olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

she waits, seething, blooming

now hear this000052680032

I wanted to be closer to her because she seemed like the future to me. – Quiet, Dave Eggers

A portrait of Amelia at the Little Marionette and Ange at home with her cello. 

(Click on each image to enlarge)

suddenly, last summer


“I have very fond memories of the Ace Hotel in Portland. Yeah, that is some place where I played with my ‘perfect world’ game. And I thought that Portland might get pretty close. Man, there is nothing like a Portland summer. But then I also realised that as soon as you make a place home, you invite entanglements, and Portland seemed like a place that I would want to keep free from that. As long as I don’t make it my home it stays perfection. I can miss it, I can yearn for it, I can fantasise about it and I can visit it and have the best time.” 

Oh nothing, just Michelle Williams describing EXACTLY HOW I FEEL. I’m currently leafing through back issues of Hobo magazine and reading an interview Michelle did when Meek’s Cutoff was released. I’ve been meaning to see that film since 2011.  

night, all night


But my nights were you. My happy thing, the best part. – Daniel Handler

i wish you

I read a Thought Catalog post (I know, I know) a while back and it talked about the way one new song can sustain you for the better part of a week. ‘I don’t need a flirty text message, a delicious meal, or an amazing night out. I’m pretty much set with my New Favorite Song.’ That has certainly been my experience over the last few days.

I’m still listening to Angus and Julia Stone’s self titled record plus Lana Del Rey’s sophomore, Ultraviolence. FKA twigs (I’m in awe…so intrigued ) joined the line up on Monday and Jason Feathers was Tuesday’s unexpected offering. Pitchfork describes De Oro as an album from a ‘mystery band’ but my pals at work tell me it’s actually Justin Vernon, his Bon Iver bandmate S. Carey and American MC Astronautalis. At first I found it quite disconcerting and abrasive but subsequent spins revealed moments of intense beauty. For example, the last three minutes of Sacred Math and all of Cyclone. Allow yourself to be drawn in. The album will be released on August 19 – my birthday. Gee thanks, Justin! 

Then there was Erlend Oye’s newie Garota which my friend Tom described as a ‘sultry trans-continental ill-fated attraction with a solid groove.’ Ha! It was a well-timed accompaniment to my moody Thursday evening. Watch/hear the bittersweet tale unfold here

And this afternoon at work I pressed play on a song Amelia recommended that I assumed would be background noise: Murmurs by Hundred Waters. Instead, everything around me fell away and fierce tears stung my eyes. I had it on repeat for hours and was only vaguely aware of anything else. Sometimes a song has the ability to take all of your conflicting emotions and half thoughts and if onlys and wishes and make perfect sense of them. Today, Murmurs was that song.

I wish you…I wish you would see what I see

Were you there? Were you there? Were you ever alive? 

I wish I would see what you see

Silly silly silly me
I used to…used to see
Now our only light
Is blowing out

Goodness, what a week. Has it taken a toll on you, too? I felt far too many feelings this week. One day it was as if I could drag a finger over my skin and physically trace the delicious bursts of dopamine coursing through my veins and the next I was drained of all motivation, inspiration and wonder. Amelia and I spoke about having the tendency to operate solely on an emotional level (Doesn’t everyone? Apparently not.) and I was reminded of this quote that Meg posted recently:

Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.’ – Rainer Maria Rilke


small town girl – south africa

I was conceived in South Africa but my mum and big brother moved to Australia a few months before my due date. And so I was born here and had a life like this. I’ve often wondered what it would have been like had we stayed in South Africa. My dad is still there but I’ve only met him once. I’m curious. I want to get a glimpse of the adolescence I could have had. I want to meet the people I could have known. I want to understand the things I could have learned. I want to know what life is like for teenage girls in small town South Africa, girls of diverse origins, cultures, languages and religions.  

Over the last two years I have photographed 12 girls for my Small Town Girl Project – four in Australia and eight in the United States – and in February and March 2015 my camera and I will head to South Africa to live with/photograph another six girls. I’m looking for 13-19 year olds with diverse cultural and racial backgrounds who live in towns with a population of 20,000 or less. I’ll live with you and your family/friends for a week and follow you around, taking photos of your everyday life. The photos will form a body of work that will be exhibited in art galleries around Australia, the US and South Africa. 

If you’re interested in finding out more or if you know someone who might be, please comment here or email me for details: elizestrydom@live.com.au Feel free to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and any of your other social networks. Be sure to check out the Small Town Girl project Instagram, too!




Poor, poor lovesick child

There’s still fire in your belly

And your heart is still wild

- ‘Little Whiskey’ by Angus and Julia Stone.

Their new self titled album is a dream. It was produced by Rick Rubin and almost didn’t happen. I’m so glad it did. Pretty sure it’ll become the soundtrack to this week’s New Zealand trip.


Tomorrow I’m flying to my magical happy place: New Zealand. I’m tagging along with one of my best friends, Lyndal, who scored the trip as a thank you from the travel blog she writes for. I’ve been dreaming of getting back there since my first visit more than two years ago. We’re flying into Christchurch then driving down to Queenstown then…exploring, adventuring, day tripping…generally being wide eyed kids in a wonderous winterland, you know. There’s nothing I love more. I’m so very grateful for yet another trip away and the chance to run free with my bestie. What a life, huh? Meanwhile in Gaza, right? It’s strange to spend my work days reading and writing stories about death and destruction, abuse and adversity, power and politics then leaving for the day to go spend time with my friends eating out, skating, taking photos, visiting artisan markets or hanging at the beach. We’ve got it good, real good, and I’m thankful.

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


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