryan Kenny at the Photo Book Fair at the MCA while Dan found a sunny spot to sit outside. 


The sun hit this building on King Street late one afternoon and it took my breath away. May was made up of lots of wonderful little moments like this. 

sunset moonrise


My nieces, Olive and Oak, collecting shells on Woolgoolga beach at sunset/moonrise last Thursday. 


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